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What are Canadian Heritage’s priorities for 2012–2013?

CCA Bul­letin 09/12

May 28, 2012

The Cana­dian Con­fer­ence of the arts is hard at work on our detailed fed­eral bud­get analy­sis from the per­spec­tive of the arts, cul­ture, and her­itage for 2012–2013. For a num­ber of rea­sons the task is par­tic­u­larly com­pli­cated this year. Nor­mally the report on the plans and pri­or­i­ties of the Her­itage Depart­ment is pub­lished around the same time as the fed­eral bud­get how­ever, this year it was pub­lished sev­eral weeks after the bud­get and after the cuts were announced. To com­pli­cate things fur­ther, last Feb­ru­ary the depart­ments received a direc­tive from the Trea­sury Depart­ment to not include the cuts in their annual reports. There­fore the report on Plans and Pri­or­i­ties doesn’t include the cuts announced fol­low­ing the March 29th, 2012 bud­get. Instead it includes some bud­get cuts from 2007–2010 such as the freeze in 2010. It’s only as spe­cific deci­sions come out that we are dis­cov­er­ing the real impacts of the government’s deci­sions, since even where bud­gets are pro­tected, there is no indi­ca­tion that the pri­or­i­ties haven’t changed.

The CCA’s bud­get analy­sis there­fore risks being pushed back to the early fall in order to present a more accu­rate por­trait of the sit­u­a­tion and to have the time to shed some light on this col­lec­tion of infor­ma­tion. Espe­cially since this year, we are plan­ning for the first time to enrich our analy­sis by includ­ing analy­ses of the provin­cial and ter­ri­to­r­ial bud­gets. This project is already in progress with our part­ners at the Polit­i­cal Sci­ence depart­ment at the Uni­ver­sity of Ottawa.

As its name indi­cates, the doc­u­ment we are analysing today details the prin­ci­pal pri­or­i­ties of Cana­dian Her­itage (PCH) accord­ing to their strate­gic out­comes, pro­gram activ­i­ties and antic­i­pated or expected results, in addi­tion to pro­vid­ing data on human resource require­ments, major cap­i­tal projects, grants and con­tri­bu­tions, and net pro­gram costs. As such, the Report reflects the Department’s inten­tions to act in key areas and it presents an exhaus­tive exam­i­na­tion of the pri­or­i­ties, the archi­tec­ture of the pro­gram, and their man­age­ment structures.

In the Department’s mes­sage this year, Min­is­ter Moore men­tions want­ing to take full advan­tage of dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies, invest in our com­mu­ni­ties, cel­e­brate our his­tory and her­itage, and use tax­pay­ers’ money respon­si­bly. Both before and after the bud­get, the min­is­ter has insisted on the eco­nomic impact of cul­ture, “…arts and cul­ture play a key role in the lives of Cana­di­ans, and they con­tribute as much to our qual­ity of life as to our econ­omy. By sup­port­ing Cana­dian cul­ture, we ensure the growth of our econ­omy. The cre­ative sec­tor fos­ters inno­va­tion and pro­vides Canada with a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage in the inter­na­tional dig­i­tal economy.”

Dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy is a pet sub­ject of the Her­itage Min­is­ter, who encour­ages inno­va­tion in this area. The Min­is­ter is bet­ting that dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy will allow sub­stan­tial sav­ings in effi­ciency. He has also men­tioned on sev­eral occa­sions includ­ing in an inter­view with George Stroum­boulopou­los and in news arti­cles, that cer­tain agen­cies such as Tele­film, the NFB and Library and Archives can make sav­ings because of dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies and that the ser­vices to the pub­lic won’t be notice­ably affected. We should men­tion that the opin­ions are some­what divided on that last statement.

The Department’s main objectives

The Department’s activ­i­ties revolve around 3 main strate­gic objec­tives which have been in place since Min­is­ter Moore’s arrival at Cana­dian Heritage:

1.  Artis­tic expres­sions and Cana­dian cul­tural con­tent are cre­ated and acces­si­ble at home and abroad.

2.  Cana­di­ans share, express and appre­ci­ate their Cana­dian identity.

3.  Cana­di­ans par­tic­i­pate in and excel at sports.

These three strate­gic objec­tives guide the Department’s four oper­a­tional objectives.

