Well, you almost wouldn’t believe it. We all knew Harper was being divisive and trying estrange the Canadian public from artists, but who knew how backhanded his strategy would be. First, he tried to set up arts and culture producers, from dance companies to music groups to writers to painters, as whining, free-loading lefties taking the Canadian taxpayer for a ride. Then he tried to create a series of bogeymen, fringe artists whose art might scare some people into thinking Canada was being misrepresented on the world stage. And now he’s come right out and said that “ordinary Canadians” aren’t interested in the arts, calling the entire nigh $50billion dollar a year industry a “niche interest”. How insulting. Since when did Canadians let someone like Harper define what “ordinary” is. Who’s sitting in the ivory tower making pronouncements on the people below, Stephen? What amazes me is that more people aren’t incensed that Harper thinks he knows what goes on in their living rooms. Ask the people in your lives (parents, siblings, friends) who might not consider themselves artists or cultural workers: Is this true? Do you not listen to music? Do you not watch movies? TV? What’s on your walls? What do you not read? (Did you know non-fiction is part of “the arts”?) Ask them: When was the last time you saw me get dressed up and party at a gala? And then ask them, Do you think I’m not ‘ordinary people’?” Then tell them that what’s happening is they’re being used as pawns by a manipulative politician who has designed this who conflict in order to get votes by pitting Canadians against Canadians. Everyone from famous actors to Margaret Atwood are getting involved, but the real people who need to be spoken to aren’t reading those articles. They need to hear from you, ordinary Canadians, about how culture touches all our lives.