Friday, February 09, 2007

Two days behind, but...


Better late than never.

On Wednesday Senator Serge Joyal wrote an opinion piece in La Presse that basically listed off the gazillion and a half ways that Toronto has, in his eyes, passed Montreal as the cultural center of Canada.

Absolutely every one of them is based on amounts of money. Large amounts of money.

Allow me to point out a couple of other things as well.

1. Comparing the Royal Ontario Museum to the Musée des beaux arts de Montréal is like comparing a cantelope and a head of lettuce (aren't all fruits and vegetables good for you?). Comparing the Art Gallery of Ontario to the Musée d’Art Contemporain is like comparing a Ford Crown Victoria to a Smart Car (four wheels, right?). Comparing the Canadian Centre for Architecture to the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art is like comparing a building to a teapot. If you're going to make comparisons make valid comparisons, please.

2. The other comparisons in his 'chart' are equally bad. How about something easy, like the Orchestre Symphonique du Montreal to the Toronto Syphony Orchestra?

3. Back in the article, he gets is knickers in a knot over the $565 million spent building new buildings and additions for cultural institutions in Toronto. The honorable M. Joyal some how forgets the 'new' library we have here, the new arts building at Concordia, the 'new' ex-centris complex that got built down the street from here, and probably a couple of other buildings that I forgot about.

4. Using Telus & Bell is like shooting fish in a barrel. What about the Cirque du Soleil and Stephen Jarislowsky? Also if every company is supposed to give the same amount of money to all cultural institutions aren't we veering very close to the dreaded 'socialist model?'

5. Skipping down a little bit, the Opera de Montreal is horrible. I'd much rather see them go out of business than throw money at them.

I could go on, but I won't 'cuz it is late. However, instead of whining about the supposed injustice of Toronto sucking up all the cash for culture, I'd strongly recommend that the honorable M. Joyal come up with some suggestions on how to fix what he thinks is the problem. Personally, if government got out of the culture business (as it has in Ontario) then private money would (and I GUARANTEE it would) rush in, faster than he could blink. Right now, everyone is complaining that the Spectrum is closing. The guys who run it first went to the government looking for a handout, that tells you all you need to know about culture in Montreal.

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