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Sunday, January 27, 2008

alberta not civilized - tory minister.

With a provincial election call potentially less than 10 days away, both of Alberta's main political parties are presenting their ideas and plans for the future. As a fan and follower of the arts community in Edmonton (and more specifically L'Unitheatre and the Varscona Theatre) I took notice of when both the Alberta Liberals and Tories made arts and culture announcements this week.

On Wednesday, Kevin Taft's Alberta Liberals announced of a new policy titled Fuelling an Alberta Renaissance: Policies to Invigorate Arts and Culture in Alberta, proposing some key changes to how the Alberta Government interacts and provides support to Alberta's struggling arts community. Ed Stelmach's Tories followed their lead with an Arts announcement two days later. Much like Ed Stelmach's environment announcement earlier in the week, the Stelmach Tory arts announcement was short on substance and big on pictures.

I heard through a media source in Calgary that at the media scrum following the announcement, Ed Stelmach struggled to answer the straight forward question of "who are your favorite Alberta artists, Mr. Premier?" (couldn't even name Corb Lund?).

As if it wasn't indicative enough of the Tory Government's attitude towards the arts that the Premier had a hard time naming an Alberta artist, but I was blown away when I read Peace River Tory MLA and Tourism, Parks, and Culture Minister Hector Goudreau's speaking notes from the policy launch:

"We can build a civilized society that aspires to excellence and beauty..."
Wow. Thanks, Hec.


Anonymous said...

Much like the weak climate change policy Ed Stelmach has continued his one year streak of promoting unambitious solutions to real issues facing Alberta.

Alberta should be a leader in Canada and the World but the institutional mediocrity of 36-years of the Progressive Conservative has clearly dried out the current government of any ambitious or visionary plans or ideas. Time for a change.

Anonymous said...

Real Albertan culture isn't subsidized by the government.

These "perverted arts" (to quote from the Anti Jim Dinning youtube video) that Ed has given tax payers dollars to fund only appeal to a small minority of people within Calgary and Edmonton, and virtually nowhere else in the province.

You will never catch anyone in Taber, Vegreville, or Hanna saying "Thanks to Ed Stelmach I can unwind by going to the local opera or fringe festival."

What is Albertan culture?

The Calgary Stampede
Paul Brandt
Klondike Days (Capital X now or whatever)

Niles said...

Riiiiight. That's why the Jubilee auditoriums are always so damn empty and the Rosebud Theater isn't a draw and Nickelback never acknowledges Hanna and Corb Lund has no connection to punk music and certainly isn't planning a big indie-country festival and Vegrevillians like giant eggs but not the touring Ukranian dance troupes and there aren't Metis fiddlers and dancers, aboriginal drummers, new operas and plays don't get premiered and...

Maybe I just can't tell if Anonymous is being sarcastic.

This is not to say this province couldn't do a LOT more investing in the intangibles of our past present and future. Nor do I think the Stampede and KD are not Albertan culture too. They're our biggest annual 'county fairs' and all sorts of entertainment events get held under their umbrellas. They're perfect venues for showing off local talent in all sorts of areas.

But then, I was shocked at the complete lack of doing anything celebratory by the Alberta 'government' for our centenary. It was almost like they were banging on the wall yelling at Saskatchewan to turn down the music and threatening to call the cops in for having too good a time. Talk about yer 'bah humbug'.