Harper government, Cultural Enemy

OTTAWA, March 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Stephen Harper's ongoing cuts to Canada's cultural institutions make him cultural enemy number one, John Gordon says.

The PSAC National President - whose members work at the National Gallery of Canada and other cultural institutions across Canada - denounced the federal government's recent budget cuts.

"These budgets cuts are not sound financial decisions," Gordon said. "By reducing the budget of the NGC, this government is destroying a long cultural tradition and depriving Canadians of services they are entitled to receive".

Gordon pointed out that the NGC has seen its budget reduced almost every year Harper has been in power.

Worse still, the union expects the gallery will be part of the strategic review announced in the February federal budget. This means another five per cent cut.

This week the gallery announced it would eliminate 27 positions and abandon several services to the public.

Programming casualties of the cuts include:

    -   Education programs such as teacher workshops and the hands-on art
        studio programs;

    -   Adult programs such as Sunday Painters, Art Odyssey, Enquiring Eye;

    -   Accessibility programs (Stimulating the Senses, Master Workshops,
        White Cane Week).

Fewer programs mean fewer visitors and less revenue, Gordon added.

In September, the gallery eliminated guided tours - one of its most popular programs - in a move that cost 11 people their jobs.

PSAC National Component President Daniel Kinsella said Canadians will pay a high price for the government's decision to starve its cultural institutions.

"It takes decades for such an institution to reach its full cultural and social potential," Kinsella said. "With the financial decisions imposed by the Harper government, the NGC may never get there."


For further information: For further information: Alain Cossette, (613) 293-9210

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