In recent years, Alberta has been the darling of Canada’s economy due to investments in the oil sands. Canadians were migrating to Calgary and Edmonton in droves to get it on high payment oil jobs. Three quarters later Canada’s economy is in a bit of a slump…well a recession. The Harper government is looking to family benefit cheques and infrastructure spending to stimulate the economy but the Globe and Mail’s Edgar Cowan believes we should look elsewhere. In his article Canada’s creative industries can lead the economic charge he says our creative industries can be one way to improve Canada’s long-term competitiveness.
Our creative industries, with the arts and cultural sector as its cynosure, could be an ideal gateway to a long-term strategy improving our competitiveness and our capacity for innovation, leading a more certain, sustainable future economy.
Canada’s base creative industries are hugely diverse – advertising, architecture, craft, design, fashion, television, information technology, software, publishing, museums, galleries, libraries, plus the performing and visual arts – and they have never been stronger. Our video game developers create some of the world’s bestselling titles. Our video animators populate Hollywood’s leading animation studios. And our architectural firms create some of the world’s highest-profile projects.
Any reduction in public investment in these industries will seriously undermine our creative and cultural ecosystems, creating a downward spiral in which fewer creative risks are taken, resulting in less innovation and declining returns, to the detriment of our economic future.
Although there are some governments, particularly at the municipal level, that recognize the economic potential of the arts and culture, this isn’t a widespread view. Film tax credits are being cut. Some musicians are leaving Canada for other jurisdictions where they can receive funding to produce their albums.
Meanwhile, this past March at the Prime Time in Ottawa conference, David Brown, Country Lead for YouTube Canada spoke about the big demand for Canadian content around the world. In fact, with recording artists like Drake, Justin Beiber, and Deadmau5 dominating their genres and Canada being home to some of the top video game companies in the world, now is the ideal time for the government to invest in Canada’s creative industries.
Click here to read the full article by Egar Cowan.