Tuesday, May 22, 2007

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER HARPER:

by Alvin Abram

I am not apolitical. In my 71 years I have voted for both the Conservative and Liberal Party. I prefer to invest my loyalty in the man rather than the party. This rant is not intended to demean or belittle you but to make you aware that you are losing me as a supporter.

I am grateful as a Jew that you have opted to stand and be counted when Israel is concerned. But as much as that has warmed me to Conservative Party policy it is not enough to make me vote for you. I am a Canadian and, as a Canadian, I am aware of what the Conservative policy regarding support for Arts is doing to Canada.

It sucks.

I am a writer. I have never asked for a grant. I have never been funded. I write because to me writing is a passion and financial compensation is not as important for me as for those who are much younger than I am. I chose to establish my business first and to set my desire to write on the back burner. Today I have the financial resources to do what I please without looking for assistance. But I am not the norm.

Canadians are different.

What sets us apart from our good neighbours to the south is our attitude. We feel and see things differently. Our history has been different and our outlook on life has a different spin. These differences do not show up in our speech or our clothes but in our Arts, specifically in our writings. Our writers set us apart.

What drives this great country of ours is diversity. One of the ways we celebrate that diversity is through our writings. The colour of our skin, the traditions of our heritage and our own or our parent’s birthplace, the memories of times long past: all are depicted in our writing.

It is pure Canadian.

Writing is not and has never been a lucrative source of revenue for those who are devoted to putting pen to paper. Ten percent of our writers earn ninety percent of all money earned from writing. Help is needed. Actually, financial help is necessary so that those who scrimp by on an average of $10,000 a year income can continue to practice their craft.

You are making an investment.

Not everything has a quick return. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be a Margaret Attwood. By denying the resources to assist those in need to perpetuate all that is Canada is to send out the wrong message. It is not frugal. It is not good business. It is a waste of human resources. And, Mr. Harper, it is a crime that history will never forgive you for committing.

1 comment:

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song said...

I so agree, Alvin! More needs to be done in the way of financial support to ensure that Canada's writing culture is nurtured, instead of ignored or put on the backburner. Our writing is a valuable part of our heritage and it is something that we, as authors, leave behind for future generations.

By denying authors the resources needed, our government is denying our children a heritage rich in Canadian literature. I'd like to see one of our politians try to live off of $10,000 a year.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif