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The National Director’s Blog

The Winds of Change

The last two months have slipped through our fingers! We worked hard this summer, as usual you say, but this time it’s different. We worked on projects for the future. We weren’t just working on the survival of the CCA: do more with less or just do it differently. No, today we work on inventing our future, the creation of an independent organization that the whole cultural sector can be proud of, because it belongs to them and it meets their needs.

You think this is an ambitious project? Me too! Oscar Wilde said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.” Just because I cite the moon and stars isn’t to say that this project is unrealistic. We have concrete support and interested partners. We are developing publications and essential products. I’ve talked to dozens of people who want to see a completely new CCA emerge after the government’s decision to cut off support. A bit like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly… but for now we are really at the chrysalis stage.

And fundamentally it is working. This summer, we had businesses agree to support us, and others to support particular projects. September is one of the two major months for membership renewals for the CCA, the other being April, and so far so good! We are up to 12 organizations that have increased their annual support, a vote of confidence that we greatly appreciate.

We need more than renewals though; we need to expand our membership base. On top of developing research projects, we have also spent part of the summer preparing a membership campaign that we will be launching in the coming weeks.


A New Business Model


Our business plan calls for eight sources of financing, including the sale of publications. In the past, government support has allowed us to offer these publications for free. Now, that is no longer possible. Those that participated in the battle over copyright know all too well, you must pay for the use of someone else’s work, otherwise the cycle of creation dries up!

Therefore we will start this pattern the week of September 18th with the sale of our Federal Budget Analysis. This year it will be free for members, but keep in mind that there will be a fee next year. This year non-members can purchase the analysis for an initial launch price of $250.

One of the projects in development is an analysis of the provincial and territorial budgets from the cultural perspective. This new publication will complete our analysis of the federal budget that we have been doing for many years. Given the cuts imposed by the government, and the decision to abandon the annual publication on public spending on culture from Stats Canada, this analysis will be a timely one although not intended to replace their work. The project is being coordinated by Sharon Jeannotte, from the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Governance, who will be working with a team of experts in each of the provinces. This annual publication will be available separately or as a package with the federal analysis.

We have begun work on the republication and updating of our book Review of Federal Polices for the Arts in Canada by D. Paul Schafer and André Fortier which covered the period from 1944-1988. A steering committee has been assembled, notably including Gérald Grandmont, associate professor at HEC; Joyce Zemans, professor emeritus at York University; and Paul Schafer, one of the original authors. This document will be an essential reference in the management of arts and politics. As they say, “In order to know where you’re going you must know where you’re coming from.”

We are preparing to welcome two interns who will be helping with the publication of our Bulletin and The Magazine among other things. We are continuing to rally our members around common interests and to keep track of what is happening in the House of Commons. On that note, after the return to Parliament, our members will have access to summaries of what is being said in Ottawa concerning culture. More than ever we will be your eyes and ears in Ottawa.

We have a full plate! But nothing is more motivating than knowing that you are with us as we face this challenge!



One Comment

  1. JOHN HOBDAY says:

    I was delighted to learn that you were planning to move ahead with the long overdue updating of the most valuable publication “Federal Plicies for the Arts in Canada”. I have great confidence in the updating team of Gerald Grandmont, Joyce Zemans and Paul Schafer – and wish them well in accomplishing this much needed project.