2.5 million axed from the Conseil des arts budget: an unprecedented cut (Voir)

By: The Voir web team
Originally published on June 23, 2015
Original French text here: http://voir.ca/nouvelles/2015/06/23/le-budget-du-conseil-des-arts-ampute-de-25-millions-une-coupe-sans-precedent/

Photo: Hélène David, Minister of Culture & Communication, as well as Minister responsible for the protection and promotion of the French language / Credit: The Liberal Party of Québec

This morning, June 23 2015, on the eve of a national holiday, Hélène David, the Minister of Culture & Communications, announced a surprise cutback of 2.5 million dollars to the Conseil des arts et des lettres’ (CALQ) budget without specifying which programs would be affected.

The amount is considerable and could possibly affect even the Counseil’s core programs dedicated to awarding funding to various artistic organizations, but the Minister did not deny that the budgets of other crown corporations with a cultural mandate as well as direct funds from the Ministry of Culture & Communications could also be touched. The axe will likely also fall upon the funding of new initiatives under the digital culture plan. But the Minister has not given specifics about the bigger picture. The announcement comes as a surprise because it goes against the Minister’s official line since she took office in April 2014: she often stated that the CALQ was one of her priorities. Early June’s provincial budget did not include any modifications to the CALQ’s allocation, which reassured a cultural milieu worried for years now about the Conseil’s chronic under-funding.

The first reaction came in the form of a press release from the Mouvement pour les arts et le lettres. Its president Stanley Péan took up arms: “This cut in CALQ’s allocation, he states, is an historical event: it hits hard and takes aim at core programs for the first time ever.”

“The cuts come at a time when the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has proven that the creative heart that constitutes the very foundation of our cultural edifice, is worse off than it was 5 years ago, with artists, singers and writers taking home an average income of 23 500$ (compared with 43 500$ on average for the cultural sector as a whole), representing a 4% decrease between 2008 and 2013.”

More details to follow.

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