On April 1, 2016, Melanie Joly, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, spoke to the 19th Annual Canadian Arts Summit at the Banff Centre about why Canadian Heritage has never been more important in creating a foundation for a creative economy. These are excerpts from the webcast
Heritage has never been so strategic in our government because of what is going on in our economy and our society. We were elected on an agenda to create growth within our economy and to develop the right context to do so. How do we create that? That is a tough question. We can do it through increasing population or we can do it by creating innovation within society. We have to have the right ecosystem to do that.
On creating the ecosystem for the creative economy
Although we can work for years on innovation policy, there are people who are working in the field of creativity every day. Making sure we create the right ecosystem is to start by looking at who are the people who are actively participating in creating that ecosystem and making sure we invest in the creative people of Canada. The arts and culture world and the players are the fauna and flora of that ecosystem. That is why it is so important to invest in the arts and culture world because it will have an important impact on all other sectors of our society and our economy. It would influence our engineers, our architects, and our other great entrepreneurs to make sure we create the right foundation for the creative economy we are fostering now and for the future.
On investment in arts and culture
We all know that investing in arts and culture is how we make sure we have a resilient society toward the different challenges we are facing and that investing in arts and culture is the best way to ensure social cohesion within Canada and within our society. That is why we invested 1.9 billion dollars which is the most important investment in thirty years in the arts and culture. We are the only country in the world investing so much in arts and culture. This investment is historic and we will feel the impact of that investment over the next five years.
On why heritage is so strategic
Why heritage is so strategic is that we also know there are huge challenges when it comes to how people are consuming information, and entertainment, and books, and music, and film because of technological changes.
The biggest challenge that the arts and culture, and we as a society will go through in terms of our identities and our cultures is the digital shift. This has already had a significant impact on the information and media world and the music world, and we need to create a new model that will support Canadian content in a digital era because the model we now have was developed before the internet when there was only radio and television. And as we create that new model we can also work on an export strategy to help our content creators and our great artists have access to other markets.
This is the big challenge we will be working on at Heritage and we will be launching consultations on how to create a new model that will support Canadian content in a digital era.
We need a new model because the model we now have was developed before the internet when there was only radio and television. And when we have that new model, how can we also work on an export strategy to help our content creators and our great artists have access to other markets.
That will be the big challenge we will be working on this year and also on the 150th anniversary of Canada in 2017
On Canada 150
There are some initiatives announced of who we will be partnering with but there are a lot of decisions to be made yet. And we haven’t made any decisions about projects that are more community or province-based rather than pan-Canadian. We will be working on making sure there is good representation throughout Canada and good support to arts and culture organizations in that context.
There is $200 million to support four important themes – the environment, youth, inclusion and diversity, and indigenous reconciliation. We have 80 million for pan-Canadian projects and $100 million for community projects
On cultural infrastructure
Two things are important related to cultural infrastructure projects. The first is to know that cultural infrastructure projects have now been included in the Ministry of Infrastructure.
Also in the budget is a new cultural infrastructure fund of $168 million which will be within Heritage that we will also be looking at some different cultural projects.
It will be important to work with your municipal and provincial governments to make sure cultural infrastructure projects are prioritized.
On doing things differently
We also need to do things differently and we are working on decentralizing decision making, on multi annual funding, and on finding ways to get the information we need to know on how we can make things work better so we can have a greater impact.
On negotiating the digital shift
We are interested in exploring the entire impact of the digital shift, not only on our public broadcaster, but on all our different sectors including the performing arts. The digital shift is moving very fast and the impact will be so profound that if we leave the market as it is right now, we will have to deal with a lot of negative effects.
Technology is moving so fast that for example in the music industry it is not only about downloading music, now we are talking about streaming, and how can we discover Canadian content, and how we can discover great musicians and music groups. We need to have a holistic vision and point of view and we have to look at all the levers.
On taking a leadership role
We are actively working on this and we can take a leadership role in the world right now. There are now two countries that are great content exporters now, – the United States and India. A lot of my counterparts around the world are looking at one another and saying how do we to deal with this and will be looking at what we are doing here in terms of the broadcasting ecosystem and all the entertainment sector.
We will be looking at how we can support the different sectors, including the performing arts, in helping with the digital shift.
On investing in our children
We believe in the importance of educating our children and making them aware of the importance of arts and culture. Education is a provincial power so we will be supporting educational programs for different organizations through our funding of the Canada Council. We hope the example we set in investing in arts and culture will have an influence on our provinces to invest more.
