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Shields speaks out against a guaranteed basic income for artists

Posted on April 20, 2023 by Taber Times

By Ian Croft

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

As part of the House of Commons Routine Proceedings, Hedy Fry, Liberal MP for Vancouver Centre (B.C.) presented the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage titled “Strengthening the Status of the Artist in Canada”. 

In response to this presentation, Martin Shields MP for Bow River, rose in the House to present the Conservatives’ own supplementary report.

“Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the Conservatives’ supplementary report on the impact of the Status of the Artist Act on the working conditions of artists,” said Shields on March 22. “Conservatives recognize the volatility of year-over-year income in the arts and culture industry, but we believe in a free and fair market and would stress that guaranteed basic income should not be considered as a means of earning or supplementing an income in Canada.”

“Canadian artists are world-class. Assuming that the government-granted guaranteed income would assist artists in achieving success is a disservice to the talent, hard work and dedication of so many artists who are striving for and achieving success on their own merit. Canadian artists have, for decades, risen above to achieve worldwide success. We also recognize the rapidly evolving nature of the arts and culture industry in the online sphere and would encourage the government to allow digital creators to flourish, absent of government intrusion into their work. Should a review of the Status of the Artist Act occur, a focus on reducing regulatory and taxation burdens should be a priority.”

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