Sunday, February 28, 2010

Save our Olympic sports funding, call it arts and culture

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics has been a wild ride for fans across the globe and especially here in Canada. I cannot think of any previous multi-day event that has so completely captured the attention of Canadians. Nor can I think of any event that has united Canadians to the degree these games have, at least, not since the 1972 Canada-Russia hockey series.

It seems rather odd that our governments spend billions of dollars on arts and culture in Canada, yet Minister of State for Sport Gary Lunn, on behalf of the Conservative government, says the federal Tories will only continue to fund the Own the Podium program after the 2010 at the current level of $11-million per year, and will not take on responsibility for other funding which is sure to be lost after these games.

According to Statics Canada, in 2006-07, governments across this land spend some  $8.2-billion on culture, excluding transfers between different levels of government. Of this total, the federal government’s share was $3.7-billion.

The $3.7-billion in federal spending was dominated by the broadcasting sector ($1.8-billion) and heritage organizations, including museums, art galleries, public archives, nature parks and historic sites ($959-million).

Federal government spending on the arts (defined as performing arts, visual arts and crafts, and arts education) was $268-million.

Later today about 10 million viewers in Canada are expected to watch the Canada-US gold medal hockey game—according to CTV, Canada’s semifinal victory over Slovakia was watched by 9.7 million viewers.

According to the Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections presented last September by Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, Canada’s federal revenues for 2010-11 are projected to be  233.1-billion. Folks, that’s 233,100 million dollars. Can we not find 100th of one per cent ($23-million) of that to help ensure we get a boost to our national pride every four years?

The $23-million suggested above doesn’t have to come from new spending, it can come from amounts already allocated to spending on culture. That about 6 tenths of a per cent of the $3.7-billion spent by the federal government in 2006-7 on culture.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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  1. Would it not be fair to ask yhe Provinces and corporations to keep their funding in place.

    Why should the feds have to make up the difference or get punished in the press if they do not.

    The fed gov has said their fnding will stay in place but everyone says it,s their duty to fill the gap left when other levels of gov pull out.

    Great showing Canada

    We Love all athletes

    Thank you team Canada

  2. Yes Canada does not have enough rent seekers as it is. The public should be forced to fund everything through various government initiatives. To do less is simply unfair. However maybe just maybe the fact that the government already takes 1/2 of our incomes has something to do with the fact that most Canadians don't have near enough savings for their retirements.

  3. the funding will continue as even the Liberals/NDP would have a hard time saying No to an increase. We will be in a political correct time zone for a bit but I suspect that Canada has changed and winning is a pretty neat feeling