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Battle between province and feds heating up

The war of words between the feds and the province is finally getting interesting.

I received a press release at 3:55 pm, from Loyola Hearn's office, containing the most juicy information I've seen on this subject yet.

It's now 5:21 pm, and CBC Radio On the Go just aired a voice clip from Premier Danny Williams, bragging about "stepping up" to help out the arts in this province, in the wake of funding cuts at the national level. The information contained in the 3:55 release now 80 minutes old was not mentioned. (And it may be that the program, once started, was unaware of the release and unable to change course.)

I do hope it gets mentioned on Here & Now, and in the other media as well. But just in case, here's the full text of Hearn's release:

Premier's Support for the Arts Stops At Mount Pearl

ABC Campaign Costs Mount Pearl Theatre Proposal

The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister Responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador and MP for St. John's South-Mount Pearl, today issued the following statement:

It's interesting to hear the Premier say today that he was simply "stepping up to the plate" to fund arts initiatives within the province, and to highlight his own commitment to the arts.

Residents of Mount Pearl may find this message a little bit confusing. The original proposal for Mount Pearl's Lifestyle Centre included a local theatre. With federal and municipal money on the table, the Williams government responded that they would not fund the project if the federal government was involved.

In the end, the Lifestyle Centre became a victim of the ABC campaign, and will proceed without a theatre.

Perhaps the Premier could have stepped up to the plate for Mount Pearl and supported local arts at that time.

Instead of accepting millions of federal dollars which would have had a positive impact on the local arts community, the Premier decided petty politics was more important.

That's A Bit Confusing. That's ABC.

UPDATE: I have just been advised that the Hearn release was referenced in the CBC news at 5:00 pm.

FURTHER UPDATE; I just tuned in to the 6:00 pm news on CBC Radio, and the above release was NOT mentioned. The news peg in this release is the fact that the residents of Mount Pearl have lost a performing arts theatre, because the province was too proud to accept federal support... or so says Hearn's office. That seems like news to me.

It's moments later, and the Mount Pearl item wasn't referenced on Here & Now. However, it hasn't been added to The Telegram or VOCM web sites either. Looks like the old adage is true - if you want your information to be ignored, release it on a Friday afternoon.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: What I thought was new information in the release above is not new at all. This story has been covered weeks ago in The Telegram and probably elsewhere. The release threw me off with its reference to a theatre, which was not mentioned in any previous coverage that I have seen. This point in itself is newsworthy, because of its linkage to the arts, as is Hearn's statement that, "With federal and municipal money on the table, the Williams government responded that they would not fund the project if the federal government was involved. In the end, the Lifestyle Centre became a victim of the ABC campaign, and will proceed without a theatre." I'm just surprised that this volley didn't make it into yesterday's coverage.

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  • Chris
    July 27, 2010 - 14:53

    I was wondering when the Mt. Pearl story would appear. It had kind of slipped under the radar.

    Williams is all for "stepping up" now in light of federal cutbacks but he wouldn't support the Centre in Mt. Pearl because it involved federal money? So much for Danny's statement today that the Harper government has "blatant disregard for the arts".

    Of course, Harper and the federal conservatives were wrong to cancel the arts funding in the first place. It means a lot to a province with such a diverse and talented arts community. So Hearn should get off that high horse.

    It's early. An election hasn't even been called so we can only expect more of this. Neither side looks good and unfortunately, we are the ones caught in the middle.