Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Issue No. 44 - Evidence - Meeting of April 26, 2018
OTTAWA, Thursday, April 26, 2018
The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade met this day at 10:30 a.m. to study on the impact and utilization of Canadian culture and arts in Canadian foreign policy and diplomacy, and other related matters.
Senator A. Raynell Andreychuk (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Honourable senators, the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade is called to order. The committee has been authorized by the Senate to study the impact and utilization of Canadian culture and arts in Canadian foreign policy and diplomacy and other related matters.
Under this mandate, the committee is pleased to continue its study today and to hear from the Canadian Arts Coalition. I remind you that a written brief was submitted to the committee early in March.
Before turning to the witnesses and introducing them, I would ask the senators to introduce themselves.
Senator Dawson: Dennis Dawson, from Quebec.
Senator Bovey: Patricia Bovey, Manitoba.
Senator Cormier: René Cormier, from New Brunswick.
Senator Massicotte: Paul Massicotte, from Quebec.
Senator Oh: Victor Oh, Ontario.
Senator Tannas: Scott Tannas, Alberta.
The Chair: I am Raynell Andreychuk from Saskatchewan.
As I indicated, the Canadian Arts Coalition is presenting today. We have Frédéric Julien, Co-chair, Canadian Arts Coalition, and Renuka Bauri, Member of the Canadian Arts Coalition, National Steering Committee and Communications and Advocacy Director for the Canadian Arts Representation. That is a fantastic title, I must say.
We will hear your presentations, and then we would like to turn to questions. Welcome to the committee.
Frédéric Julien, Co-Chair, Canadian Arts Coalition: Thank you, Madam Chair, for giving me the opportunity to appear before the committee on behalf of the Canadian Arts Coalition.
Our opening statement will focus on two themes related to the committee’s study. We will begin by talking about links between cultural diplomacy, matters of national interest and social values. Then, we will talk about national and international frameworks that promote or limit the use of cultural diplomacy. We focused on these themes, because it appeared important to us to bring them to your attention, as they are complementary points of view to testimony heard to date within the framework of this study on cultural diplomacy.
One of the purposes of diplomacy is to advance matters of mutual national interest. For example, for more than 15 years Canada has used diplomacy to establish the protection of the diversity of cultural expressions as a key human endeavour for Canada and its partner nations via the UNESCO.
Whose interests are we talking about? Matters of national interest are so because they are of high importance to the individual citizens living on this land.
We would therefore like to bring to the committee’s attention the role that individual artists and arts organizations can play in the context of cultural diplomacy to advance such matters.
When artists and arts organizations participate in trade missions, a number of outcomes ensue. Quantitative outcomes such as tours, co-productions and other cultural exchanges are expected as the traditional measures of success of trade missions.
Qualitative outcomes in the form of knowledge exchange are, however, too often disregarded. Yet, knowledge exchange naturally happens as one-on-one relationships are established through cultural diplomacy. This knowledge exchange can be left to serendipity, but it can also be the object of deliberate efforts around matters of national interest such as the reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
For example, last year, trade missions in Australia have intentionally brought together artists and arts organizations engaged in reconciliation processes. In addition to international tours of Indigenous artists, the results have been a heightened awareness of Indigenous world views and the exchange of ideas and strategies to take action toward reconciliation.
Of course, not all trade missions can or should be the focus of specific knowledge exchange efforts. However, when values-based knowledge exchange happens around reconciliation or around gender parity and anti-harassment work, for example, one would hope that this can be acknowledged as a very valuable contribution of cultural exchanges to Canada’s diplomacy and foreign affairs.
I will move on to frameworks supporting or restricting cultural diplomacy. Last month, the Canadian Arts Coalition submitted a brief on reciprocity and regulatory frameworks affecting trade and cultural diplomacy. This brief examined three such frameworks: foreign workers regulations, international taxation and intellectual property.
