Silent ghosts to haunt Saskatoon, Regina


Halloween is set to arrive a day early in Saskatoon and Regina, as members of the arts community will don white sheets Tuesday night and gear up for a silent haunting to protest cuts to arts and culture.

“Silent ghosts draped in white sheets symbolize the blank canvas, the shroud of death, and profound loss for Canadian society caused by short-sighted cuts to arts funding,” said Sarah Abbott, an associate professor of media production and studies at the University of Regina, in a statement.

“We wanted to create a visual statement to reflect what an absence of art, culture and diversity would look and feel like… eerie, vacant, depressing,” she added.

According to the Saskatoon Arts Alliance’s report tracking arts expenditures between 2004 and 2012, the provincial government’s budgets for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 show slashes in funding for arts and culture to the tune of $3 million, despite an increase in government spending of $500 million.

Chief among recent cuts for filmmakers in the province is the elimination of the Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit.

The cut was announced in late March by Premier Brad Wall, who claimed that the tax incentive was a drain on the province’s financial coffers, allowing outside producers to make money in the province, and then leave without the government seeing a cent of the profits.

Industry leaders, meanwhile, argued that the incentive was a proven success, having lured more than $600 million in productions on an investment of $100 million, since its introduction in 1998.

Since then, the government and the film industry have been at an impasse in negotiations, with the provincial government seeking out a non-refundable tax credit as a solution and the industry claiming it “just won’t work.”

Silent hauntings will also take place on the streets of Vancouver and Victoria. A protest in Toronto, however, was postponed due to the storms caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Photo via Ghosts of the Arts