by Ottawa Fringe
November 12, 2008
As you know, the City of Ottawa staff have presented a budget to the Council that calls for 42% reduction in arts funding and 100% elimination of festival funding for 2009. Obviously, for anyone who believes in the value of the arts â€“ ALL the arts including theatre, music, dance, the literary and visual arts, media arts, heritage, and festivals – this is NOT acceptable. No other sector is being treated so callously. In fact, the cultural sector is being asked to contribute over $4 million in savings â€“ more than any other single sector.
We have met with Councillor Diane Holmes and sought her advice. She again recommends that we engage our audiences, our boards, our volunteers, and our business contacts to write letters to their councillors to tell them that the proposed cuts are unacceptable and to remind them, as we did in 2004:
My Ottawa (still) includes culture!
It is very important that councillors receive mail that includes a return address: itâ€™s very important that they know who the mail is coming from!
I have attached a list of all the Councillors and the Mayor below and I am forwarding a â€œMessageâ€ that was created at Ottawa Festivals. You can cut and paste the email directly,
you can simply write and say that you do NOT support the 100% elimination of funding for festivals and the 42% reduction of funding for the arts and you want that money reinstated before the budget is passed.
This is really very important. If we do not get these budget items amended, the consequences of losing 100% of our funding allocation are dire. I know that everybody is busy but PLEASE can you take just a few minutes and register your concern with your Councillor and with the Mayor. This action will not be overturned unless there is a great outcry from this cityâ€™s taxpayers â€“ you and me included.
There is an opportunity to speak at City Hall (instructions attached) on Dec. 2 or 3 if you want to be part of a public delegation. To book a time, you have only to phone and make arrangements.
But the most important thing is to send letters into City Hall. Please send this message to anyone you think would act on this information. Since the budget vote will take place very soon (Dec 4 or 5), we havenâ€™t got a moment to lose!
Thank you very much everyone. I know we can have an impact on this decision and we can restore the funding to the arts, heritage, and festivals sector.
Message from Ottawa Festivals:
It is time to take action. As the City of Ottawa proposes to cut all funding to festivals, special events and fairs, and to reduce arts and heritage funding by 42%, we must make our individual and collective voices heard, â€œthe cuts proposed by the City of Ottawa to arts, festivals and heritage programs and organizations are unacceptableâ€.
We must work collectively with our partner organizations, supporters, sponsors, volunteers, arts and cultural groups, participants and audience members to contact their Wardâ€™s Councillor and the Mayor to get our message through loud and clear â€“ Our Ottawa still includes Culture!
A Sector United
Today (Monday, November 10, 2008), a meeting was held with representatives from festival, arts and heritage organizations in attendance. It was agreed that we will move forward together with a strong, united voice; that we are not willing to let the City split up cuts as line items on their budget sheet, essentially dividing us; and that we are only willing to discuss budget implications to the entire culture portfolio.
Our united voice will focus on three points:
1. any cuts to festivals, arts and heritage programs and organizations are unacceptable;
2. any proposed increases to funding already committed should be followed-through; and
3. that the City of Ottawa consider a budgeting mechanism so that this does not happen again.
Ottawa Festivals Will Take Action on Your Behalf
Ottawa Festivals and our partner organizations will be taking action on behalf of the entire sector and our respective memberships throughout the coming weeks. We will be opening discussions with key stakeholders and we will be mounting a media campaign.
We Need Your Voice Too!
Attend a Public Consultation
Make your voice heard during the 2009 draft budget public consultations. A list of dates and instructions is available on the City of Ottawa website. http://www.ottawa.ca/city_hall/budget/budget_2009/draft_public_consut_en.html
Isnâ€™t it ironic in light of these cuts, that Ottawa was just featured in an article in the Globe and Mail called â€œThe Festival Effect â€, that highlighted the positive economic and social impact of events and festivals.
It is time to take action. Time to speak with a united voice. Our Ottawa still includes Culture!
We will keep you updated as we move through this turbulent time.
To register, contact the City of Ottawa at 613-580-2424, ext.12487. For the session, please provide a copy of your presentation, preferably in electronic format, to [email protected] .
LETTERS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE FOLLOWING AND SHOULD INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND POSTAL CODE!
As of Nov. 6, 2008
City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1
Mayor Larry Oâ€™Brien
Councillor Georges BÃ©dard
Ward 12 – Rideau-Vanier
Councillor Michel Bellemare
Ward 11 – Beacon Hill-Cyrville
Councillor Rainer Bloess
Ward 2 – Innes
Councillor Glenn Brooks
Ward 21 â€“ Rideau-Goulbourn
Councillor Rick Chiarelli
Ward 8 – College
Councillor Alex Cullen
Ward 7 – Bay
Councillor Diane Deans
Ward 10 – Gloucester-Southgate
Councillor Steve Desroches
Ward 22 – Gloucester-South Nepean
Councillor Clive Doucet
Ward 17 – Capital
Councillor Eli El-Chantiry
Ward 5 – West Carleton-March
Councillor Peggy Feltmate
Ward 23 – Kanata South
Councillor Jan Harder
Ward 3 – Barrhaven
Councillor Diane Holmes
Ward 14 – Somerset
Councillor Peter Hume
Ward 18 – Alta Vista
Councillor Gord Hunter
Ward 9 – Knoxdale-Merivale
Councillor Rob Jellett
Ward 19 – Cumberland
Councillor Christine Leadman
Ward 15 – Kitchissippi
Councillor Jacques Legendre
Ward 13 – Rideau-Rockcliffe
Councillor Maria McRae
Ward 16 – River
Councillor Bob Monette
Ward 1 – OrlÃ©ans
Councillor Shad Qadri
Ward 6 â€“ Stittsville-Kanata West
Councillor Doug Thompson
Ward 20 – Osgoode
Councillor Marianne Wilkinson
Ward 4 – Kanata North
Catherine O’Grady, Executive Producer
Ottawa International Jazz Festival
61A York St, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 5T2