Although Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program has been the subject of negative press coverage, the truth is Canada’s work regulations are quite progressive and have made it easy for Canadian arts companies to invite foreign artists to Canada with the intent of being invited back. Unfortunately, the work regulations of other countries are not always as welcoming as ours.
As Canada undertakes new trade negotiations, there are opportunities to remove or reduce these artist mobility barriers. For example, in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada’s negotiators have pushed for more cross-border mobility of business professionals under the NAFTA professional TN non-immigrant status. CAPACOA and the Canadian Arts Coalition have advocated for an expansion of the list of TN professions so that it also includes live performing artists.
We are keeping our fingers crossed, as the renegotiations appear to be coming to an end, that this will come to fruition. We are also hoping that considerations for artist mobility can be systematically included in future trade negotiations.
International taxation can also create significant administrative and financial barriers to artist mobility and can hinder reciprocal relationships with foreign trade partners. The root cause of the problem here lies in our fiscal conventions. Article 17 of the OECD Model Tax Convention creates a particular tax treatment that enables states to tax performing artists in the country where the artists perform.
As a result, foreign groups and artistic companies performing in Canada have income tax withheld on their fees. They must also often withhold tax payments made to their individual performers. They are required to complete and remit T4A returns, and they must file a Canadian income tax return. The costs of compliance to this taxation regime are estimated to be at least four times greater than the revenues collected by the Canadian government.
Although tax treaties cannot easily be reopened, the government could take advantage of cultural diplomacy initiatives to negotiate voluntary bilateral suspensions of article 17 and its replacement by more flexible administrative policies. The terms of this suspension could be captured in legally binding side letters, such as were used in the negotiations of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
We believe that this would effectively strengthen our diplomatic ties with our foreign partners and reduce barriers that will otherwise hinder the success of our trade efforts.
Intellectual property is also a matter of trade and diplomacy as an artist cannot collect royalties in another country unless the two countries have the same copyright regime and a reciprocity agreement is in place between their collective management organizations.
In the visual arts, the artist’s resale right is a market-based mechanism that entitles visual artists to 5 per cent royalty on the sale price each time their work is resold to an auction house or commercial gallery.
The artist’s resale right exists in 93 countries, including several of Canada’s partners: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Mexico, Australia and India. The artist’s resale right is also enshrined in European legislation and the EU requested that Canada implement it during the CETA negotiations, but to no avail. Canada still hasn’t adopted the artist’s resale right.
Canadian artists, and Indigenous artists in particular, are losing out on the tremendous profits being made on their work in the secondary market in Canada and abroad.
Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak sold her piece Enchanted Owl for $24 in 1960. This work was later resold for $58,000. Mary Pratt had 36 artworks go to auction between 1996 and 2013. The total artist’s resale right royalty she missed out on amounted to $21,000.
Cultural diplomacy implies but shouldn’t be limited to allowing for artists and their works to cross physical borders. It also resides in upholding our social values, including fair compensation, and in advancing matters of national interest, including reconciliation and the protection of cultural diversity throughout our trade misses, our trade negotiations and our other cultural diplomacy endeavours.
Senator Oh: Thank you for your presentation. I would like to ask about taxation on artists performing abroad.
With how many countries has Canada signed tax treaties to avoid double taxation? Are there any major international markets that are important for Canadian artists but have not signed such treaties with us? How could the government and your association help?
Mr. Julien: I would not be able to tell you the exact number of countries with which we have fiscal treaties, but we have fiscal treaties with almost every country around the world.
These treaties are not the same. They all follow the OECD Model Tax Convention, but there are certain approaches that different countries will take.
For example, in a few European countries there are particular exclusions that make it possible for artists from both countries to perform in the other countries and not be taxed in that country if they had been receiving support from the government due to cultural diplomacy or cultural exchanges.
There are other countries with which there are certain levels of exclusions. With the U.S., for example, there is a certain threshold under which the requirements are lower.
These are ways that we can make sure that international taxation doesn’t get in the way of artist mobility and of our trade and cultural diplomacy efforts.
