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Canuck budget irks thesps

ACTRA says arts not a priority for conservative gov't

TORONTO — Canada’s largest actors union expressed disappointment in the first budget handed down by the conservative government on Tuesday.

The only mention of the arts in the 302-page document is a C$50 million ($45 million) commitment to Canada Council over two years.

“Different cast, same script,” said ACTRA, complaining that the government continues “denying Canadian culture.”

“Our culture defines us as an independent nation, so it’s troubling that it is barely on this government’s radar,” said ACTRA national executive director Steve Waddell.

Although the previous government had promised a larger increase to its budget, Canada Council spokeswoman Donna Balkan expressed relief at the hike, calling it a vote of confidence in the institution.

Other industryites were relieved that there were no cuts to the arts, as they feared. When it took office, the government laid out five priorities, including tax cuts. The arts were not among them.

The conservative party is thought to be less arts-friendly than its predecessors and has spoken of getting tough with pubcaster CBC.

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