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.
Continue reading

Austerity fashioned from candle ends (Le Journal de Montréal)

By Ianik Marcil
Originally published on February 19, 2015
See original French text here: http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2015/02/19/austerite-de-bout-de-chandelles

After the “Hats Off, Girls!” program, which encourages young women to choose non-traditional occupations, today we learn that the Couillard government is slashing the “Secondaire en spectacle” [High schools on stage] program. Yet another short-sighted decision, which shows that the current government, under the pretext of “fiscal restraint”, is pursuing ideological goals.

There is nothing illegitimate about the party in power redefining the size and role of government. This is an act of political vision that can be defended in the democratic game. On the other hand, using the argument of a balanced budget as a weapon to dismantle specific programs is at best misleading, and at worst, is an intellectual fraud and deceit.

I have written it enough in these columns and elsewhere – and I’m obviously not the only one -: there is no urgency or imminent disaster. To suggest otherwise, as do Philippe Couillard, Martin Coiteux and Carlos Leitão, is to downright falsify reality.

Continue reading