Friend or Foe? Renowned author and columnist Robert Fulford examined the question during an address to the 2008 Civitas National Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He explained that dependency on government funding has turned many of Canada’s artists into cultural bureaucrats, the exact opposite of what they seek.

” Inevitably bureaucracy sees virtue in what has already been done and has already been said. Bureaucracy dislikes improvisation, freedom of thought and surprise and other factors that make life worth living, which happen to be the same elements that make the arts worth our attention,” Fulford told Civitas members.

Culture’s friends, culture’s enemies, a Commentary based on Fulford’s remarks, looks at the most recent ‘new’ Canadian television programmes and points out there is a common thread through all.

“In all of these programs, public spirited Canadians who have only their country as their goal, the betterment of their country, public spirited Canadians opposed vile, greedy Americans. Perhaps each program could justify itself, in some terms. But when seen together in one season, as I saw them this year, they demonstrated that the CBC has fallen into an anti-American, a rigidly anti-American pattern.

And that’s no accident. The theme of discussion whenever the health of our culture is the subject, the theme of the subject, the permanent tone of the subject of the discussion is defensive and defensive against the Americans.

This tone was set 57 years ago by the report of the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences chaired by Vincent Massey. That document established fear of American influence as the main intellectual framework for cultural politics in Canada. It became the ideology of Canadian cultural politics.”

To read the complete Commentary, based on Fulford’s remarks, click here.