Canadian Festivals Coalition position concerning the federal government's funding program

    MONTREAL, June 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The federal government's funding program
to support local arts and heritage festivals is proving to be extremely slow
and not particularly generous.
    The Canadian Festivals Coalition regrets Canadian Heritage's considerable
slowness in assessing applications for funding and, in the few cases where
responses have been received, it is offended by the small amounts being
    We note first of all that the department was unable to award any of the
$30 million in funding that it announced as part of the March 2007 budget in
time for the 2007 editions of our various festivals and events. Heritage
Minister Josée Verner did not provide details of the program or its criteria
until the fall of 2007. Organizers subsequently filed their applications in
time for a January 2008 deadline, but with the intensive summer season nearly
upon us, the majority of them are still waiting for an answer. Despite many
calls and pressure brought to bear on the Department, it is becoming
increasingly risky for organizers to plan their season.
    In addition, the funding amounts, when confirmed, are extremely
disappointing in many cases. We are seeing sums of $4,000 or $5,000 granted to
well-known organizations with excellent reputations. Some organizers have also
told us that they plan to decline their funding because of the many
administrative requirements they are being asked to respect. The cost of
visibility and of preparing reports can be greater than the amounts being
    At the rate things are going, we cannot understand how the government can
possibly spend the amounts appropriated, in addition to the total amounts not
awarded in 2007.
    We call upon the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Ms. Verner, to
demonstrate firm leadership, all across Canada, on the issue of the festival
funding program. Our member organizations make strong contributions to
Canada's reputation and economic development, while providing a host of
diverse activities enjoyed by all members of the public. In the wake of the
loss of funding from the tobacco companies, and the sponsorship scandal, it is
high time the federal government took real action, by providing true financial
support instead of simply announcing funding.

For further information:

For further information: Luc Fournier, Spokesperson, Canadian Festivals
Coalition, (418) 570-1297

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