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Budget has mixed messages for Culture

For Immediate Release
March 29, 2012

Government takes aim at backbone of Canadian film and television industry

TORONTO – Artists and creators were pleased to find that funding for the Canada Council for the Arts was maintained today in the latest federal budget. Unfortunately, this good news was tempered by the Conservative decision to cut funding to Canada’s public cultural institutions, including Telefilm Canada, the National Film Board and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

“Of course we’re happy to see that funding for the Canada Council has been maintained,” said Ferne Downey, ACTRA National President. “However, we’re extremely disappointed to find that the government has cut 10% from the CBC’s budget. The CBC is a vital part of the cultural infrastructure that helps tie this country together. And from an economic standpoint it’s a definite misstep, especially considering that a study by Deloitte and Touche found that in 2010 the CBC generated $3.7 billion for the Canadian economy from an expenditure of $1.7 billion. Funding the CBC isn’t a subsidy; it’s an investment in our future.”

ACTRA was looking for strong funding commitments to these key public institutions during pre-budget consultations. ACTRA also suggested the federal government stimulate Canada’s film and television production sector by expanding Canada’s tax credits to count against a production’s entire budget and by finding ways to incentivize advertisers to market their products on Canadian owned websites that feature homegrown content.

“It’s unfortunate to see the government take a hard line on cutting services when the economy is showing significant signs of recovery,” said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA National Director. “Culture isn’t just a feel good frill, it’s a creative industry that contributes more than $85 billion and hundreds of thousands of jobs to the economy. Clearly, we need to work harder to make sure that the officials presiding over these decisions understand that cultural industries are a key driver in Canada’s digital economy, generating much needed jobs and billions of dollars in revenue.”

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 22,000 members across Canada – the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.

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Media contact: Carol Taverner, ACTRA National, ctaverner@actra.ca or 416.644.1517


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