Thursday Tidbits

Posted on June 18, 2020 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment

 

Supporting the arts

 

The short- term effects of Covid-19 are everywhere. The entire country (world) was shut down for months. People were thrown out of work, schools were closed, and the economy ground to a halt. Almost everyone except essential workers like health care workers, service sector employees, and in our province of Nova Scotia, liquor store employees, were encouraged to stay home. (See my P.S. at the bottom of the page) Governments opened up the taps out of necessity, providing emergency funding to individuals and businesses to keep the economy afloat.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died worldwide.

I rarely engage in social or political commentary in this space for obvious reasons. I’m a chicken! The few times that I have delved into shark infested waters, I have occasionally surfaced missing a limb or two.

One of the Canadian government’s support programs is called the CERB – the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. It has provided an $8,000 benefit ($2,000×4 months) for people who qualify. It has been a crucial form of income for millions of Canadians thrown out of work during the pandemic. It has also become a lightning rod as it appears that many people who were not entitled to the money, have taken advantage of the program. Others have criticized the plan as being a disincentive for people to work.

Acerbic is defined as” language or actions which are hostile or sharp”. I believe that there is a new definition: a CERB ic – someone who is opposed to government subsidies.

It’s hard to pinpoint any one sector of the economy that has been hit harder than another, but few can argue that those making their living in the entertainment industry are amongst those people. Artists, musicians, dancers, comedians, and actors have always had a tough gig. Making a living in good times can be precarious at best. This is nothing new. For centuries, the artistic community has struggled for survival.

It can be argued that a community, a province, or a country is defined by its culture. In our part of the world, music is as important as oxygen. Live theatre, dance and art define who we are. They keep our history alive and relevant.

Right now, it appears that this might be one of the last sectors of the economy to get back to any semblance of normalcy. It is hard to imagine a pub packed with enthusiastic patrons singing Barrett’s Privateers and yelling “sociable”. Health experts are even warning people not to sing as this activity can spread droplets. Hard to make a living as a musician if singing is verboten! Ditto for concerts, plays and other cultural events where the public meets in close proximity.

Many countries have stepped up to the plate, recognizing the immense importance of this sector of the economy. New Zealand, which in the eyes of many, has handled Covid-19 as well as any in the world, is showing leadership when it comes to supporting those in the arts community with robust funding and supports. https://www.creativenz.govt.nz/

It would appear that our Prime Minister was eavesdropping on me as I wrote this piece. Two days ago, he announced that the CERB was being extended for at least another two months. There are many people, like musicians who simply can’t find other work and need this support until conditions improve.

I hope all levels of government will continue to support the arts community during these most unusual times.

That’s the tune I’m singing today.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. I was listening to “Q” on CBC radio yesterday morning. Tom Power was interviewing a professional wrestler with WWE. It was in the morning. I wasn’t drinking or trying experimental drugs. The wrestler informed the host that WWE has been deemed an “essential service” in Florida during the pandemic. This is the end of civilization as we know it.

 

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Comments

One Response to Thursday Tidbits

  1. Louise Dineen says:

    FLORIDA is the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it…

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