1.  Take full advan­tage of dig­i­tal technologies;

2.  Cel­e­brate our her­itage and history;

3.  Invest in our communities;

4.  Ensure finan­cial sus­tain­abil­ity and excel­lence in ser­vice delivery.

Strate­gic Outcomes

We will cover only the pro­grams related directly to the arts, cul­ture, and her­itage, and we will do this cau­tiously. The bud­get num­bers included in the doc­u­ment do not reflect those that were tabled with the bud­get, and the bud­get doesn’t reflect the num­bers of the Main Esti­mates! There­fore we will only dis­cuss the main out­lined pri­or­i­ties with­out focus­ing on the bud­get. The com­plete analy­sis of the bud­get will be pub­lished in the fall.

 1.    Artis­tic expres­sions and Cana­dian cul­tural con­tent are cre­ated and acces­si­ble at home and abroad.

 a.    Pro­gram activ­ity: ARTS

The Depart­ment seems to want to give pri­or­ity to invest­ing in arts orga­ni­za­tions that encour­age part­ner­ships with busi­nesses and other local orga­ni­za­tions to diver­sify their finan­cial resources. In addi­tion the Depart­ment includes infra­struc­ture invest­ments for the 150th anniver­sary cel­e­bra­tions as part of this activ­ity (such as the vis­i­tors cen­tre at Fort York.)

b.    Pro­gram activ­ity: CULTURAL INDUSTRIES

Among the pri­or­i­ties for this objec­tive, the Depart­ment will mod­ernise the Copy­right Act and expects to pur­sue treaty nego­ti­a­tions on audio­vi­sual co-productions. We know that the Copy­right Bill should be adopted by the Sen­ate before the end of June. As for audio­vi­sual co-production treaties, nego­ti­a­tions resumed in 2011 after sev­eral years of inter­rup­tions. New devel­op­ments are expected in this area, notably with India, one of the coun­tries cov­ered by a copro­duc­tion agree­ment with Canada which we have been talk­ing about for years. Still in the film sec­tor, the Depart­ment wants to review fea­ture film poli­cies to adapt them to the dig­i­tal envi­ron­ment. It will con­sist of an inter­nal process which the CCA will talk more about in the fall.

In the book sec­tor, the Depart­ment also wants to “mod­ern­ize pol­icy on for­eign invest­ment for the book indus­try so that it reflects and responds to a chang­ing mar­ket­place.” Some of you may recall that in 2010, the Depart­ment began a con­sul­ta­tion process long since com­pleted, but no pol­icy has yet come out of it. It’s no secret that it’s a del­i­cate sub­ject in both the anglo­phone and fran­coph­one mar­kets. In Que­bec, Bill 51 adopted 30 years ago has sup­ported bet­ter dis­sem­i­na­tion of Que­be­cois lit­er­a­ture and an increase in the acces­si­bil­ity of books by putting in place new com­mer­cial prac­tices in the sec­tor. Open­ing up to for­eign invest­ments in this area could fuel con­flicts between the fed­eral and provin­cial gov­ern­ments. In the Eng­lish lan­guage mar­ket, for­eign invest­ment in the book sec­tor is a very del­i­cate sub­ject affected by dif­fer­ent real­i­ties. The dis­tri­b­u­tion mar­kets, pub­lish­ing, and retail are dif­fer­ent and require dif­fer­ent reg­u­la­tions. How will the gov­ern­ment rec­on­cile these dif­fer­ing inter­ests? It’s a file to follow.

c.    Pro­gram activ­ity: HERITAGE

Under this head­ing, the Depart­ment aims to “enact mea­sures to improve the preser­va­tion and pre­sen­ta­tion of the his­tory and her­itage of Canada:

