The controversy over Conservative cuts in funding for culture and art continues to grow in Quebec, and it could just be the one pressure point that keeps Prime Minister Stephen Harper from full-tilt success in the province.
A new web site has been launched by the province’s artists, called “Cuts Kill Culture” and includes video testimonies by a number of prominent Quebec artists, all denouncing the cuts as devastating to their cultural domains.
It’s the latest salvo by the artists, who also used the province’s annual television awards show, the Gemeaux, last Sunday to criticize the Harper government for its over $45 million in cuts to programs that support artists and help them export their products abroad.
Even Quebec premier Jean Charest, who has had a rather congenial relationship with Harper over the last two years, has come out swinging for the artists.
On lescoupurescatuelaculture.org, web surfers are able to sign an online petition, read letters from different drama, dance and art organizations to Harper decrying the cuts, and watch indie bands such as Karkwa say things like, “To invest in culture is to invest in the identity of a people,” and that investing in culture creates a lot of employment. Just look at the global dominance of Quebec-based Cirque du Soleil, they remind Harper, now one of the biggest cultural employers in the world.
The artists are planning a concert and rally for next Tuesday night in Montreal.