April 20, 2011 10:30 ET

ACTRA: Performers Urge Canadians to Vote for Culture and Jobs

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 20, 2011) - At a press conference today, performers urged Canadians to vote for candidates who will fight to promote and protect Canadian culture if they are elected in the May 2nd federal election. Culture is not only critical to our national identity it is an important engine of Canada's economy, contributing more than $85 billion to the GDP and 1.1 million jobs.

"The economy and jobs are top-of-mind for most Canadians in this election, so we're asking them to support candidates who will fight for culture and artists," said Ferne Downey, ACTRA National President. "When we're talking about culture we're talking about good jobs."

"We need more MPs in Ottawa who really understand what Canadian culture contributes to our economy and our national identity," said Colin Mochrie. "We're urging Canadians to take a look at what the parties are saying about their plans for our cultural industries before they vote."

ACTRA sent questionnaires to the parties asking them where they stand on issues such as:

  • maintaining restrictions on foreign ownership in telecommunications and broadcasting;
  • making increased, long-term investments in the CMF, Telefilm, CBC, and the NFB;
  • providing fair and equitable tax treatment for artists; and
  • reforming Canada's outdated copyright laws to strengthen the collective licensing mechanisms that professional creators rely on to protect their work and make a living.

The NDP provided the most fulsome and satisfactory answers, followed by the Liberals and the Green Party. The Conservatives have not responded.

"I want to live in a country that cherishes its culture. And that means protecting the sovereignty of our airwaves, updating our copyright laws in a way that respects the creative output of artists, and providing a wide choice of Canadian programming for viewers," stated Fiona Reid.

Also speaking at the press conference were: Heather Allin, ACTRA Toronto President, Raoul Bhaneja (Dresden Files), Nick Campbell (Republic of Doyle), Jim Codrington (The Border), Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint), Wendy Crewson (ReGenesis), Matt Gordon (Rookie Blue), Jayne Eastwood (Little Mosque on the Prairie), Art Hindle (Paradise Falls), Bryn McAuley (Franklin), Mark McKinney (Kids in the Hall: When Death Comes to Town), Colin Mochrie (She's the Mayor), Eric Peterson (Corner Gas), Chris Potter (Heartland), Lisa Ray (Endgame), Fiona Reid (Stoked), Maria Ricossa (Da Kink in My Hair), Rick Roberts (Republic of Doyle), Adamo Ruggiero (Degrassi:TNG), Sudz Sutherland (creator - She's the Mayor).

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 21,000 members across Canada – the foundation of Canada's highly acclaimed professional performing community.

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