As we talked about the possibility of negotiating the voluntary suspensions of article 17, our hope would not be that it is abandoned completely but that other approaches to applying taxation in a fair way be explored when taxes ought to be paid and do not impose an undue burden on others. That’s what we would like to see now either through these voluntary suspensions or in the future directly through our fiscal treaties.
Senator Oh: I have one more question. I always receive last-minute requests for help with visa problems. The artists plan a long time to do a performance in our country. In the last minute, half of the group is not coming because they cannot get visiting visas. What is your opinion?
Mr. Julien: Not every country has visa requirements. Many countries are visa exempt, but there are indeed instances where visa processes can get in the way. Of course, touring companies have to get started on their visa early.
Some of the challenges in the performing arts in particular is that the composition of the ensemble is not known until a couple of months before the performance. The main performers might have been hired a long time ago, but those secondary performers sometimes are hired later on in the process.
That delays the time at which the visa process can be undertaken. That’s true for foreign artists coming to Canada and for Canadian artists going abroad. For example, in the U.S. the visa process is a very demanding, expensive and slow process. It regularly gets in the way of artists crossing the border on time.
Senator Cormier: Thank you so much for your very enlightening presentation, which highlights fundamental issues, specifically double taxation and residual rights in the matter of the circulation of artists and artwork. I would especially like to hear you on the matter of the impact this has on Canadian art organizations that work on the organizational level of artists’ travel, the challenges of double taxation, and more indirectly, on residual rights. For having been in the cultural sector and done some work in hosting artists, co-production or co-broadcasting with foreign companies, I know there is a series of issues and fees which prevent companies from functioning. Can you talk to us about a bit about this issue and tell us how the federal government could, perhaps, facilitate the work of artists in broadcasting?
Mr. Julien: When it comes to residual rights, the impact, currently, is nil, because our Canadian artists do not have access to them, given that the legislation does not exist in Canada. So, even if their work is sold in a country where residual rights are instituted, these artists cannot access royalties collected at that time.
As for taxation, the impact is profound, because when a foreign artist comes to Canada and throws himself into the tax system’s red tape, it leads to costs of time and money for the company, because there is a holdback on their fee. Very often, the reflex is to simply transfer these costs to the Canadian organization hosting the foreign artist. So, at the end of the day, our organizations, which are also supported by Canadian taxes, must absorb part of the costs of the enterprise intended to generate Canadian taxes. You understand that we’re in a bit of a paradox. It’s circular.
Among the ways that we could work on these issues, of course, I have spoken of the tax treaty aspect. We can also work internally, because our tax system is particularly burdensome compared to what exists abroad. Very simple measures could be undertaken, such as exempting the deposit paid to a foreign artist. When a foreign artist comes to Canada, they are paid a deposit of no more than 50 per cent to allow them to incur the costs of coming to Canada. If this deposit could be exempted from the requirement to retain a 15 per cent tax, that would already be a significant improvement for our Canadian broadcasters, who have to explain the process. If the deposit could be set aside, it would solve the problem. The art sector is currently working with the Canada Revenue Agency to find solutions on the administrative level. The problem is that taxation mechanisms are set in the Income Tax Act and in our tax treaties. The Canada Revenue Agency actually has very little leeway.
Senator Cormier: I have a second question about residual rights. You indicated in your brief that the matter of visual arts is extremely important. There is an issue here, but what about the performing arts, or literary and musical works? What will be the solution to solve the problem of residual rights?
Mr. Julien: In other disciplines, there are other rights: copyright in music, and in literature, neighbouring rights. Canada has already taken steps regarding musical copyrights to extend their term and harmonize them with what is being done in Europe. Currently, to my knowledge, these rights management mechanisms are working well. These are collected in Canada, and then paid abroad, and vice versa, without any issues, through SOCAN and Re:Sound, as well as many collective management organizations.
