Hébert is one of Canada’s most astute political writers. Today she does a really good analysis of how arts funding, including public broadcast funding, lead indirectly to impact around the world and commercial box-office success.
The Conservative argument says that artists should give up and get a job if they can’t sell their work from day one, and that government subsidies are for losers. This is disproved in Hébert’s story about La Course: Destination Monde, a Radio-Canada show from the 90’s that nurtured all kinds of successful filmmakers.
I was on Road Movies, the English-language knock-off of La Course. It was non-competitive, and it only ran one season, but such is the permanent state of Anglo Canadian culture. Nothing gets traction in the landslide of American product; in fact, I can’t even find a good web link for the title of that show. The funding ended after one year and the money for English-Canadian culture seems to have been sliding downwards ever since.
Quebec sustains its cultural industries with constant, full-spectrum support and a dedicated audience, and Harper’s attempt to pull funding away from all but the most obviously vital parts of the culture industry should scare us all.