Justin Trudeau, a Liberal Party candidate, told CTV News on Tuesday that the Canadian 'arts and culture' industry is what defines Canada, and thus should continue to receive federal government funding. He also claimed that it is an $85 billion industry, that employs close to 1 million people.
So... should anyone tell the rest of the Liberals that this guy is an idiot, or should we watch while the Conservatives do it for us? If the arts industry was an $85 billion dollar industry, it would be the biggest 'arts' industry in North America and Europe. Bigger than Hollywood. Bigger than professional sports. Bigger than TV and video games.
And since when did the notoriously esoteric and gnostic arts and culture industry become a defining characteristic of Canada? It might be for the few folks involved in it, but for the vast majority of Canadians, it's just not. As for the foreign invasion argument paraded about by Jack Layton, who despite his claims to be a voice for ordinary Canadians immediately abandons that tune to come to the rescue of the status quo, doesn't hold water anymore: Canadians willfully choose to watch American programming when it's offered, and avoid the CBC's Canadian programming religiously.
More than anything else, it highlights the massive disconnect between self-proclaimed populist politicians like Jack Layton, the Liberal Party, and the needs of normal Canadians. I say this as a student of art history and visual arts, and the son of a hardworking mother who owned her own dance and performing arts school. Why not earmark the money for people training in the arts, like we do for everyone else, and then let them sink or swim on their own merits?