The 2020-2021 provincial budget was announced last week and offered some much needed good news for artists. Overall, the culture and communications portfolio will receive an additional $1.4 billion in spending, which represents a 12.6% increase compared to 2019-2020 and a jump from 1.22% to 1.31% of total budgetary spending. Of that new spending, an investment of $456.9 million over five years, including $90 million in the first year, will go towards the promotion of Quebec’s cultural specificity. This investment will be divided between three priorities: opening up, creating and exporting Quebec culture ($372 million); supporting cultural and museum institutions ($35 million); and protecting, promoting and enhancing the French language ($50 million). Measures were also announced in response to the current difficulties faced by the music industry as it adapts to the new digital landscape, including an increase of $19.5 million over five years to expand tax credits for sound recordings and show production.

Among Quebec’s arts and culture funding bodies, Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC) will see a significant increase in its budget from $75 million to $129 million, representing a 73% increase compared to 2019-2020. Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) will receive an additional $10 million (8%), including a $1.4 million boost to its grant programs. A total of $310.6 million will be spent by jointly by CALQ, SODEC and the ministère de la Culture et des Communications over five years, including $71.1 million as of 2020-2021, specifically to promote the export of Quebec culture and to enhance its international profile. The government will also invest $34.8 million over five years throughout all regions of the province to create a new cultural infrastructure by repurposing heritage buildings for cultural activities.

In short, these sums represent a significant investment and provide cause for optimism that arts and culture in Quebec will be considered a priority for the Legault government moving forward.

 

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ELAN is an official minority language organization within a country that recognizes two languages as official. ELAN is located in Tiohtiak:ke, the original name for Montreal in Kanien’kéha, the language of the Mohawk—also known as Mooniyang, which is the Anishinaabeg name given to the city by the Algonquin. While we are based in this city, our projects have also taken place in many regions across Quebec.

We acknowledge the colonial origin of English and French in Canada, and recognize that both languages benefit from official status throughout the land. The province that we know as Quebec is an amalgamation of the traditional territories of the Innu and Inuit nations, Algonquian nations, as well as the Mohawk nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Kanien’kéha and Anishinaabeg are but two of the original languages of this province; Atikamekw, Cree, Inuktitut, and Innu-aimun are also among the many Indigenous languages spoken across Quebec as majority languages, all well before French and English.

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