Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Harper digs in on arts funding cuts

The headline says it all: Grant-hungry artists out of touch with Canadians: Harper

SASKATOON - Stephen Harper took a swipe Tuesday at members of the arts community in Quebec who have opposed his party's funding cuts, arguing that ordinary Canadians aren't impressed by artists who complain about government funding at swanky galas.

"I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see a gala of a bunch of people at a rich gala . . . all subsidized by the taxpayers - claiming their subsidies aren't high enough when they know those subsidies have gone up - I'm not sure that's something that resonates with ordinary people," Harper told reporters.

...Before the election, the Harper government implemented more than $40 million in cuts to arts and culture programs. Harper defended his party's record Tuesday, noting once again that overall funding for the Department of Canadian Heritage and associated agencies increased under his watch.

He argued that most Canadians, including Quebecers, understand some cuts are necessary in a slumping economy.

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