After seeing arts funding jostle for the spotlight during the election campaign, the arts community says it will continue to monitor cultural decisions from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's strengthened minority government.
The federal Conservatives' elimination of several arts programs in the summer sparked an outcry across the country the past few weeks. Members of the arts and cultural community are keen for all the federal party leaders to keep the issue of arts funding front and centre.
"Every [opposition] leader, every party spoke out against what had happened," Peter Honeywell, head of Ottawa's Council for the Arts, told CBC News.
"It would be fascinating to see the Conservatives come out with another cut. I don't believe it will happen. It better not happen."
Richard Hardacre, national president of performers' union ACTRA, said Wednesday that "without a doubt, culture played a central role in this election."
In a statement, he added that he hoped Harper "heard the concerns of the thousands of Canadians who spoke up during the campaign and will make culture a priority in the coming months."
Josée Verner, who served as the federal culture minister before the election and was re-elected in her Louis-Saint-Laurent riding in Quebec City, said her party had "listened to a lot of issues during the past few weeks."
The government will now take time to "relisten" and revisit issues before deciding how to proceed, she said.
"I think we were clear at the beginning of the campaign we didn't expect a majority government," Verner said Tuesday night. "But at the end of the day, the decision has been made by the population and we will respect it."
During the campaign, the arts and culture community staged events and made its voice heard in many ways, included blistering columns by the likes of Margaret Atwood in national newspapers; high-profile rallies packed with familiar faces from the Canadian music, television and film communities; viral videos about art funding cuts traded on YouTube or opinion pieces shared via e-mail; and even politically themed theatre nights held across Canada.
Art historian Rupert Allen, who took in election coverage at an Ottawa pub Tuesday night, said he hopes the community's demonstrations over the past few weeks made an impact.
"I think we've tried to show that, you know, there are enough people to make a difference," Allen said.
However, comedian and actor Brad MacNeil questions whether cultural funding was truly a priority for the general voting public when compared to other issues, like the economy.
"I kind of feel like the arts really did a great job advertising to the arts [community]," the Ottawa-based MacNeil said.
"Although it's been on the forefront for the artistic people, I don't see it reflecting in the people who actually have been voting, because the Conservatives made no bones that they are going to make cuts to the arts and people have voted for them."