Just when you might think the tiniest glimmer of common sense could happen in Ottawa, they backpeddle away and do the exact opposite! After Harper’s government quietly dropped the $275 dollar processing fee for foreign musicians performing in Canada (on top of a $150 work permit fee) they RE-INSTATED it, only now referring to it as a “Labour Market Opinon”!! And now the fee has to be paid for every venue played, for every person in the band’s employ. As we have seen so many times with the HarperCONS, vindictiveness is at work here. We complained about foreign workers undercutting wages at fast food chains (coached by Employment Minister Jason Kenney in how to get around rules), so they target who they perceive as “Artsy Lefties”– independent music fans. As of today, 90,000 signatures have been collected in a protesting petition to Minister Kenney, but to no-ones surprise, he has no intention of listening. They never do.
This means nothing to most music fans, the large tours and venues are unaffected by this. This discrimnaTORY charge is leveled at small venues and struggling bands that are touring in station wagons and squeezing every cent already. The alternative acts and unknown artists playing for very little, out to spread their name, frequently only meeting their expenses but doing it for the love of music. Far from taking any Canadian performer’s job, their one-night stands help grow club scenes, or as opening acts give you value-added entertainment dollars. The part that truly baffles me here is the total lack of understanding of what helps grow a tourism economy – right-wingers love to lecture us how “cultural tourism” will replace our manufacturing base, yet turn around and do deliberate damage to events that comprise it. Recently one of these “Economic Development Consultants” (Hot Air Salesmen in my book) was paid $25,000 to speak to a local group and described Cultural Tourism as “Project Managers, Accountants, Lawyers, etc” WHO would take a day trip to watch a project manager or book-keeper? Is there a historical re-enactment village full of desk jockeys I’m unaware of?