Federal Election 2015 Watch: A Look At The Parties' Positions on Arts & Culture

Posted on
October 5, 2015
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With election day (October 19) just a few short weeks away, we've been keeping an eye on what the federal party leaders have to say about the important issues that affect you, your business and the broader Canadian independent music scene.

In this space, we're going to take a look at what each of the federal parties and candidates have in mind when it comes to the arts and culture sector.


The Liberal Party of Canada:

The Liberal Party has just released their cultural platform this week (September 22), and the platform promises that a Liberal government will "reinvest in our cultural and creative industries, to create jobs, grow the economy and the middle class, and strengthen our rich Canadian identity."

Specifically, the platform includes promises to:

  • Invest $150 million in new annual funding for CBC/Radio Canada. Additionally, if elected, the Liberal government will work with the CBC/Radio Canada to review the appointments process for the Board of Directors, as well as design a new strategic plan developed in consultation with the cultural sector.
  • Insight into how this breaks down is included in the Liberals' fully costed fiscal plan, the new investments into CBC/Radio-Canada are: $75 million in 2016/17, $150 million in 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/2020.
  • Double investment in the Canada Council for the Arts to $360 million per year (currently: $180 million).
  • According to the Liberals' fiscal plan, the new investments in Canada Council for the Arts will shape up as follows: $90 million in 2016/17, and $180 million annually in 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20.
  • Funding to Telefilm Canada and the National Filk Board will be increased with a new investment worth $25 million per year. According to the Liberals' fiscal plan, these new investments are: $10 million in 2016/17, and $25 million annually in 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20.
  • The Promart and Trade Routes international cultural promotion programs will be restored, and bolstered with $25 million in funding per year. The Liberals' fiscal plan states that these new investments into the export promotion of arts will be valued at $10 million in 2016/17, and $25 million in 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20.
  • Funding for the Young Canada Works program will be increased (no specific figure given).
  • Investments in cultural infrastructure to the tune of $6 billion over 4 years, and almost $20 billion over 10 years.

Related: The Liberal Party is also one of the parties who completed the ArtsVote questionnaire, a project by the Canadian Coalition for the Arts. In their completed questionnaire, the following answers are relevant to the independent music sector (beyond what was already included in their cultural platform:

  • A review of both the Broadcasting Act as well as completing the mandated review of the 2012 Copyright Act in the short-term.

You can read the full questionnaire and answers by clicking here.


Conservative Party of Canada:

The Conservative Party of Canada's first culture-related announcement made was the promise not to regulate Netflix, and a promise to introduce new funding for local museums.

In their platform, the Conservative Party provided further insight into their plan for arts & culture.

  • Through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, $180 million will be provided to 1,800 projects that provide community & cultural benefits to Canadians.
  • Also through the Canada 150 fund, a Conservative government would provide $210 million to support community initiatives that leave a legacy for the future.
  • The arts & culture section of their platform also includes a promise for permanent federal funding for the Canada Council for the Arts, as well as permanent ongoing support for both the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Music Fund.

In addition, the Conservative Party has yet to answer the ArtsVote questionnaire, as per the Canadian Arts Coalition.


The New Democratic Party (NDP):

An October 5 announcement provided some insight on their arts & culture campaign promises.

  • Long-term, reliable funding is promised for the CBC by reversing the $115 million in cuts.
  • A $60 million commitment to investing in Telefilm Canada, the National Film Board and Canada Council for the Arts.
  • A $10 million fund to support "new and innovative digital content" during the celebrations for Canada's 150th anniversary.
  • Introducing an income averaging system for self-employed artists.

In their full-platform, the NDP expands on the announcement above:

  • They will be restoring funding to the CBC/Radio-Canada to the tune of: $100 million in 2016-17, $115 annually in the three years that follow (2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20). In addition, there will be a commitment to stable, predictable, multi-year financing for CBC/Radio-Canada and will instate an independent appointment process for the Board of Directors.
  • There will be a reinvestment into 'core cultural institutions': Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada, National Film Board to the tune of $4 million in 2016-17, $7 million in 2017-18, $21 million in 2018-19 and $28 million in 2019-20.
  • An NDP government would introduce income tax averaging for artists and cultural workers. In their fully-costed plan, this wouldn't require investment until 2018-19 ($10 million) and 2019-20 ($10 million).
  • The NDP would also provide embassies with appropriate cultural personnel and funding to assist in the development of new international markets. This would be a fiscal commitment starting in 2017-18 for $1 million, $2 million in 2018-19 and $5 million in 2019-20.
  • The NDP would restore the National Archival Development Program, an investment that would be valued at $1.7 annually over the next 4 years.
  • In the context of Canada's 150th anniversary, an NDP government would create a special fund to support the creation, diffusion and promotion of Canadian content on digital platforms. This works out to an investment of $3 million in 2016-17, and $7 million in 2017-18.
  • Additionally, the NDP's platform includes a commitment to ensuring that "Canada continues to enjoy quality, diverse and local Canadian content on traditional broadcasting platforms."

The NDP has also answered the ArtsVote questionnaire, which gives some insight into their possible policy platform. Here are some of the insights from the questionnaire responses:

  • Will continue and increase budget for the Canada Council for the Arts (specifics TBA).
  • Federal government should support arts and cultural industries abroad find markets abroad and showcasing talent abroad through international support development programs (specifics TBA).
  • On the CBC/Radio-Canada, the NDP provided more concrete platform promises:
    • Cancel the $115 million in cuts to the budget of CBC/Radio-Canada.
    • Stable, predictable, multi-year financing will be instated.
    • Implementation of an independent appointment process for the Board of Directors.


The Green Party of Canada:

The Green Party was one of the first parties to release its full platform in early September, as well as a statement on its vision for the Arts & Culture sector.

Their platform promises to:

  • Reversal of the 2012 cuts to the CBC/Radio-Canada, as well as committing an additional 168$ million, and $315 million per year thereafter.
  • A commitment to restructuring the governance model of the CBC/Radio-Canada.
  • A commitment to increase funding to all arts and culture organizations, including Canada Council for the Arts and Telefilm Canada.
  • They will enshrine the principle of 'net neutrality' in Canadian legislation.
  • Rebuild the arm's length governance of arts & cultural institutions to prevent political interference.

The Green Party also completed the ArtsVote questionnaire, which you can consult by clicking here.

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