Originally appeared in The Prince Arthur Herald
With the upcoming budget later this month, many eyes and much press, will be focused on the anticipated 10% cut to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and what that means for the future of Arts funding in Canada. Of course, the friends of the CBC and other left-wing advocacy groups will raise a hue and cry over continuing indifference of our public broadcaster. With one of the most anticipated austerity budgets in recent memory it is important to re-examine the relationship or ask questions about Canada’s broader cultural policy and how it can flourish in today’s society.
Along with fighting the war of ideas, the Conservative Movement also needs to focus on the Cultural aspects of Canadian society, in many ways it has as much impact as any other governmental policy. The Conservative Party approach to Cultural policy is markedly different from the traditional Liberal method. From a political standpoint the Conservatives in counterbalance to the Liberals have decided to focus more on historical and traditional institutions with the maintaining of the Canadian identity focusing on institutions like the monarchy and historical events such as the War of 1812. Therefore, rebranding and reinforcing the Canadian identity. This is in contrast to the traditional “Trudeau-utopian” model where there was a myriad of grants and cultural organizations that everyone paid for but no one saw.
Economic freedom and cultural liberty are intertwined and the individual should be able to choose what art he or she supports as this principle should be paramount in the ideal world based on free market principles. Currently, we have to live with the hand that we are dealt, most Canadians although, not a top priority do support arts and culture. Conservatives now need to take a twin pronged approach first constructively criticize and point out any waste or mismanagement of publicly funded Art. In addition, start being an active participant in cultivating culture that reflects not only your voice but your values.