Premier, Minister Urge Federal Government to Reconsider Cuts to Culture

Tourism, Culture and Heritage (To Jan. 7)

September 2, 2008 1:09 PM

Premier Rodney MacDonald and Tourism, Culture and Heritage Minister Bill Dooks have written to the federal government expressing serious concern over recent cuts to several initiatives that support artists, arts organizations and cultural industries.

"In Nova Scotia, we are doubling our financial support for arts and culture so it is extremely disappointing to see the federal government reduce its commitment," said Premier MacDonald. "I have urged the prime minister to reconsider these cuts and Minister Dooks will be raising the issue with federal heritage minister Josée Verner and counterparts at national meetings later this month."

Nova Scotia's culture sector creates direct and indirect employment for 28,000 and generates more than $1.2 billion in gross domestic product. Last fall, the province committed to double funding for culture, bringing the total budget to $16.4 million by 2010-11.

In his letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the premier said the province has worked tirelessly with its provincial and federal counterparts over the years to ensure that the economic and social benefits of arts and culture are recognized by Canadians and governments throughout the country.

"I sincerely hope that these cuts do not represent the level of importance that the government of Canada places on the value of this sector to the Canadian economy, to our provincial and our Canadian identity," said Premier MacDonald.

The federal cuts affect programs including PromArt, Trade Routes, National Training Program for the Film and Video sector, Canadian Independent Film and Video fund, Canadian Memory fund, New Media Research Networks fund, New Media Research and Development Initiative, Canadian Cultural Observatory, Book Publishing Industry Development program, Culture.ca and Culturescope web portals.

"We strongly believe in the significant growth potential of this sector, which is why we are doubling our provincial investment," said Mr. Dooks. "These federal cuts will negatively impact our sector's growth and export potential, and I will continue to urge the federal government to reconsider and to remain our partner in realizing the potential of this important sector."

Mr. Dooks said the loss of the Trade Routes program in particular leaves Nova Scotia cultural exporters at a severe competitive disadvantage. Festivals and events such as the East Coast Music Awards and the Atlantic Film Festival have relied on the program to attract international buyers. The federal cuts will have a serious impact on these initiatives.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Premier Rodney MacDonald and Tourism, Culture and Heritage

Minister Bill Dooks are urging the federal government to

reconsider recently announced cuts to arts and culture

programming.

     In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the premier

says it is extremely disappointing to see the federal

government reduce its commitment to arts and culture at a time

when the province is increasing its financial support.

     Last fall, the province committed to double funding for

culture, bringing the total budget to 16-point-four million by

2010-2011.

     Mr. Dooks said the federal cuts will negatively impact on

the sector's growth and export potential.

     He will raise the issue with federal heritage minister

Josée Verner and counterparts at national meetings later this

month.

-30-

Media Contacts: Wade Keller
                Premier's Office
                902-424-6600
                E-mail: kellerwm@gov.ns.ca

                Wendy Barnable
                Tourism, Culture and Heritage
                902-424-1593
                E-mail: barnabwm@gov.ns.ca