Senator Massicotte: Thank you for being here this morning. I will play devil’s advocate to better understand your arguments. Two things interest me in particular when it comes to tax agreements that have been concluded with other countries. I fully understand what you want, but there are nonetheless international standards that you refer to. To my knowledge, a retainer for services rendered is standard. In other words, there is still a holdback if you offer services to the United States, and you can go get an exemption, which takes months. What is being sought here is a complete exemption to this very standard procedure, and artists want to be treated differently than business people. Am I right? If that is the case, why do we have special treatment compared to typical business transactions?
Mr. Julien: That is a very relevant question and it gives me the opportunity to make an important distinction. Currently, performing artists, like athletes, are subjected to different tax treatment than other businesses. Companies that do business in Canada, as per most of our tax agreements, are subject to what is called a business profit exemption. So they do not have to pay tax in Canada. Furthermore, the government has set up an employer certification mechanism, which allows these businesses who fall into this category to have a simplified mechanism for submitting employee T4s. They can even exempt some of their employees from the requirement of filing a T4.
So it is important to understand that businesses, without having a free pass, are subject to a less strict tax treatment than artists and athletes. In the 1960s and 1970s, OECD member countries felt it was too easy for artists and athletes to move their residence to a tax haven to avoid paying taxes. The goal was to find a way to fight that phenomenon, which is a noble goal. In today’s context, it would be a good idea to broaden this practice to certain multinationals who engage in e-commerce. But the standards today are clearly much stricter.
We don’t expect article 17 to be completely suspended. We feel that, when international artists come to Canada and make significant profits, it makes sense that some of those profits should be given back to Canada. However, there are cases where small dance schools or small world music groups come to Canada to go on tour and make a total of only $10,000 or $12,000. Nearly all of that money serves to cover their travel costs. They have almost nothing left in their pocket at the end, and what is left, they need to spend to hire a lawyer to help them negotiate their tax situation. That is the type of case where we would try to relax the requirements.
Senator Massicotte: If an individual decides to offer his services in the United States — it’s difficult to offer services there, because people are so concerned about customs — and he is paid in American dollars, there’s always a holdback. An individual or a company that provides services in the United States is subject to a withholding tax on any amount that they receive. Am I correct?
Mr. Julien: There are similar requirements in the United States. The process is different there. They have Central Withholding Agreements. I won’t get into this too much, but I can find more information about this and give you a comparative analysis of the two systems.
Senator Massicotte: Yes, please. I would like to know why there is special treatment where the royalty on the resale of artworks is concerned. I’m not familiar with that application. Perhaps other countries have come to an agreement, but any other sale of a property, interest or asset is not affected by such a permanent royalty. Why would the artist, after the sale, not demand 5 per cent of any negotiable future resale? Why would the government impose this commission on future sales when it wasn’t part of the original sales contract?
Mr. Julien: That’s a good question.
Renuka, would you like to answer this one?
Renuka Bauri, Communications and Advocacy Director, Canadian Artists’ Representation: If I understand the question correctly, you are asking why there isn’t a contract. Primarily it’s because there are —
Senator Massicotte: I am not saying there’s no contract. There could be a contract.
Ms. Bauri: There could be a contract.
Senator Massicotte: As opposed to asking legislatures to impose let’s say a 5 per cent commission —
Ms. Bauri: It’s not really a commission, though.
Senator Massicotte: Why ask for this payment, which is contrary to the initial contract between the vendor of the art and the buyer?
Why should the government come back in a roundabout way and impose it when it was never originally on the same terms?
Ms. Bauri: Broadly speaking, it helps our artists create more work. It’s more in terms of thinking of it as a royalty, much in the same way as Mr. Julien mentioned before. When the work of musicians is played over and over again, they get royalties for that work. Authors also receive royalties.
In those situations, the visual artists don’t receive any royalty whatsoever. When their work is resold, it further impacts on what they can create.
Senator Massicotte: You’re right regarding the songwriter and so. That was a condition of the sale of his work of art. In other words, that was understood right from the start.
What I am hearing is that it’s an act of generosity. In other words, in light of the fact there is no contractual right, you want legislation to impose that right in spite of the fact that the parties agreed differently when they initially sold that piece of work.
