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Reader Editorial: Arts Under Attack

Earlier this week we shot footage of a massive rally for the arts in Halifax, in which we recorded several “speakers corner” style testimonials.  One attendee in particular however opted to put his words in print.  We would love to get more feedback like this – post your thoughts in the comments below.

Here are the words of Mr. Roger Strange, a local drummer:


I have been a member of the Canadian AF of M in one local or another since I was fourteen. I am now 68 and still going very strong.  I have been an educator of Music; I have been a player in foreign countries as a Canadian performing artist, and I have been proud of it, knowing that at least my Government and Prime minister felt I was of value. Now I find that the present Prime Minister and his Cabinet see fit to negate my whole life as a Canadian performer as not really of use to my country.

How on Earth could I ever vote for such an individual or his party?

The Canadian Artistic community IS the voice of Canada and its varied culture in all ways. It is the expression of the people of Canada. Whether in words, pictures, film, hand crafts, music, architecture or drama. The works we produce are uniquely Canadian in all their expression. We have our own touch to everything we do.

For Stephen Harper to negate our value to Canada is probably the most single glaring evidence that he is really not ready to represent the citizens of our beautiful country in all its rainbow colors of culture and expression. His statements cover almost every Canadian in the Land. In every family across our country there is at least one individual at the very least, who is in one way or another of an artistic bent. In most there are many more. Most are active in their creativity at least 40% of their daily lives.

I’m sure that Mr. Harper has fine Canadian art on the wall, listens to Canadian music and uses in one form or another Canadian designed items. Also I am sure he has seen films created by Canadians and acted by Canadians with Canadian musician sound tracks. All coming from the creative hearts and brains of the very people he has, at this time, negated as of no real value and not worthy of his governance support.

If Mr. Harper was truly politically smart and also ready to support ALL Canadians in their efforts to be part of the Canadian expression, he would retract his statements immediately, replace the funds he has pulled form the arts community and basically become a Prime Minister to all Canadians, not just narrow political agendas.

Prime Ministers are supposed to represent all Canadians in all walks of life and give them all equal respect because these are his people who have entrusted the path of their country in all ways to him.

Mr. Harper is a consummate political general and moves very fast on a narrow front at his opponents. However this time he has, in his bid to garner votes literally run over what is the heart of Canada. The people who give voice to the expression that is Canada! In fact he has made a glaring tactical and moral error that has hurt countless Canadians in his bid for re-election.

I myself have never availed myself of any Canadian Government grants or financial assistance to do my craft and art. But I have played with those who have, and they have worked very hard and are extremely talented and have much to add to the culture that is Canada. However, I do feel that I have been literally attacked by my own Prime Minister as of no real value to my country. I am as Canadian as he is. And what I’ve done in and for Canada had nothing to do with seeking Power for the sake of it.

Roger H. D. Strange


Member A.F of M. Local 571

Halifax. N.S.



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