Friday, September 26, 2008

The cut programs' purpose

In one of the facebook groups, Silver VanTaloths compiled a detailed list of the function of the cut programs in the face of this article. I wanted to have it for reference here.

Canadian Memory Fund, $11.57M
R&D component of Canadian Culture Online, $5.64M


These two projects were a massive initiative intended to digitize delicate archival materials - this is stuff that is in some cases falling apart, at risk of destruction. Digitized materials were then going to be put up on the web for public access. Because the plug was pulled early, all the work and money spent was wasted. Links lead to nowhere, some things digitally archived and backed up (possible future relaunch), some not. Much of the material related to women, First Nations, and the very early years of Canada, and WWII.

Northern Distribution Program, $2.10 M
This project was an absolute innovation: First Nations Language radio and television in the north. Indigenous peoples the world over praised the project, and called for it to be used as a model for other projects world wide. Huge blow for northern aboriginals.

Culture.ca web portal, $3.80 M
This was meant to link all the online content related to culture; the memory project, the virtual museums, archives and records - this was to be the central access point. The content it had to manage quickly outgrew the code written to manage it, search functionality tanked... it ended up being a much larger project than anyone imagined, it was mismanaged, and when it failed, it made all the other content much more difficult to access. But much easier to "justify" cutting funding for.

nb: I was hoping this would be able to be used as the Canadian equivalent to OzArts.

Canadian Cultural Observatory (culturescope.ca), $0.56M
Meant to be a public portal onto arts, culture and research policy. It was a way to build accountability into the multiple online systems, but also functioned as a source of information for the general public: events, reports, statistics, journal articles, research papers, etc. Kind of pointless if all the other digital content has already been slated for demolition.

AV Trust - Feature Film Preservation and Access, $0.15M
Tiny fund aimed at storing and preserving film stock. This is an enormous difficulty for libraries, archives, and even the NFB as film degenerates rapidly if not stored correctly.

AV Trust - Canadian Music Preservation and Access, $0.15 M
Same, but for music and other sound recordings, including rare, early recordings of First Nations languages.

Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund, $1.5 M

Just what it sounds like; funds used for training and education, equipment, and materials for indie film makers.

National Training Program for the Film and Video Sector $2.5 M
This is a real shame. For all those of you saying, "Why don't we put arts funding into education?" We did. Conservatives cut it.

Trade Routes (contributions as of April 1, 2009 and remainder of program, April 1, 2010) $7.1 M
Intended to help Canadian artists, musicians, cultural groups, dance companies, etc promote, market, and export themselves abroad. Getting rid of this means Canadian artists will find it that much harder to be competitive abroad. Or even get there/get their stuff out there at all.

Summation: the programmes cut would have facilitated the public's (Canadian, and international) interaction with Canadian culture, history, and natural heritage by making more things available online. Would have preserved and repaired delicate items in need of repair. Would have ensured (or at least taken steps toward) the inclusion of First Nations voices in our national culture. And would have made cultural products more commercially viable and competitive both here and abroad.

Whereas: the "$325 million in tax cuts" gives breaks after production is finished to film projects (foreign and domestic) completed in Canada.That's it.

Oh - and this money was *already promised* and given away; the cuts are not budget cuts to take effect in the next fiscal year, they take effect last month. People are getting money yanked out from underneath them at the last minute. With no warning. And the damage disproportionally effects women, First Nations, French, LGBTQ, and other minorities.

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