Tom Mulcair pledges to boost funding for the arts, CBC/Radio-Canada

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is pledging more money for arts and culture, including reversing a $115-million cut to CBC/Radio-Canada. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau made similar pledges but Mulcair says he can't be trusted to deliver.

NDP would also loosen rules for artists to secure federal grants

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair announces his platform for arts and culture as a group of Canadian artists and musicians look on in Toronto on Monday. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is pledging to ramp up support for film production and artists if elected on Oct. 19. 

Mulcair said an NDP government would provide $60 million over four years to Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada, the Crown corporation that finances and promotes Canadian films, and the National Film Board. 

"I believe in a Canada that can hear artists' voices," Mulcair said, surrounded by artists including Sarah Harmer, Whitehorse and actor Gordon Pinsent in downtown Toronto.

"As your prime minister, you know I'll be sincerely committed to supporting our artists, creative workers and cultural innovators." 

The NDP said it would also make tax filing fairer and more predictable for artists.

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Artists would also be able to promote their work internationally through the appointment of cultural attaches at Canadian embassies.

And the NDP would create a new $10-million digital content fund to support celebrations of Canada's 150th anniversary in 2017.

The Liberals, by comparison, have promised to double the government's current level of funding to the Council for the Arts bringing the total to $180 million a year. They've also booked an additional $25 million a year for Telefilm and the NFB.

Reversing cuts to CBC

Mulcair also reconfirmed his party's promise from earlier this year to reverse $115 million in cuts made by the Conservative government to the CBC.

"It's more important than ever to share the stories of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We need a strong public broadcaster to carry the voices of Canadians across this vast country," Mulcair said.

"Under a succession of Liberal and Conservative governments, those governments have eroded our public broadcaster. 

Mulcair greets Canadian musicians Sarah Harmer, left, Luke Doucet, from the duo Whitehorse, right, on Monday in Toronto, where he announced an NDP government would offer greater support for the arts and the CBC. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

"I am resolutely determined to repair the damage done by Stephen Harper." 

Mulcair also said he'd intervene to stop the CBC from selling off any of its properties. "I got news for them. Anybody thinking of buying them between now and the election — don't even bother. We won't let it happen." 

But Hubert Lacroix, the president and CEO of CBC, has denied the company is planning a "fire sale" of its buildings. Rather, Lacroix has said that the CBC will consolidate some its operations but only where it makes sense.

"Moving from outdated owned properties into new, modern leased facilities allows us to continue to create quality content, while better managing our expenditures," Lacroix said in a note to employees last month. 

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has also pledged to restore the funding cut to the CBC. But Mulcair said today that Trudeau can't be trusted to get the job done.

"Actions speak louder than words and in the case of the Liberals, their entire past record shows we cannot trust them on that," Mulcair said.

The NDP campaign was in Toronto on Monday following a whirlwind tour of six Conservative ridings in Southwestern Ontario the day before.

With files from The Canadian Press


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