Canadian unions protest funding cuts

Thu Oct 9, 2008 12:04am EDT
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By Etan Vlessing

TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - Canadian film and TV unions staged nationwide protests over federal arts funding cuts on Wednesday, six days before the country goes to the polls.

Rallies were held in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax and elsewhere to protest C$45 million in cuts imposed by the ruling Conservatives to domestic film and TV production, and other cultural funding.

The cuts have hit taxpayer-funded programs that enable Canadian artists and producers to attend international festivals and markets to showcase and sell their wares.

"This is not a time to put culture on the back burner," Writers Guild of Canada president Rebecca Schechter warned after Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently dismissed domestic artists as "elites" who attended red carpet galas.

Harper's Conservatives won a minority of seats in Parliament in the January 2006 election, and had hoped Tuesday's poll would give them a majority. But many pundits are predicting that Harper will end up leading another minority government.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter