Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cuts Provoke Culture Wars

From The Montreal Gazette:

It is not so much a rumble as a roar. Quebec artists are in full voice, sending the message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper that the recent cuts to culture funding are short-sighted and counterproductive. And that's the polite speak. In the past few days, Harper has also been called a dictator and a philistine.

In an open letter to the prime minister, playwright Wajdi Mouawad said the cuts were tantamount to a declaration of war against the artists. "The resistance that will begin today, and to which my letter is added, is but a first manifestation of a movement that you yourself have set in motion: an incalculable number of texts, speeches, acts, assemblies, marches, will now be making themselves heard. They will not be exhausted," he wrote.

The artists are angry about the recent cuts of about $45 million to federal culture funding that touch every sector in the culture industry - be it international touring for performing arts groups, funding for new-media research or independent film production or financial support for Canadian writers.

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