The government funded program, PromArt, which granted millions in taxpayers’ dollars to Canadian artists to promote Canadian culture abroad, was cancelled Friday by the federal Conservative government because it was sponsoring “left-wing” and radical ideals .According to the Toronto Star, Anne Howland, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson, addressed the canned program.
“Certainly we felt some of the groups were not necessarily ones we thought Canadians would agree were the best choices to be representing them internationally,” she said.
Howland gave an example of one Toronto based group named Holy F—.
“I don’t even want to say it (their name) on the phone,” she said. “Holy F—, that was one that was flagged.”
In light of a recent move to cut spending, the National Post reported that once senior Tories caught word that taxpayers’ money was supporting “groups that would raise the eyebrows of any typical Canadian,” it was only a matter of time before the program was shut down.
“I think there’s a reasonable expectation by taxpayers that they won’t fund the world travel of wealthy rock stars, ideological activists or fringe and alternative groups,” the anonymous source said.
One such wealthy activist to receive a grant in the past was Gwynne Dyer, who used the money to give talks in Cuba and was described by Conservative talking points as “a left-wing columnist and author who has plenty of money to travel on his own.”
The Conservative memo also mentioned the North South Institute, whose members were given $18,000 to attend a conference in Cuba. The institute was referred to as “a left-wing and anti-globalization think-tank,” and the memo asked, “Why are we paying for these people to attend anti-Western conferences in Cuba?”