Mr. Julien: I would like to add something to that response. Why is an artwork resold at a higher price? Because the artist, through his subsequent creative work after the creation of the initial artwork, increases his reputation. So artworks that were created previously gained in value. That value didn’t exist at the time of the initial sale.
Senator Massicotte: I have no problem with that argument. If it’s the case, why didn’t the artist require that commission at the outset? Most likely, the person who bought the artwork knew that the artist’s reputation was going to grow. It’s simply a question of adding those conditions to the initial contract. Why would the government impose conditions after the fact that were not negotiated at the outset?
Mr. Julien: Perhaps we should make an effort to do a bit more research about resale rights. That way, we could better explain why they were formulated this way.
Senator Tannas: I have a supplementary question. If we bought a piece of art and it was worth less, would you propose that we get a refund from the artist? This is crazy.
Ms. Bauri: No.
Senator Tannas: Fair is fair, right? Effectively, if you are asking the government to redo a contract from before, why wouldn’t it be fair to have a refund built in as well? There is a lack of prestige.
Mr. Julien: If I am right, gains on visual artworks are capital gains. If you invest in artwork that loses value and you resell it, you can get something back out of your capital loss. There is already a process in place.
The Chair: Perhaps I can be permitted a supplementary question on this.
Have you looked at why some people buy art? There are those who are into art. They train and say, “This artist is going to go places, so I am going to invest in this person.” They buy and buy, and the value goes up. They are part of making that artist better known and more prestigious.
There is a whole bunch of us who start out with very little money, and the artist has little money. He couldn’t sell a thing and said, “Please, give me $10.” Some 25 years later it’s worth a couple of thousand dollars.
The motives of buying and selling come into it also. We hear about the big pieces, about the one found in the closet and all of that, but there are lots of people helping artists. How do we factor that in?
Perhaps you want to answer the question, or perhaps you just want to reflect on it. I am very curious. I plead ignorance in knowing this taxation scheme well enough and how it is applied.
Mr. Julien: I have a gut reaction. In my view, first and foremost, people should buy a work for the esthetic value, for the feeling of spiritual uplift they get when they contemplate the work of art. If on top of that there is a financial gain, that’s great. If on top of that someone actually starts to speculate on works to make capital gains, in my view the speculation based on an artist’s creative output or the artist’s intellectual property. It would be reasonable that some of that would go back to the artist.
I guess that’s up for debate.
Ms. Bauri: In addition, the basic process of how we have been envisioning how the ARR, the artist’s resale right, would work is that between the seller and the buyer, after the primary sale, 2.5 per cent from the buyer and 2.5 per cent from the seller would therefore go to the artist. The threshold we are looking at are artworks of about $1,000 or more.
That’s just to give you a bit of context, an idea of the rationale of how the artist’s resale right would work. Both you and Mr. Julien have obviously made very good points about the purpose of why we would purchase art.
It’s not so much an answer as it is just a comment.
Senator Bovey: Perhaps I may answer your question at least in part. There have been numbers of studies done over the years about why people buy art and why people show art.
Yesterday, I received a report from Hill Strategies Research, which I regularly get, on the topic of the social benefits of culture and the arts. The Arts Research Monitor, Volume 17, Issue No. 1, included four major reports, some done by the federal government and some done by others. There is a lot of work in this regard.
The Chair: Just to that point, I am aware of some of it, but because we are doing the study and because putting it on the public record, it would be good to have some of that here to reflect and provide us with that information. This is what I was encouraging.
Senator Bovey: Before I ask my questions, I’d be very happy to forward to the clerk yesterday’s email with these four reports.
That said, I want to take us in a different direction. The other comment I will make on what has been said so far is that we have to be cognizant that the largest percentage of working Canadians who live below the poverty line are our artists.
We are not really talking about a whole lot of money when we talk about resale rights and resale. That’s something that needs to be taken into consideration.
