We received this message by way of the Candrama list serve on behalf of Bruce Barton, University of Toronto, CM
The Arts and Election 2008: A Call for Educator and Student Engagement
The upcoming federal election on October 14th will be an important one for many aspects of Canadian society. Health care, the environment, and the economy are major areas of focus. Another topic of considerable controversy -- if limited general public attention -- is the range of changes the current government is making in terms of arts funding. A variety of programs, primarily related to the touring and showcasing of Canadian artists abroad, are being cut or significantly reduced. Both the nature of the cuts and the ways they are being implemented have proven to be the subjects of often heated debate.
It is not the place of educators or educational institutions to endorse specific political parties or politicians, nor to impose particular ideological positions on students. It is entirely fitting, however, for educators to encourage their students to be informed and socially engaged. The undersigned wish to encourage all citizens of voting age to explore the information available regarding these policy changes as they relate to the place and potential of the arts in Canadian society, to consider it carefully, to discuss the issues with others and ask related questions of their local candidates, and to express their position on this topic, among the full range of relevant issues, through their constitutional right to vote on October 14.
The short of it for Canadian arts educators: encourage your students to get the facts, think about them, talk them up, and vote.
Bruce Barton, Toronto
Pil Hansen, Toronto
Stephen Johnson, Toronto
Ric Knowles, Toronto
D.D. Kugler, Vancouver
Glen Nichols, Moncton
Shelley Scott, Lethbridge
Guillermo Verdecchia, Toronto
Jerry Wasserman, Vancouver