Lara’s Thoughts on the Plight of Canadian Orchestras

Although I may not be exceedingly politically minded, it seems to me as though there might exist a reasonably simple solution to the financial quagmire many Canadian orchestras are plopping around in these days…..

THE PROBLEM: (a quick synopsis)
For many years, the government of Canada has massively supported orchestras and the arts in general. (They still do help to a much higher degree than the NEA, for example.) As a result, our orchestras are largely funded by federal money, much like they are in Germany or Scandinavia, and thus the higher income tax (well, for the orchestras and for other reasons, like nationalized healthcare and all that good stuff).

In any case, it would seem as though in the past few years, the federal government has begun the turn. Understandable to a degree, but until now one of the fantastic and “different” things about our big but little country has always been its tremendous support of culture.

This decline, of late, has manifested itself in some of the longest strikes known to musiciankind : the 11 week strike of Toronto Symphony, the 5 week strike of Montreal, the several week strike (and presently rather odd situation) in Edmonton, and more. As far as I know, none of these strikes came to a mutually satisfactory end. Basically musicians had to accept the offer or starve, more or less.

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