Sunday, March 29, 2009

Picking and choosing winners in the cultural industry

Canmedia, the publisher of REPORT Magazine, "Western Canada's Conservative Voice," has received a bit more in the way of funding in the past two years than the $27K reported Friday by David Akin and as ably blogged by Big City Lib. Courtesy of arts blogger simpleposie, we learn that the conservative magazine also received funding of $28,769 in March 2007 and $26,156.00 in March 2008. Looks like every March, the Conservatives come through with the annual stipend for the voice of Western Canada Conservatives.

Further, Canmedia, the publisher of REPORT, also received $142,020.00 in September 2008 for book publishing. That's about $224,000 in total to this publisher over the last two years.

The news of this funding for a Conservative publication (news release on Friday, "The Government of Canada Supports REPORT Magazine,") must have felt like a poke in the eye for those small Canadian literary publications facing the latest squeeze from Conservatives. Namely, those with less than 5,000 in paid circulation that are being put at risk by newly announced restrictions on their future funding. The Conservatives are squeezing 56 literary publications who will no longer qualify under the federal grant program:
Through SALM in 2008/2009, Canadian Heritage distributed $1-million of economic stimulus to 56 arts and literary magazines, an amount dwarfed by the billions to be justly lavished on General Motors and Chrysler. Yet, even with such a desperate infusion of cash, there's no guarantee either auto maker will survive. In contrast, I feel secure in saying that no cultural magazine will fail; if anything, Mr. Moore's support at present levels (less than 0.1 per cent of what two of the Big Three have gotten) will keep us stable, our employees working (and off welfare), our suppliers (designers, printers, distributors) in the black, and our contributors (taxpayers all) in the pink.
$1 million to allows 56 publications to muddle through is apparently too much, a number of them will lose key portions of their funding under the Conservatives' new rules.
...arts advocates say that while small publishers could still qualify for some grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the new funding restrictions would cripple or kill a host of venerable titles that, collectively, are seen as the seedbed of the country's literary imagination.
But $224,000 to a friendly Conservative publisher, not a problem.

With the backdrop of the CBC cuts, looks like more picking and choosing of winners by the Conservative government in the cultural industry.