Arts vs medals

or how I learned to resent the Olympics

Way to kill my Olympic buzz. I was just about to blog about how much I enjoy BMX racing (and that awesome three-way spill last night) and this was sent to me. According to today's Globe, "More than $40-million in savings the federal government will reap from controversial cuts to arts and culture funding will be redirected to the Vancouver Olympic torch relay and two other programs, exacerbating fears that replacement initiatives are not in the cards.

The Conservative strategy is apparent in a section of the 2008 federal budget that promises to 'redirect all savings' from cuts to several Department of Canadian Heritage domains to pay for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic torch relays; the Road to Excellence program, which supports Summer Olympics athletes; and the Action Plan for Official Languages, which promotes bilingualism."

Sorry kids, there won't be a school play this year but the football team has new uniforms!

So I called Briony Carros, the director of Visual Arts Nova Scotia and an athlete, to get her take on the situation. She hadn't heard yet, and I obviously caught her off guard.

"Wow... of couse, with the Olympics right now...but the public doesn't seem to really care--they seem to support it, according to the comments on the Globe website. i don't even know what to say about it. Unbelievable...."

Carros says that she's not for "cutting gym for art or the other way around. These are choices that shouldn't have to be made."

I'm spending the afternoon talking to other arts professionals, to get their reactions. Look for more coverage in The Dope Show. I'm really concerned about this as many of the Olympic sponsors, such as Royal Bank, are also major arts sponsors. Will they follow the Harper train, or will they respond by filling in the government funding gaps? We'll see.

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