17 septembre 2021
Par Anne Trudel - Présidente du conseil québécois du théâtre
The federal election campaign was triggered as the country was entering its fourth wave of infection related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cultural sector was one of the hardest hit and is still struggling to catch its breath. Yet, cultural issues are absent from the electoral debate as is often the case.
Although the various parties have been offered a number of forums to present their plans for the future of culture, it is clear that there is little interest in this essential component of community strength. Apart from the issues concerning the broadcasting law and the taxation of web giants, few cultural subjects are referred to in electoral platforms or debates, and discussions about the live arts are almost totally absent.
The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to bringing clarity to the instability and extreme fragility that characterize the social net that is supposed to support all workers involved in the creative process. Furthermore, the Conseil québécois du théâtre (CQT) argues that these events must constitute a turning point with regard to issues of equity, representation, gender equality, rights and diversity.
The implementation of support programs such as the Canadian Emergency Benefit (CEB) and the Canadian Economic Recovery Benefit (CERB) will have offered avenues of reflection that would make it possible to consider the improvement of the socio-economic conditions of individuals who make up the foundation and the heart of the cultural sector.
Furthermore, it must be noted that this election campaign is taking place just a few weeks after the release of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in which many scientists are urging public decision-makers to make the necessary efforts to slow down the progression of global warming. Artists are sensitive to these issues and the theatre community is reflecting on its own practices and ways of doing things to ensure that they are both more ecological and equitable, and that they point to a better future.
Such a collective project requires serious commitment and investment from our governments, and we are convinced that injecting funds into the performing arts ecosystem will help make the social landscape of the future grow.
SOCIAL SAFETY NET The Conseil québécois du théâtre supports the implementation of a better social safety net for all cultural workers. Whether it is by extending employment insurance coverage to the diverse realities of self-employed and non-standard workers or by implementing a guaranteed minimum income, we must begin to lay the groundwork for much needed reform in this particular area.
INVESTMENTS The Conseil québécois du théâtre supports the continuation of emergency funding programs as long as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are felt. Given the current situation and the economic insecurity that still characterize the realities of the live arts, emergency subsidies such as the Canada Emergency Rental Grant (CERG), the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) must be maintained at least until the summer of 2022. Furthermore, it is critical that the funds disbursed through the Canada Council for the Arts and Canadian Heritage programs supporting dissemination and all stages of creation during the crisis period, be sustained to provide long-term support to the sector. Furthermore, these investments must always consider indexation and new economic realities.
CULTURAL SPACES The Conseil québécois du théâtre supports geographic fairness so that theatrical works can circulate throughout the province and allow for optimal use of the regions. Cultural infrastructures have a vital role to play in promoting better conditions for creation, presentation and conservation. What's more, they are in themselves places of welcome, meetings and distribution. Their funding through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund (CCSF) must consider the renovation, improvement and construction needs of the theatre sector in all regions of Quebec.
Anne Trudel, President of the Conseil québécois du théâtre