from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Don’t blame us for Tory arts cuts says Toronto band

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 | 4:25 PM ET  CBC News

The bass player with Toronto indie group Holy F— says it’s not right that his band has been held up by the Conservative government as an example of misplaced arts funding.

The Tories cut the PromArt funding stream, which subsidizes international promotional tours of Canadian artists, with one spokesman saying the groups getting the money were not ones the government believes should be representing Canada.

Among the examples cited by Anne Howland, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson — the Toronto indie band Holy F—, which got money in 2007 to help with a tour of the U.K.

“I guess more than anything it’s a little bit annoying that we’ve been made the scapegoat when you consider how much money we receive relative to the budget for the entire program,” Bass player Matt McQuaid said.

The program costs about $4.7 million a year and supports hundreds of different arts groups, from ballet and theatre companies performing overseas to author readings out of country.

“I think our funding comes in at something less than 0.1 per cent of the whole program,” McQuaid told the Q cultural affairs show on Tuesday.

“So all of these other larger groups who need money more than we do to travel abroad — like ballet and symphonies — we become the scapegoat for the cutting in their funding.”

“We’ve been nominated for a Juno award — that’s as mainstream as you get for popular music in Canada,” he said, pointing out that the band’s videos appear on MTV and MuchMusic. “That argument falls flat in our case and from what I’ve read … for a lot of other people as well.” 

Nontheless, Holy F— is on a tour of Germany right now, paying their own way as they have been able to all year — because their growing popularity and an album deal with a record label in the U.K.

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