In Yesterday’s Toronto Sun, an article entitled PMO Frowns on Terror Play, the paper continued its campaign against the Summerworks Festival for daring to produce a play about one of the Toronto 18. Â The article quotes a representative from the Prime Minister’s Office as saying “”We are extremely disappointed that public money is being used to fund plays that glorify terrorism”. Â Of course, no one, not even the star or the representative, know if the play “glorifies terrorism” since they haven’t seen the play. Â This is just bad journalism. This is like a movie reviewer posting a review about a movie they haven’t seen. Â Of course, The Sun doesn’t care about journalistic ethics here, all they care about is restarting their old campaign against using public funds for art. Â The article also tries to make it sound like people in the arts community are afraid (due to the comment from the PMO) that arts funding will be cut as a result.
The reaction from the PMO has some in the arts community nervous that Frid’s play will become an excuse for more cuts to arts groups by the Conservative government,Â “I would hate to see them use this play as an excuse to pull funding for anyone,” said a Toronto theatre worker who asked for anonymity for fear of reprisal by the Conservatives.
A Toronto theatre worker who asked for anonymity because of possible Conservative reprisal? Quite frankly, I doubt this person exists. Â No name given. Â A quote that is actually in line with what The Sun wants: Â a cut in funding as a result of this? Â The only reprisal that an artist might fear is having an arts grant application declined as a result of their comment. Â But since the Canada Council for the Arts is an arms length agency, which means that the PM (or any other government official) does not directly influence its decisions, there is no real reprisal an individual “theatre worker” might fear. Â Again: bad journalism.
The real hero of the piece? Â TD Bank, who refused to consider pulling their sponsorship, saying:
“The intention of our sponsorship of Summerworks is to encourage and support young artists,” said Matthew Cram, a TD spokesman.Â TD Bank is kicking in $5,000 to help cover Summerworks’ bills. The Royal Bank, whose corporate headquarters is also across the street from one of Adbdelhaleem’s targets, is also helping fund the festival.