The recent budget announcement of $25 million in federal funding for grand international arts competition that would presumably put Toronto - already "centre of the universe" in Canada - over the top as "centre of the universe" in the world cultural world - appears to be backfiring on all cylinders.
See here, here and here.
John Barber of the Globe and Mail says:
One can certainly understand the Prime Minister's frustration. He scorns black-tie galas and he gets pasted. Contrite, he offers an endless succession of black-tie galas sprinkled with international celebrities to the city that most values such events. And he gets pasted.This is shaping up to be perfect - and once perfectly avoidable - storm at the perfectly worst of all economic times. It involves Quebec v. Rest of Canada, Toronto v. Ottawa, good economics v. not so good economics, good partisanship v. good or maybe bad policy - and simple human issues such as envy and need.
And apparently dozens of the most esteemed "partners" in this grand project organized by Messrs. David Pecaut and Tony Gagliano had never heard of it when it was proudly announced in the recent budget.
There are real Canadian artists who really do need real help to tour and promote their work and their country. We already have - or at least once had - working programs and institutions run by real professionals that once helped make this happen.
This new initiative may attract a lot of attention - for mostly the wrong reasons. But it won't help the Canadian artists who desparately need help the most in these desperate times.
I have no doubt that the current Government means well with this initiative. Maybe they could have used or still could benefit from some better advice to make every available dollar for the arts in Canada really count and deliver.
And to rescue the CBC from being run into the ground and what's left of it ultimately being privatized. That's another story, albeit not at all unrelated.