Friday, October 17, 2008

PACT With The New Government

"How could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"
(quote from The Hidden Mountain by Gabrielle Roy, featured on the Canadian $20 bill)

Theatre Community Looks Forward To Working With New Government

Toronto, October 15, 2008 - The Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) would like to congratulate all of the 308 successful candidates who were elected to Canada’s 40th Parliament yesterday.

During the election campaign, arts, culture and heritage figured prominently in national discussions about quality of life in Canada, the economy, and Canada’s profile in the world. PACT looks forward to working with all MPs and all parties to continue this important discussion and to help develop policies and programs that will benefit all Canadians.

"The arts are essential to our country and our communities. The arts should not be a luxury available only to a privileged few – arts should be accessible to everyone," said the re-elected Conservative Government.

At this critical juncture, PACT will press the Government to move on their commitments made prior to and during the election campaign”, said Lucy White, Executive Director of PACT. “Millions of Canadians enjoy Canadian theatre every year and government investment in the arts and culture sector will ensure that Canadians will have affordable access to the arts in their own communities.

As part of their election platform, the Conservative Party made a number of commitments to invest in the arts sector. They include:

· The extension of maternity benefits to include independent contractors, which will enable some artists to take maternity leave;

· The creation of a Tax Credit of up to $500 similar to the Child Fitness Tax Credit, which will include some arts activities for children under the age of 16. A committee will be convened to determine which arts activities are eligible; and

· A commitment to not re-introduce Bill C-10, which would have allowed the government to revoke tax credits given to films that the government deemed to be contrary to the public interest.

Commitments to Canada’s cultural policy from other parties included increased investment in the Canada Council for the Arts, the introduction of income-averaging for artists, and the reinvestment of over $45 million in arts funding programs that have been cancelled in 2008.

“Prior to the election, the Government pledged to reinvest funds and develop new arts and culture programs that were housed in the Departments of Canadian Heritage and Foreign Affairs. It is critical that funds previously earmarked for the arts are reinvested in arts programs and not lost to other sectors within the far-reaching mandates of the Departments. We want to work with Government to ensure that investments and programs are good value for Canadians”, added Lucy White.

The Professional Association of Canadian Theatres is a member-driven organization that serves as the collective voice of more than 140 professional Canadian theatres. For the betterment of Canadian theatre, PACT provides leadership, national representation and a variety of programs and practical assistance to member companies, enabling members to do their own creative work. PACT is a founding member of the Canadian Arts Coalition, which is the largest group of artists, arts executives and business leaders ever assembled from across the country who are united in the view that greater investment in the arts is essential to Canada’s future.

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