I have two questions. I want to ask both of you how important you think international expos are for the presentation of Canadian work. I understand, for instance, that the UAE is hosting an international expo in 2020. Canada has not yet agreed to participate. Yet, going back, we can think of the number of really important international expos where Canadian art has risen to the international stage.
My first question is around what you feel the importance of these international expos are, knowing that they are different from major exhibitions, perhaps, or joint performances, maybe not so.
Mr. Julien: Historically, international expos have been very important in terms of their contribution to cultural diplomacy and the advancement of arts, science and culture in general.
In recent years, our trade and cultural strategies have, rather, focused on trade missions at conferences that gather industry practitioners rather than events such as international expos.
The reason why we are doing that is because the buyers, those who can hire Canadian artists to come abroad or purchase the works of Canadian artists, are at these industry conferences.
The value, as I said, is definitely commercial. In a similar way, just as the international expos have been invaluable for the advancement of the art, those conferences and festivals can contribute to the advancement of the practice.
I mentioned how these trade missions in Australia have helped organizations move further in their thinking about reconciliation.
If this committee allows me, I would like to read some of the final reports we got from those trade missions to give you a sense of the tangible value they have had.
A presenting organization from the Jeanne & Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre in Alberta talked about a trade mission in Australia. He said that the trip provided an opportunity to strengthen our national network, to root international artists to spending several days to see work together and talk opportunities going forward.
He also said that they had a great amount of discussion centred on challenges facing Indigenous artists. It felt like a real change was happening with actions, not talk. These international discussions were invaluable.
Another presenter from the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts said that the week in Brisbane hammered home that all Indigenous people around the world have been greatly affected by colonialism and suffered from a lack of empathy worldwide. “I literally was crying every day and putting together thoughts and ideas on how to be the best guiding presenter I could be. I vowed to supply the artists an empty canvas to create and not paint by number. More importantly, I vowed to listen, watch and learn. It was an emotionally draining week for sure but a very rewarding week as I have grown in my knowledge of Canadian Indigenous artists just a little bit larger.”
Senator Bovey: As a follow up, and I could be wrong on the numbers, I think the commitment that arts have to be part of international sports events can be found at clauses 61 and 62 of the UNESCO agreement.
I’d like your thoughts as to whether you agree, but in my experience it has been really important that for the Commonwealth Games in Victoria in 1994, for instance, we brought over a number of Australian Aboriginal artists and paired them with Northwest Coast Aboriginal artists. The work that was done in studios and the subsequent exhibitions and sales were significant. That’s another side to this.
I want to move to another question. We have an indemnification program in Canada so that our art and other museums can bring in major international exhibitions whereby the insurance costs above a certain amount will be indemnified. This has been wonderful for presenting international work to Canadian audiences.
Tell me if you are aware of countries elsewhere in the world that have indemnification programs which would benefit from bringing major exhibitions of Canadian art to other countries. Canadian art is now a bit better known, thanks to exhibitions that have been in Dulwich and Paris.
Can you talk about the need for other countries, or do they have indemnification programs to help the circulation of high-end Canadian art?
Mr. Julien: It is a good question and one that goes beyond my area of expertise. I will turn to my colleague, who may have better knowledge in this area.
Ms. Bauri: You may have to pare down the question for me just a bit.
Senator Bovey: Canada has the Indemnification Act. I can’t remember whether it’s three or five parts of the country, but if an exhibition is touring, such as a Chagall exhibition or a Picasso exhibition, the insurance rates are far too high for Canadian institutions to pay. The institutions pay up to a certain value and the Canadian government indemnifies beyond that.
For a major Group of Seven exhibition, for a Riopelle, a Borduas or a Mary Pratt exhibition or for those who are known internationally, are there indemnification programs in law in other international countries that will make it easier for Canadian art to go abroad? Or, should we be looking at having international discussions?
We’ve done this to bring art from other countries to the Canadian audiences, and what about getting Canadian art to international audiences?
Ms. Bauri: I would have to take that back.
Senator Bovey: Perhaps you could take it back.