On creating a cultural export strategy
I will be working with the Minister of International Trade on developing a cultural export strategy to support Canadian content on the world stage and also to have a strong economic impact. We have $35 million to support cultural exports this year and next, and our investment for year three to five will be the result of public consultation and the new model we will be developing. We are inspiring ourselves with what is being done in the rest of the world to showcase and export the best of arts and culture.
On connecting the Canadian diaspora
We also want to link it our cultural export strategy to developing a greater Canadian diaspora and creating greater ties with that diaspora, and we will be exploring how we can use our great arts and culture sector to help create connections with that diaspora, and how we can benefit from these relationships to increase the investment in Canada. We would love to launch this in the context of our 150th anniversary in 2017.
On investing in our indigenous cultures
With have invested $8.4 billion dollars in indigenous infrastructure and half of that money will go to reconstructing the educational system for indigenous people and we will be looking into all the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
As for Heritage, we are looking into better supporting indigenous languages and to ensuring we have more of a pan program and point of view when it comes to supporting indigenous culture. A lot of the funding for the Canada Council will be to support indigenous artists and organizations but also respecting their own way, their own governance and their own point of view. We will also be working with CBC, Radio Canada, and the NFB in making sure the great heritage of our different indigenous nations are well preserved and showcased.
We are taking a cross program and cross government approach. For example, I am in charge of inclusion, diversity and multiculturalism and I was involved in working with Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Patty Hajdu, Minister of Status and Women in the missing and murdered indigenous women inquiry.
For us it was a way of working together to ensure the programs we have at Heritage are also helping to tackle the difficult questions, including the systemic violence and systemic prejudice we see.
On the Canada 150 creative challenge
In 1967 the Montreal Expo was a life changing moment. Some say it was the last great year of Canada. So for the 150th Anniversary Project we are looking for strong symbols
We are looking for strong ideas for the Canada 150 Project in 2017 that are so innovative that we just have to support the project.
Talking about national reconciliation for indigenous people what could be a project that really changes our perception, and really helps the relationship, or even heals the social psyche? These are the sort of questions we are looking into.
On creating a legacy
If we bring the same question to cultural infrastructure, what we are looking for is how can we build the new cultural infrastructure of the 21st century? How can we counter gentrification? How can we have hubs where we could have a co-working space which could at the same time be an incubator? How can there be better partnerships between organizations rather than having competing interests? How can we have better collaboration?
These are the criteria we are looking into for the Canada 150 Fund and the Cultural Infrastructure Fund.
In the end, what we are looking for is what is going to be the legacy? And how can we make sure that legacy is positive and transformative?
Canadian Heritage and its portfolio organizations play a vital role in the cultural, civic and economic life of Canadians. Arts, culture and heritage represent $54.6 billion in the Canadian economy and more than 630,000 jobs in sectors such as film and video, broadcasting, music, publishing, archives, performing arts, heritage institutions, festivals and celebrations.
The Canadian Arts Summit
The Canadian Arts Summit is a unique national leadership forum, coordinated through a partnership between Business for the Arts and The Banff Centre. It brings together the chief executives, artistic directors, and board chairs of Canada’s largest 50 not-for-profit cultural institutions: symphony orchestras, theatres, opera and ballet companies, as well as heritage and art museums — primarily those with budgets over $5 million.
The Summit is predicated upon the belief that these influential leaders — volunteers, artists, and managers — can, by working together, develop the strengths required to support Canadian artistic aspirations. The first principle behind the Summit is that it is a gathering of leaders, the outcome of which is shaped by the participants. For that reason, the Summit has become, over its first 16 years, not just a weekend event in the spring, but an ongoing network of arts leaders working together, through the Steering Committee, throughout the year
The Canadian Arts Summit
The Banff Centre
Thousands of artists, leaders, and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs here every year. Through multi-disciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible.
The Banff Centre adds to Canada’s and the world’s cultural repertoire by commissioning, supporting, and producing new creative works. The Centre develops multidimensional artists for the international stage in an artistically rich learning environment. The Banff Centre’s leadership programs equip people who want to change the world with the skills to do so.
Moving into the future the Centre will disseminate the art and ideas developed in Banff using new initiatives in digital, web, radio, and broadcast media.
The Banff Centre