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The Sprint Continues

May 24, 2012

It’s the last magazine before our June 18th annual general meeting in Ottawa and like in a suspense film, I’m about to prepare my annual report without knowing quite how it will end! In a few weeks, another crucial step towards the future of the CCA will be realized. I have high hopes that with the support received so far and that expected to come, we will win the bold gamble to ensure the sustainability of this unique instrument for the cultural sector. All the same it’s with butterflies in my stomach that I approach the final stretch of a year that has passed so fast!

A year ago already we started facing the reality that this would be a pivotal moment in the history of the CCA when we were made unofficially aware that the CCA’s funding was in jeopardy. Then, on April 11, almost a year later, we received the official announcement of the government’s decision to put an end to 46 years of financial support. To say the last twelve months made for an eventful year would be an understatement.

The day after our last general assembly, in June 2011, we began work on developing a new business plan to build a stable and autonomous financial base for the CCA. Brainstorming sessions, board meetings, consultations and meetings across the country, all helped to shape a detailed, ambitious yet achievable plan. All throughout this process I became increasingly convinced that if the CCA had 67 years of history, it could have just as many to come. I was made aware of the need for a strong and independent CCA for the arts, cultural and heritage sector across the country; a CCA that brings together a list of common interests; a CCA devoted to the service of its members and addressing in a unique way issues of vital importance not only for the cultural sector but for all citizens.

Along the way I have seen growing interest in solidarity and working together. I saw the scepticism in some eyes about our chances of success, but at the same time the availability and the desire to participate in this unprecedented adventure. I must admit that over this past year, my faith has been shaken a few times in the face of the magnitude of this task. During the last weeks however, I have seen many of you pass from scepticism to conviction that it is possible after all. Not easy, but possible. More and more of you have been casting your votes of confidence by renewing your memberships. We have been gaining new members that have never previously supported the CCA. Some have been increasing their dues, some that we had lost over the years are coming back, convinced that we are stronger together. For me, this support confirms that we are on the right track and the staff and board members aren’t the only ones who believe it.

Over the next two weeks I will be going to Toronto and Montreal to meet the National Advisory Committee on priorities. We will take stock of the CCA, of projects in progress and of the collective commitment to achieve them.

And in less than a month, I will be reporting to you on the conclusion of this chapter that we are in the process of writing.