(February 24, 2016 – Toronto, ON) This week brought the first inklings of a new Canadian budget and from all accounts Canada’s newly minted Finance Minister Bill Morneau has his work cut out for him. Since balancing the budget is out of the question the issue becomes where to spend and all sorts of different factions have their hands in the air trying to get his attention. Today, ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists), the national union of professional performers working in the English-language added their collective 22,000 voices to the din.
“Our first step is to form a strong and positive relationship with our new government,” said ACTRA National President Ferne Downey. “It is crucial in this time of unprecedented change to set policies to assure the survival and ongoing growth of our industry.”
Downey, pictured on the right, will be supported by some of Canada’s leading performers at a reception on Parliament Hill this evening. Award-winning actor Sarah Gadon (Map to the Stars, Cosmopolis and 11/22/63) will also be there tonight. She previously appeared with ACTRA National Executive Director Stephen Waddell before Canada’s Heritage Committee in May of last year to advocate on behalf of her fellow members.
“Culture is not a frill, it is a major industry based on renewable resources,” said Gadon. “Given the right tools, Canada’s content creators and cultural industries will continue to play a leading role in economic innovation and growth, job creation, and the development of new digital technologies.”
ACTRA lobbyists also include: Benz Antoine (19-2, Rookie Blue); Nigel Bennett (Murdoch Mysteries, Rookie Blue); Ellen David (Brooklyn, This Life); Art Hindle (Paradise Falls, No Deposit); Shannon Kook (Degrassi: the Next Generation, 19-2); Tristan D. Lalla (Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry 2); Huse Madhavji (Saving Hope, Call Me Fitz); Michelle Nolden (Saving Hope, Republic of Doyle); Rick Roberts (This Life, Republic of Doyle) and many others.
ACTRA is asking all MPs and federal parties to support “More Canada on ALL Our Screens — big, small and mobile.” ACTRA’s strategic priorities for this lobby trip include:
– Reinvesting in our cultural institutions: ensure the government delivers on its pre-election commitment to increase funding from cultural institutions that have suffered from cutbacks – the CBC, National Film Board and Telefilm Canada;
– Reviewing broadcast regulation to protect consumers and support Canadian content creation: in a changing media landscape, Canada needs to ensure Internet broadcasters, like Netflix, pay their fair share when it comes to supporting Canadian culture;
– Protecting performers’ intellectual property rights: ensure audiovisual artists are granted the same protections as audio artists when the Copyright Act goes under review in 2017.
ACTRA represents the interests of 22,000 members across the country – the foundation of Canada’s highly-acclaimed professional performing community.