Madam Chair, I think that is a question worth looking at because it ties in with some of the cross-border issues that I know our artists are having, especially printmakers taking their work across the borders. There is a lack of understanding, for instance, of the work of Bill Reid and Robert Davidson, major artists working in print. A lot of the border control people aren’t aware that they are not just posters or PR material.
This goes in with the indemnification and cross-border shipping of works of art. These are serious issues that we need to look at.
The Chair: Perhaps we could even think of some other witnesses.
You’re talking about large exhibitions. Part of the problem is that some of the smaller places would like to have at least one or two pieces, and they run into the same problems.
If we’re worried about a national exhibition, of course, it would be the Riopelles, et cetera. I have been part of where we’ve actually highlighted one painting because that’s all we could afford. Two would have been even better, twice as much. There is excitement around having that, and you can build other components of the shows. It’s always the costs.
Senator Bovey: The insurance costs, which tie into the resale rights. You can compound all this, but I think if we can break it into its component parts it will be much easier for the world to understand.
The Chair: We have been talking about taxation and about simplification of regulations, if I can call it that.
There are two parts. You want certainly to get more benefit into the hands of the artists in various ways, and then you want less regulation. That certainly is laudable, but we have to figure out how we get there.
Perhaps you have any further thoughts on both of those. I think it would be very important to match it to what other like-minded countries are doing so that our capabilities are the same.
I wanted you to comment on two things. One is that in the old days art was either visual or dance or song or records, maybe. We have developed a lot of new things that I don’t even know exist: games and ongoing creativeness with the technologies.
There has been quite an emphasis by governments, and that is a good thing. The government has announced that it helps the economy and trade.
Is that the direction we should be going in, or should we continue to promote art for art’s sake, as opposed to tying it to trade initiatives?
Mr. Julien: My area of expertise is obviously not video games, so I cannot comment on that. I think it would be slightly inappropriate for me to make comments as to the respective and comparative values of video gaming versus traditional Aboriginal art forms.
We have been extremely pleased to see that the performing and visual arts have been included or integrated into Canada’s creative strategy announced by Minister of Canadian Heritage last fall.
There is definitely a value in terms of trade. Statistics came out recently about trade. The Culture Satellite Account released its first set of trade figures for cultural products. On the performing arts alone, which would definitely be one of the traditional kinds, the trade amount was significant. I would be happy to provide you with the exact number. I couldn’t quite register it and memorize it, but there is a trade value.
There are other purposes, definitely. Our artists grow when they have opportunities to go abroad and meet other artists who do similar work. In Canada, a country in which one out of five Canadians was born in a different country, many of our artists practise art forms based on cultures existing elsewhere around the world.
For those artists to have the opportunity to meet with similar practitioners, either in those countries or here in Canada, is invaluable for their growth. As we consider cultural diplomacy strategies, this has to be part of the mix and not just the trade aspect of it.
In answer to your comment about seeking relief and then requesting royalties, if the purpose of this committee is to study cultural diplomacy, we have to look at it from the lens of reciprocity. What really matters there is not so much the relief itself but the reduction of barriers that get in the way of reciprocity, and the harmonization of regulations where the regulations are significantly different between Canada and our trade partners.
Senator Cormier: The question of arts and culture, as it relates to cultural diplomacy, is a vast field of study. There are tax issues, international agreement issues, intellectual property issues, reciprocity issues, and barrier reduction issues that are involved. There are so many issues. Some issues are specific to different artistic disciplines.
We’re currently thinking about how we could formulate recommendations to the government about developing a broad cultural diplomacy strategy, which would allow for better coordination. Do you have any ideas about this? We know that the Canada Council for the Arts and Global Affairs Canada are involved. Do you have an idea of how we might ensure the development of a cultural diplomacy strategy?
Mr. Julien: Thank you for the question. You’ve had the opportunity to hear other witnesses talk about the important role of cultural attachés. The government has already enlisted trade commissioners in our missions abroad and has chosen as part of that effort, to use local resources rather than hiring Canadians, who don’t know the market, and sending them abroad. This strategy seems to be bearing fruit. Of course, people hired abroad understand the local market, which is very valuable. They are now in the process of acquiring expertise from the Canadian arts sector, which is another essential factor.
