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New funding promised for the Canadian Space Agency, which is seeking two new Canadian astronauts to join Steve MacLean, shown here just prior to blasting off in 2006. (Associated Press) ((Terry Renna/Associated Press))

The past year might have been filled with talk of curtains closing and arts funding being taken away, but the 2009 federal budget would aim to keep Canada's creative juices flowing through tough economic times.

Much of the year's arts funding, according to the budget, would start at the community level, with a focus on cultural and heritage institutions.

Local theatres, libraries and museums would receive $60 million over two years to improve infrastructure; community newspapers and Canadian magazines would get $30 million over the same period.

The Canada New Media Fund and the Canadian Television Fund would also get increased funding. The New Media Fund would receive $28.6 million (and $14.3 million in following years) and the CTF would get $200 million.

The Canada New Media Fund is used to encourage the creation of interactive digital media productions. The Canadian Television Fund contributes to the production of Canadian programs.

Those creative minds more inclined toward science than the arts would also see some financial encouragement.

The Canadian Space Agency would get $110 million over three years to support the development of space technology, including advanced robotics.

To house the research, some cash would also go to infrastructure:

  • $2 billion to repair and expand the facilities of post-secondary institutions.
  • $750 million for the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, for research infrastructure.
  • $50 million to the Institute of Quantum Computing in Waterloo, Ont., for a new facility
  • $87 million over two years to maintain or upgrade Arctic research facilities.
  • $250 million over two years for the maintenance of federal laboratories.

Eyes on the North

The government's plan to support an Arctic research station in the North aims to strengthen Canada's presence there, but also to promote economic and social development in those areas.

Through that funding, the government would also be looking to better understand Canada's northern communities. The research station would be used as a hub for scientific activity centred on the Arctic environment.

To boost tourism, the government proposes to kick in $40 million over two years to help the Canadian Tourism Commission market Vancouver's 2010 Winter Olympics and the Paralympic Games. Another $100 million over the next two years would go to festivals and events that promote tourism.

Another $12 million would be put into promoting international cruise ship tourism along the St. Lawrence and Saguenay rivers each year, and $75 million would go to Canada’s parks over two years.

Money would also go towards keeping all of those thoughts, projects and people connected.

The budget promises $500 million for encouraging the use of electronic health records and $225 million to help extend broadband coverage to more communities.