Tory says arts and culture vital to a strong Ontario

    Plan to expand lights, cameras and action vital to celebrating who we
    are, strengthening economy

    TORONTO, June 28 /CNW/ - Progressive Conservative Party Leader John Tory
today announced the PC plan to enhance arts and culture in order to improve
Ontario's economy and quality of life.
    "Our arts and culture policy is founded on a single premise - that arts
and culture are vital to a strong Ontario. The arts matter and investment in
the arts matters," said Tory. "It matters for holding on to who we were, for
celebrating who we are today, and for imagining the kind of province and kind
of people we can be. If we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in a
province where the quality of life is second to none, then the arts matter."
    At a news conference today at the Toronto Film Studio, Tory announced
"Ontario's Arts and Culture - A Time For Action." The plan builds on Tory's
Leadership Matters plan for Ontario and includes a number of measures
including an important change to pay out a significant portion of film and
media tax credits before and during production - not at the end as is
currently the case.
    The plan also provides for three-year funding commitments to arts
institutions and major attractions such as Caribana, the Stratford and Shaw
Festivals, Sunfest in London, the Ottawa Jazz Festival, the new Luminato Arts
Festival and cultural institutions such as the ROM and AGO. Other measures

    -   Introducing legislation to protect child actors;
    -   Prohibiting the sale of advertising in LCBO publications, releasing
        over $12 million in annual advertising dollars to Ontario's
        publishing sector;
    -   Creating the Premier's Council on Arts, Culture, Creative Cities and
    -   Creating an Ontario Arts and Culture Fund to give people an
        opportunity for a voluntary arts contribution on their tax forms;
    -   Providing a number of initiatives to introduce Ontario's youth to the
        arts and culture sector including an Ontario Youth and Culture
        Passport that would allow youth access to cultural institutions
        across the province; and,
    -   Aggressively seek federal support for tax-relief of full-time

    "If we want our arts and culture sectors to be leaders, then government
itself must be a leader," said Tory. "To date, Dalton McGuinty, for all of his
unkept promises, feel-good statements and photo ops, has not outlined any real
commitments for how government can partner with those involved in the arts and
culture to build a better future."
    "Our plan is one based on leadership - the kind of leadership that brings
people together in pursuit of big common goals. The kind of plan that is in
short supply from Mr. McGuinty and his government," said Tory.


                 A Time For Action: Ontario Arts and Culture

    John Tory and the PC Party of Ontario will not promise what can't be
delivered. We will only commit to initiatives that can truthfully be
    John Tory has personally involved himself in fostering arts and culture
in Ontario by serving as Director of the Canadian Art Foundation, as
Vice-Chair of the Canadian Film Centre fundraising campaign, and by supporting
the CanStage Theatre Company where his wife, Barbara Hackett, serves as Vice
Chair of the Board of Directors.
    John Tory and the PC Party of Ontario understand the value of culture to
our youth, our personal well-being and especially to our economy. Unlike
Dalton McGuinty, a John Tory government will keep its word, achieve results
and will implement a series of innovative initiatives that will foster this
important sector. This includes the following initiatives:

    Income Averaging
    We will work with the federal government to provide tax relief to
full-time artists. Failing federal support to implement income averaging, a
John Tory government will work with artists and their representative
organizations to develop a credit program to address the unique income flows
of their profession.

    Protecting Child Actors
    Children with the ability and opportunity to work in the performing arts
professions often have incredibly rewarding and enriching experiences.
However, it is important to remember they are still children, in need of
protection, guidance, accommodation and an understanding work environment. We
will introduce legislation that will accomplish this.

    Changing the Timing of the Film and Media Tax Credits and Review Credits
    We will advance up to 50% of the Film and Media Tax Credit. This will
increase the competitiveness of our film industry significantly.

    Topping up the Ontario Cultural Attraction Fund
    Our commitment to culture includes the understanding that for our
province to possess a creative edge, it requires an ability to both promote
our cultural events beyond local markets and attract traveling international
events to Ontario. The replenishment of this fund will allow for
self-financing cultural events to continue and succeed.

    Ontario Arts Council (OAC) Funding
    To support and grow the work of the OAC, we would protect the current and
future funding commitments (increased funding of $15 million by 2009-10). We
will also ensure the OAC receives 3-year tranche commitments from the
government. Such an investment and funding pledge will ensure the Council has
the ability to continue its valued programs and position the Council for
sustained growth and influence.

    Three-year Commitment Funding for Arts institutions and Major Attractions
    No longer will major cultural institutions or events such as Caribana,
Stratford and Shaw festivals, Sunfest in London, the Ottawa Jazz Festival, the
new Luminato arts festival in Toronto and institutions like the Royal Ontario
Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario and others not have a stable source of
funding to plan their operations.
    These three year commitments will be established through consultation
with cultural organizations to establish core funding needs that will take
into account core cost pressures.

    Prohibit Advertising in the LCBO magazine:
    John Tory believes the Ontario magazine industry has enough competitive
pressure without having to contend with competition from a publication
underwritten by a government-controlled monopoly. A John Tory government would
immediately issue instructions prohibiting the sale of advertising in LCBO
publications, thereby releasing millions in annual advertising dollars to this
important creative sector.

    Ontario Youth and Culture Passport
    The Ontario Youth and Culture Passport Program would enable any youth
under the age of 20 to access cultural institutions of the province such as:
the Royal Ontario Museum, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Royal Botanical Gardens,
Science North, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Ontario Science
Centre, the Grand Theatre in London, the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford
and other important regional arts and cultural institutions around the

    Youth and Culture Ticket Clearing House
    A John Tory government will create a Youth and Culture Ticket Clearing
House. In supportive urban centres across the province, we will establish
clearinghouses to distribute donated tickets to youth who would not otherwise
have access to cultural events. Modeled after a suggestion in the City of
Toronto's 2003 Culture Plan for a Creative City, we realize there are several
cities across Ontario with the cultural density to support such an initiative.

    Voluntary Arts Contribution via Ontario Tax Credit form
    We believe that the donating option should be expanded on income tax
forms to include a new choice, the Ontario Arts and Culture Fund. Similar to
tax form initiatives in California, this fund would collect any gifts and
distribute them among cultural and artistic agencies of Ontario.

    Premier's Council on Arts, Culture and Creative Cities and Towns
    The Council will be comprised of the principals of notable cultural
agencies such as the Ontario Arts Council, and will include representation
from groups such as the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. By bringing
together these groups to advise John Tory as Premier, we will create a more
defined network between the arts and cultural communities and government and
will foster a greater sense of recognition that arts and culture provide
important considerations in the development of public policy.

    Commemorating the War of 1812
    We will provide $2 million to establish a War of 1812 commemorative
commission that will coordinate the celebration and commemoration of this
important moment in Ontario's history. The war touched many communities and
locations; Windsor, London, Ancaster, St. Catharines, Burlington, Kingston and
present day Toronto to name only a few. The aftermath helped lay the
groundwork for the future nation of Canada. Such a commemoration is a rare
cultural event that offers opportunities for tourist and cultural growth
throughout the province and is an even more rare occasion to host and create
an international cultural-tourist event.

For further information:

For further information: Brendan Howe, (416) 325-0412

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