September 12, 2008 16:15 ET

Harper's Comments on Foreign Ownership, Culture Cuts Alarm Performers

Conservative plans will kill cultural industries, says ACTRA

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 12, 2008) - ACTRA says Stephen Harper's plans to relax foreign ownership and cuts to culture funding are culturally and economically irresponsible.

"Canada's cultural industries indirectly contributes $85 billion, and over 1 million jobs to the Canadian economy. To put an industry that plays such a vital role in Canada's economy at risk is fiscally irresponsible," said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA's National Executive Director.

Today Harper announced that he would relax foreign ownership rules and only review deals greater than $1 billion.

"Mr. Harper's call to relax foreign ownership rules could allow U.S. companies to scoop up Canadian broadcasters and result in even less commitment to Canadian programming," stated Waddell. "We have seen what has happened to Canada's manufacturing industry as plants have been bought-out by foreign interests. Workers' jobs disappear as production moves elsewhere. It will be no different if our broadcasters are allowed to be bought out by the Americans. We'll no longer have any Canadian production and Canadian stories will be completely squeezed off the air."

Harper's announcement on foreign ownership comes on the heels of more than $50 million in cuts to arts and culture funding, including investments in the film and TV industry.

"Harper has declared war on workers in our cultural industries. His more than $50 million in cuts are a disaster for an entertainment industry that is already struggling. His cuts are economically irresponsible and scare off investors. At a time when our economy is suffering Harper is killing off more Canadian jobs." added Waddell.

During the federal election, ACTRA is urging Canadians to vote for candidates who will commit to protecting and investing in Canada's cultural industries.

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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