We spoke about trade missions. These trade missions are essential. Sometimes, these are large-scale trade missions like the Minister of Canadian Heritage’s mission in China. Sometimes, these are smaller missions funded by the Canada Council for the Arts or by Canadian Heritage. In either case, they’re beneficial.
The benefits are not always immediate. In the performing arts, for example, tours do not take place right away, but in subsequent years. Some aspects also remain following the tours. Tours wrap up, but relationships built with arts organizations abroad do not fade away. They remain and may give rise to other exchanges, like co-productions or other tours. Trade missions are important as well for sharing knowledge and reinforcement. When we send a trade mission abroad — be they presenters or exhibition curators — we send a group of people who often do not know each other very well. It is an opportunity to strengthen our Canadian networks. We send out people from across the country who rarely have the opportunity to meet and who will work more effectively together upon returning to Canada.
Senator Cormier: This question is a bit simplistic, but who should coordinate that? As you said, the cultural attachés know their fields, but not Canada. How do we coordinate that?
Mr. Julien: As regards the attachés, that would be a question for the Department of Global Affairs. As for the trade missions and initiatives abroad, rest assured that the artistic industry is more than willing to coordinate these efforts. When the government allocates funding to set up trade missions, it isn’t fully capable of dictating how the money will be spent. It must call upon organizations that subsequently put forth proposals. It is important to ensure there is consistency. I can confirm that discussions are currently underway to equip the industry with a more consistent strategy for using these resources.
Senator Bovey: I have a follow-up question on NAFTA. You talked obviously about mobility. I want to push the mobility a bit further.
In the former NAFTA, for artists going into the U. S. for a residency for a year or two years, as I understand it, they were eligible as long as they were going to academic institutions. If they were going to another kind of institution that was not listed as a reciprocity in the NAFTA, it was not allowed.
Is that your interpretation of it? Is this one of the issues you have put forward to the NAFTA discussions that are, as you say, coming to a close?
Mr. Julien: I believe you are right. When artists seek to enter the U.S., they typically do not need visas because they are technically visa exempt under NAFTA; but they need a certification that they belong to a certain qualification of visa holders. This requires them to do a visa application in the end.
Senator Bovey: They can visit without earning any money, but if they are there on a residency for which they are paid. Is that part of discussion you brought forward this time?
Mr. Julien: It is. Under certain statuses it is possible, with the B-2 visa, to go to the U. S. to meet and do business, as long as you don’t earn money. If you earn money, then you need either an O or P visa in which you have to list exactly what you will be doing, where and with whom. Once you get it you cannot change it, which is a problem, because sometimes you have crossed the border and new opportunities come up and you are stuck. That’s your framework.
We have been proposing, by acknowledging live performance artists as business professionals, that they be allowed to come to the port of entry and show documentation on their qualifications, their contractual engagements and their belonging to a union. They would just be allowed to enter under the TN status.
This presents certain risks because you show up at the port of entry and you are not entirely sure. It’s possible, even though this was granted, that some organizations for the benefit of certainty might still want to fall back on the old process.
We have to see if negotiations come to an end. Will we have a new agreement? Will this part of it? How will roll out. We have been carefully thinking about the details of such a policy and how it would work on the administrative side of things, but a lot still has to be figured out.
The Chair: We’ve touched on a lot of areas, and it has been very helpful. What we need is more witnesses, I think. We will try to do an in-depth study on cultural diplomacy from all angles.
As we proceed in our study, if there are other areas that you would like to bring to our attention, any reflections that you have on Global Affairs or suggestions of contacts, relationships, rules or opportunities that could be built, we will certainly follow up. I know we put you under scrutiny on some issues that perhaps we should put to the Finance Department and others, and we intend to do so.
We’re inviting you to continue to dialogue with us. Thank you for being here today.
(The committee adjourned.)