Arts funding cuts nothing but pre-election “political” pandering to “our kind of people.”
From some of the reporting, the crass political motivation of the Harper government in last week’s axing of the TradeRoutes and PromArt programs was fairly transparent. If there was any doubt about this however, Harper courtier Stephen Taylor seems happy to remove it:
When Guy Giorno took over the chief of staff’s office to the Prime Minister, he rounded up the Ministerial chiefs, the directors of communications and senior PMO staff and told them the same thing: this is essentially an election year and everything that we do from now on will be proactive, direct and obviously political. Giorno’s “be political” theme will set the tone of this government as it moves into the fall…
According to Taylor, not only has killing these two programs resulted in “political staffers” finding some extra cash (makes the federal coffers sound like the rec room sofa), but an added “side benefit” is the opportunity it affords to:
…show ordinary hard-working 9-5 Canadians that their tax dollars are sending others overseas while they put together their savings (after filing their income tax) over the months to put the kids in a minivan and drive down to Disneyworld for a week.
In Taylor’s mundane fantasy world, you see, people in the arts community aren’t “ordinary” or “hard-working” and presumably don’t pay taxes; they may even hate families and proper lawn care. This, of course, reinforces the petit bourgeois theme clumsily hammered away at last year by Ryan Sparrow and other spokestools when they said “The people who follow NASCAR are our kind of people. They’re hard-working families, they’re taxpayers who play by the rules. And those are the people that we’re targeting,”
Yes, we were insulted by the implications then, and we’re insulted again. But hey, guess what? That’s all part of the Conservative party’s cunning plan.
Canadian artists are not on PMO director of strategic planning Patrick Muttart’s radar as these folks have never likely voted Conservative and never will. This move to cut taxpayer money from these groups for foreign travel will cause outrage among that community and will in turn, the Conservatives are predicting, will show other Canadians that the government is defending their interests instead.
So there you go all you “folks” in the arts community — this government has no interest whatsoever in defending your interests. Presumably, the same principle would apply across the board: if you’re not in the Conservative party’s target demographic, as far as the PMO is concerned, you can just go pound salt.
Update: Well, isn’t this cute?