CORNWALL Ontario – There are many ways to support the arts. Buy a painting, go to a concert. Buy some merch. A city councilor who actually signed a promise to the Community Action Group wants to have council debate spending $100,000 per year to create an Art Department including staff.
In principal that almost makes sense. In reality, in 2015, as one of the signatories of the CAG tax reduction pact it shows a lack of political understanding and fiscal responsibility. It’s totally left of the hardest core NDP’er.
You simply can’t cut taxes and add to the bottom line.
CAG endorsed Davey Bedard, Todd Bennett, Roland Besner, Pat Clarke, Brock Frost, Mary Ann Hug, Greg Kielec, Rony Macarone, Mark MacDonald, Claude McIntosh, Mike O’Neil, Denis Sabourin, Gary Samler, Geoff Stephenson, Justin Towndale, Stephanie White, Syd Gardiner, David Murphy, Gerald Samson, Denis Carr, and Jamie Gilcig.
Of those endorsed, Frost, Marc MacDonald, McIntosh, Towndale, and Murphy were elected. CAG didn’t do a very good job of getting the word out, but half of the current council signed on the dotted line. Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy did not.
Currently council is about to initiate debate on a budget that rumour has it is pegged at a 5.5% tax hike. (Kilger legal messes are expensive)
The City gives about $100,000 to Aultsville Theatre for no real return. There are no discounted events for city residents and no real advantages for the public. The City gives the Woodhouse Museum even more cash, again with very little return or scrutiny. It also gives the public Library a large amount of money and last year gave approximately $50K to TAG (The Art Gallery). (disclosure, I am on the board of TAG).
In addition a Trillium grant was given to the farcical group that considers themselves an Arts Council and we have a few other groups.
What is this $100K that Mr. Frost wishes to spend supposed to achieve? Does Graham Greer need a new gig? I’m all for the Arts being an artist myself, but personally I’d like to see more money, IF, we’re going to give to the arts, make it to the artists themselves, or venues, and events. I sure as heck would support giving out a series of small grants or making sure that Artists have better support and venues locally than hiring another pencil pusher at City Hall. Why not simply give Kevin Lajoie and Candy Pollard a few more chores so that they can earn their current salaries?
Cornwall has a lot of needs right now. What we do need to retain and attract artists are lower taxes and lower cost services and facilities. We need to stop burning through money without getting results.
I have a hunch council will burn this suggestion down faster than it took Councilor Frost to flee Nicaragua a few years ago.
What do you think dear CFN viewers? Should the city raise taxes 5.5% and add a $100K arts department? You can vote in our poll below.
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