For immediate release
Montreal, Monday, June 2, 2020 - Minister Nathalie Roy presented the economic recovery plan for the cultural community at a press briefing yesterday. The Conseil québécois du thêatre (CQT) would like to thank the Ministry of Culture and Communications for these long-awaited announcements and appreciate the outreach expressed to the community.
The CQT welcomes the establishment of additional funds for creation, including for productions adapted to the health context and the enhancement of scholarships for new projects. Festivals will also receive sustained support in order to continue their activities.
While this plan offers interesting avenues for recovery, it does not necessarily address all the concerns of the theatre community and exposes some serious shortcomings. First of all, it does not specify the contextual information in the allocation of funding between CALQ and SODEC. The CQT therefore hopes that the MCC will quickly clarify the distribution of funds between the various Sociétés d’etats. Secondly, the CQT regrets the fact that the recovery plan has a consistent ambiguity about contractual arrangements established before the pandemic. This particular issue is key to be able to give producers and presenters the opportunity to adapt alternative programming to the current health requirements. .
In addition, knowing that for many artists, the Canadian Emergency Benefit plan will stop in July, the CQT is concerned about the lack of recognition of the status for artists and writers. In fact, part of the $6.5 million is dedicated to an emergency fund whose management by the Union of Artists and the Guild of Musicians of Quebec effectively excludes a large number of practitioners (English-speaking artists, authors, designers, technicians ,etc.). The CQT wishes to reiterate the critical importance of providing financial support to small organizations as well as self-employed workers both of whom represent the fragile links in the chain of the living arts ecosystem. Without them, it is impossible to effectively revive the economic activity of the sector.
Finally, the recovery plan shows a significant rejection of the losses caused by the crisis. Without support other than an advance of liquidity to compensate for losses and fiscal damage resulting from the health crisis, it will be difficult to relaunch the theatre sector, even with stimulus measures for "innovative" projects. These measures are very focused on digital production as the vector of creation. However, this digital aspect is disturbing for the theatre community, as the living arts are practiced through the physical encounter with the public. Moreover, the recovery plan still does not provide any support for theatre operators whose current business model cannot cope with a restricted participation of the public.
Therefore, this plan sets a first phase for artistic and economic recovery of the cultural sector. The CQT expects the government to uphold its measures assiduously and reminds the government of CQT’s willingness to work with government teams to enable us all to surmount this crisis quickly and efficiently.
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Conseil québécois du théâtre