Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Adult Assembly Required: Austerity Measures

I happened to catch this article on the CBC website this evening as I was finishing up some articles. Italian art director burns contemporary pieces in protest to government cutbacks/inaction read the title and I just had to read on. The article is not very long and in very general terms explains how one art director by the name of Antonio Manfredi, has begun a campaign of protest against the Italian government due to new austerity measures that will see deep cuts in the arts and heritage sector of the country.

The article can be viewed by clicking here.

Destroyed in protest!


I could not help but begin to think about the differences between Canada and Italy during this recession. Both countries have been hit by the recession, however we here in Canada have been fortunate to have weathered the recession much better than our Italian counter parts. While unemployment is quite high here at 7.2%, Italy is hurting as a country as they sit at 9.3%.

The government has issued some tough austerity measures that will essentially see overall deep cuts for many social programs and government budgets. This has essentially rallied various social groups and thousands of individuals to continually protest as a result, with Mr. Manfredi being the most recent example.



Now, I understand if many of you counter these actions with the logic of...Why does he not just sell the paintings and accrue income that way?

Yes, he could sell his paintings to private dealers and probably make a fine penny off of it to, but why should he? When we begin talking about items such as art and music, should we not work hard as a collective society to ensure these pieces are available for all to see and enjoy? is it not possible to designate certain items as immune to the market, when they are meant to be shared and used as both education and entertainment?

The main issue I feel arising between both the Italian government and Canadian government is how many of these proposed austerity measures are directly impacting the masses whom benefit the most from them. Granted, this should seem like common knowledge to you as the media and various groups have continued to be vocal about the important of government funding and the services that benefit from them.

I want you to ask yourself how the proposed budget cuts here in Canada will affect your daily life? Will you have to wait longer in a line now, will your local library close down due to a lack of funding, will you have to wait an additional 4 weeks to get specific government designated documentation? More importantly, how will your local economy feel these cuts?



The Italians are fortunate in one way over us here in Canada, because while their art sector is suffering, they can have faith that a quick solution will come with the right amount of pressure. What we in Canada risk losing however is much more important than art. Our cuts have ensured that different sectors of our government will now have less man power than they had before. What does this mean? Well, it means that Canada's airline inspectors are going to be even more short handed than they were before, which is really bad when before they were complaining about not having enough staff. More importantly, our environment will now be at risk, because Stephen Harper has decided based on the collective wisdom of his party and his corporate buddies that our environmental regulations processes are to long and bothersome, causing us to lose money with the time they require to be completed. As a result, these times will be shortened and or removed overall, allowing a corporation to begin a project quicker and government coffers to fill up as a result. Where will this money go from there? Who knows, but given the history of the party in power, most likely back to the corporations via a tax break!




Overall, we have to ask ourselves if these austerity measures are both fair and justified? Why should the masses suffer for a recession that was created by the few? Who are the few, they are the elected representatives we put in power and they are the few individuals we trusted with our finances who began thinking solely for themselves instead of us.

All of this really represents some important food for thought with regards to how our country is organized and who is running the whole thing.

Can we really say that our current elected officials are acting in the professional manner that they should be? Are adults truly running our complex country with complex issues or do we have a child at the wheel trying to jam a circle block into triangle spaces?

Until next time!


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