May 17th, 2011

New Democrats call for improved support for arts industry

New caucus brings years of experience to arts and culture file

OTTAWA – Arts and culture is a multi-billion dollar industry in Canada, but without proper support it will be put at risk, New Democrats warned today.

As part of a strategy to better support Canada’s arts industry, New Democrats are calling for increased funding for the Canada Council for the Arts, and the implementation of income averaging for artists.

“Canada has consistently produced some of the highest-quality arts and cultural content in the world,” said musician and Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus. “But to protect and grow this industry, we need to properly support artists and cultural groups.”

After spending 20 years in the music industry, and serving as former artistic director for Cirque du Soleil Musique, newly-elected MP Pierre Nantel (Longueuil-Pierre-Boucher) has seen first-hand how Canadian art can grow into an international success.

“We all know the arts play an invaluable role in shaping our national identity,” said Nantel. “But as an industry, it employs over a million Canadians -- and brings in $85 billion a year. We’re asking the government to work with us so Canada can be a world leader in the arts.”

Angus and Nantel were joined by film actor and former ACTRA national vice-president Tyrone Benskin (Jeanne Le-Ber), and Juno award-winning musician Andrew Cash (Davenport).

In the next House of Commons, New Democrats will bring an unprecedented level of experience on arts policy. The party hopes to work with others in Parliament to support this economically and culturally important industry.