Standing Committee on Finance Report and the Arts
The Standing Committee on Finance presented last week a report
on its pan-Canadian consultations. The Canadian Conference of the Arts was the first of five cultural organizations* to appear before the Committee. This report comprises 53 proposals targeting four areas: federal finances, businesses, communities and individuals.
In the introduction, the Committee describes arts and culture as one of the factors contributing to the strength of a community. Additionally, three pages out of this 77-page report are dedicated to arts and culture, thereby placing the sector on par with the principal players in the Canadian economy. This chapter presents a very good summary of the presentations made by witnesses but, unfortunately, the Committee's report did not take up any of the recommendations put forward by the CCA and other witnesses
In its minority report, the Official Opposition (NDP) dedicates only one paragraph to culture.
Strengthen Arts and Culture: According to the Conference Board of Canada, for every $1 of real value added GDP produced by Canada's cultural industries, roughly $1.84 is added to the overall real GDP. The Federal government should establish a tax credit program to stimulate production of the arts and maintain funding of CBC/Radio-Canada at the 2010 level ($1.1 billion) and index it annually to inflation .
The Liberal Party of Canada makes no mention of arts or culture in its supplementary opinion.
We have examined certain of the report's recommendations in order to identify possible actions.
In the section on tax reform, the report includes a paragraph stating the CCA's request for income averaging but omits any such recommendation. However, it might be possible to relaunch the debate if the following recommendation is retained:
Another proposal is worthy of attention: "that the federal government continue to open up new markets to Canadian goods and services by working toward the completion of trading agreements with foreign governments, and also working to eliminate trade barriers involving the US-Canada border." Unfortunately, the Committee is mute on the CCA's proposal to dedicate, as soon as possible, $40 million to the development of internal and foreign markets for our artists, creators and cultural industries.
That the federal government convene an expert panel to review, modernize and simplify the federal corporate tax system
The CCA will follow the progress of this last proposal that could relate to the opening of the telecommunications or publishing markets to foreign ownership. It is certain that the government maintains its desire to undertake free-trade negotiations with several countries and regions of the world, with the European Union and Asia-Pacific region being particularly targeted.