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This election campaign's least talked-about issue

The economy, corruption and questions of national unity have dominated headlines during this election campaign. But culture? Barely a mention.

Caroline Roy of Influence Communication has been monitoring coverage during this election. She observes that only one per cent of TV, radio, print and Web the coverage has been about culture.

"Its one of the least-covered themes in the media," says Roy. "In fact, we can't find another theme that got less coverage."

Questions of culture "absent from the debate"

Sébastien Barangé writes a blog about arts and business for Les Affaires. He bemoans the lack of coverage about culture in a recent entry, "Une election sans culture". (An Election Without Culture)

Barangé points out that in the televised debates, Québec Solidaire's Françoise David was the only party leader to mention culture in her opening remarks.

The political leaders "know they won't win or lose the election based on culture," explains Barangé.

He says some leaders may be taking the arts and cultural community for granted. Many prominent artists usually vote for the Parti Quebecois even though the party, in Barangés opinion, hasn't proposed many ambitious projects for this election.

But it many not be just the fault of leaders, he says. The PQ does have some proposals specific to culture, but  "the day Pauline Marois decided to present that in front of Cinema Beaubien in Rosemont, the journalists only asked questions about the referendum and Quebec citizenship. No questions about arts and culture. That's sad."

"We talked a lot about arts and culture during the two past federal elections," says Barangé.

In fact, some argue that cuts to funding of arts programs in Quebec cost Stephen Harper a majority in the 2008 federal election.

Listen to an interview with Sébastien Barangé:

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Other priorities

Coalition Avenir Québec candidate Claire Samson says culture is the "center of what Quebec identity is all about".

But Samson, who says she will be the next Minister of Culture if the CAQ wins the election, has a theory on why hardly anyone is talking about culture right now.

"I think in this particular election, the national preoccupations and priorities of quebecers have taken a lot of place."

She says issues like health, education, corruption, economy, and debt are major concerns for Quebecers. "I think it is normal that the media puts so much attention on these issues."

"It is sad," says incumbent Culture Minister, Liberal Christine St-Pierre of the lack discussion on arts and culture. "Maybe its because we did very good things in the past and other parties didn't find it interesting to challenge us."

Where the parties stand on culture

Liberal Party of Quebec

Listen to incumbent Culture Minister Christine St-Pierre:

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Coalition Avenir Québec

Listen to Claire Samson, candidate in Iberville

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Québec Solidaire

Listen to president Françoise David, candidate in Gouin

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Option Nationale

Listen to Simon-Pierre Bélanger, candidate in Viau

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Parti Québecois

Listen to Yves-Francois Blanchet, candidate in Drummond

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