Wake Up Mr. Harper!



    TORONTO, April 13 /CNW/ - In conjunction with other arts groups, The
Writers' Union of Canada is holding an 'Awakening' in Ottawa, on April 16, to
open the eyes of the Harper government to the cultural and economic
contribution the arts make to Canada.
    The Union, along with writers, filmmakers, playwrights, visual artists
and performers, is holding a press conference in the Centre Block pressroom on
Parliament Hill at 1:30 pm, followed by an 'Awakening' with Ron Brown, chair
of the Writers' Union of Canada; Joysanne Sidimus, a former principal dancer
with the National Ballet of Canada; R.H. Thomson, an award winning actor;
Larry Hill, an up-and-coming young novelist; Austin Clarke and Susan Swan, two
of Canada's most loved authors and many more.
    "The 'Awakening' will show the Harper government that not only do the
arts tell Canadians who we are as a sovereign nation - they also boost our
economy. For example, in 2002 cultural industries contributed five billion
more to our Gross Domestic Product than oil and gas, and $20 million more than
forestry," said Ron Brown, chair of the Union.
    "Canada's cultural health depends upon the constant flow and consumption
of art and artistic ideas," said Deborah Windsor, executive director for the
Union. "The arts, like our lakes and rivers, are a vital natural resource."
    "Younger writers are the ones who will suffer most from Harper's
$11.8 million cut to cultural programs abroad, ending a thirty-year tradition
of the Canadian government supporting its artists and writers with foreign
distribution of films and foreign publications of their work," explained Union
vice chair Susan Swan.
    "A country's literature is its heart, its quiet voice given room to
speak," added Vincent Lam, 2006 Giller Winner.

    The Writers' Union of Canada is our country's national organization
representing professional authors of books. Founded in 1973, the Union is
dedicated to fostering writing in Canada, and promoting the rights, freedoms,
and economic well being of all writers. For more information, please visit
www.writersunion.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Deborah Windsor, Executive Director, The
Writers' Union of Canada, (416) 703-8982 Ext. 221, dwindsor@writersunion.ca

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WRITERS' UNION OF CANADA

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