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Who benefits from cultural subsidies?

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press “Artists say that although there are new investments in culture, the money still does not reach them. We must therefore see why and how the system works and who benefits from it,” explains solidarity MP Sol Zanetti, in an interview with “Devoir”.

Stéphane Baillargeon

March 1, 2024

  • Quebec

Québec solidaire asks Quebec MPs to look into the distribution of public funds in culture. A letter sent to the elected members of the Committee on Culture and Education of the National Assembly proposes to launch an initiative mandate to “study the distribution and distribution of public funds and income in the cultural industries of Quebec “.

This approach follows a public outing this week by artists' unions denouncing inequalities in the allocation of cultural envelopes. “Funding culture seems to be a lucrative windfall for some, to the detriment of artists and artisans who are at the heart of creation, its diversity, its quality and its reputation,” writes the group in a letter sent to the Prime Minister François Legault and Minister of Culture Mathieu Lacombe.

This coalition includes the Union of Artists, as well as organizations representing musicians, directors, technicians and authors of radio, television and cinema.

“Artists have asked for a collective reflection on the distribution of public funds in the cultural industries”, said to Devoirthe solidarity deputy Sol Zanetti, who is at the origin of the parliamentary approach. “Artists say that although there are new investments in culture, the money still does not reach them. We must therefore see why and how the system works and who benefits from it. We need to see what we can do to improve it and ensure a decent living for artists. »

The request therefore does not relate to the quantity of funds or subsidies, but of course the distribution of the existing windfall. “That would be an excellent starting point,” said the MP.

Mr. Zanetti also admits that a broad and deep crisis is affecting culture. The causes are multiple. They range from large digitization profitable for Web giants to overproduction, including the decline in interest in certain creative sectors. The deputy would like to have a Estates General to deal collectively and politically with this crisis. However, for the moment, the parliamentary commission seems to him to be a good way to get to the heart of certain fundamental things quickly and clearly.

“This is a good way of doing things to allow all parties to hear from people in the industry, the representatives of the artists who signed the public declaration this week, but also the producers and SODEC (the Cultural Business Development Corporation). We need to hear from everyone to have an overall view and understand if Quebec supports its artists well, if public money reaches the creators. »

The Committee on Culture and Education should take up the solidarity proposal in the coming weeks. Its members will examine it behind closed doors and make a decision by vote. CAQ elected officials are in the majority in all Quebec parliamentary committees. If accepted, the initiative mandate desired by Québec solidaire on cutting the cultural subsidies pie could get underway towards the end of March.

“We have a good chance of getting there,” says Sol Zanetti. “The demand comes from the middle, in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister. We see this very rarely. There is a fundamental movement and the National Assembly must not ignore it. »

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116