  • Con­tribute to the preser­va­tion of rare and pre­cious arti­facts and help clients to exhibit and present these objects over the course of com­ing his­toric anniversaries;
  • Com­plete the analy­sis of the  Cul­tural Prop­erty Export and Import Act to iden­tify nec­es­sary changes to ensure its effec­tive­ness in pro­tect­ing Canada’s heritage;
  • Chart the ser­vices of the Cana­dian Con­ser­va­tion Insti­tute in order to assure that they are meet­ing the con­ser­va­tion and preser­va­tion needs of Canada’s her­itage institutions;
  • Con­tinue to work together with large muse­ums across the coun­try in order to give Cana­di­ans bet­ter access to the inter­na­tional and Cana­dian trea­sures by means of the Canada Trav­el­ling Exhi­bi­tions Indem­ni­fi­ca­tion Pro­gram;
  • Iden­tify and under­take mul­ti­plat­form projects that will allow Cana­di­ans to have bet­ter access to dig­i­tal her­itage con­tent on the devices of their choice;
  • Update the Com­mu­nity Mem­o­ries Pro­gram soft­ware and pub­lic inter­face that allows smaller Cana­dian muse­ums to pro­duce and pro­mote local his­tory exhi­bi­tions on line cre­ated in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the com­mu­ni­ties they serve.”

Some might have a hard time see­ing the cor­re­la­tions between the government’s pri­or­i­ties, the bud­get announce­ments, and the real­i­ties in which the her­itage sec­tor oper­ates. On the one hand, we see national museum’s bud­gets pre­served, increases to the Canada Trav­el­ling Exhi­bi­tions Indem­ni­fi­ca­tion Pro­gram, and a com­mit­ment to the Cana­dian Con­ser­va­tion Insti­tute. On the other, we see the Muse­ums Assis­tance Pro­gram (MAP) remain at $6.7 mil­lion, which is less than the ini­tial amount in 1972; we see $9.6 mil­lion cuts to Library and Archives Canada; and severe cuts to Parks Canada (now under the author­ity of the Envi­ron­ment Min­is­ter) which will affect national his­toric sites and limit access to them. These are all ele­ments that do not sug­gest that her­itage is clearly favoured in the government’s priorities.

 2.    Cana­di­ans share, express and appre­ci­ate their Cana­dian identity.

 a.    Pro­gram activ­ity: PROMOTION AND BELONGING IN CANADA

The report on Plans and Pri­or­i­ties includes the Kati­mavik pro­gram in its list, but we already know from the bud­get that the pro­gram was elim­i­nated in the cuts. So we have decided not to include this list which doesn’t reflect the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. The Depart­ment is con­cen­trat­ing its efforts for youth activ­i­ties into three pro­grams, the Cana­dian Stud­ies Pro­gram (not to be con­fused with the Under­stand­ing Canada: Cana­dian Stud­ies Pro­gram, elim­i­nated within Inter­na­tional Affairs), the Inter­change Canada Pro­gram, and Youth Take Charge.

National hol­i­days, his­tor­i­cal cel­e­bra­tions, and royal cel­e­bra­tions are also financed under this head­ing. At least $28 mil­lion has been put toward the War of 1812 com­mem­o­ra­tions (some have also said the num­ber is as high as $70 mil­lion), $7.5 mil­lion for the Queen’s Jubilee (which includes $1.2 mil­lion for the royal visit by Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla).

 3.    Cana­di­ans par­tic­i­pate and excel at sports

Lastly, a brief word on sports: impor­tant increases are sig­nalled for  2013–2014 and 2014–2015, mainly because of the Pan Amer­i­can Games and the Para­pan Amer­i­can Games in 2015.

What can you do?

We need your help to com­plete our bud­get analy­sis. Given that the process of cuts and pro­gram redesign is ongo­ing, it is dif­fi­cult to have a clear pic­ture of what sit­u­a­tion will pre­vail in the com­ing weeks. Deci­sions are becom­ing known bit by bit and aren’t nec­es­sar­ily made pub­lic (for exam­ple, the cuts to the CCA and to the Coali­tion for Cul­tural Diver­sity.) Bear­ing this in mind, we invite you to let us know if your orga­ni­za­tion has suf­fered cuts or if the pro­grams that fund your orga­ni­za­tion have changed cri­te­ria. We can then inte­grate this infor­ma­tion into our for­mal bud­get analy­sis for 2012. You can send infor­ma­tion to communications@ccarts.ca.

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