Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday Linkage: Puffins, Canuck Versions of Stars ask pols to fess up on Arts Funding

A 'lil bit of linkage on the election and arts funding front:
  • As anyone who hasn't been living under a rock likely knows, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper was recently forced to retract a ridiculous attack ad on opposition politician Stephane Dion--not because it was a ridiculous attack ad, per se, but because it was attacking by making a CGI puffin poop on Dion's shoulder. Well, the ad sparked cries of "WTF?" across Canada, but particularly so in Newfoundland, where puffins are the provincial bird. Said Newfoundland premier Danny Williams, who hates Stephen Harper's guts even though they are both Conservative, "Leave our provincial bird out of [your] nasty, disgusting, personal attack ads... The people of this province didn't appreciate being used by you for our votes the last time and our birds don't particularly like being used by you, either." Williams then provided evidence of same--the mascot of the defunct St. John's Maple Leafs hockey team, Buddy the Puffin, walking around the press conference with a large sign reading "ABC"--meaning "[Vote] Anything But Conservative". I love it when politics turns into absurd performance art documentation! via CBC
  •  For the record, I went on a puffin tour in Newfoundland last month and no avian political preferences seem to have been observed... though much cuteness was. That was before the election call, though.
  • Back to Ontario's version of preening flocks... TIFF! Yesterday in the fest zone, some Canuck culture heavyweights--film director Paul Gross, ballet director Karen Kain, art college director Sara Diamond, filmmaker Atom Egoyan, Caribana chair Joe Halstead and Business for the Arts' Jim Fleck  held a press conference to demand clear policies on the arts from campaigning parties. According to the CBC, panellists tried mightily to point out the connections between economic growth and arts funding. Martin Knelman over at the Star is doubtful many voters will really care about this. The Globe included a juicy tidbit to the effect that Prime Minister Harper still hasn't gotten back to Kain regarding a written plea she sent him to consider rescinding the cuts. And I'm glad to see our own versions of heavyweights chiming in, though, again, to make much of an impact, I think it would be dang helpful to get Michael Cera, Ellen Page, Rachel McAdams, hell, even Bryan Adams on one of these things.
  • Simpleposie continues to post many detailed links, including one that points out, sadly, that our "national culture portal",, is basically kaput following the last 2 years of Harper's slashology. Says the site homepage: would like to thank its visitors for using this cultural portal since 2003. We wish to inform you that has been discontinued since April 1st, 2008. This is a result of a Strategic Review of Government of Canada programs and activities announced in the 2008 Budget. The original program objectives of have been fulfilled and the decision to discontinue the Web portal reflects the changing conditions in the digital and online environment. Right. Because no one uses the Internet anymore to get cultural or other information in their own or other parts of the world, obviously!
  • The Department of Culture has starting posting their own Harper attack ads. One from Darren O'Donnell pleads with 905ers to remember Harper's more bigoted speeches when at the ballot box, while the other focuses on Harper's nonexistent track record on global warming. Both use the tagline "Not him. Not now. Not ever again." Catchy! Plus, it doesn't seem the reputations of any waterfowl were damaged in the making of these ads.
Image of Buddy the pro-literacy, anti-Harper Puffin from

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