I spent this past weekend in Montreal.  I love it there.  It is such an inspiring place.  The main reason for the trip was to check out the Jean-Paul Gauthier exhibit at the Musée de Beaux-Arts, which did not disappoint.   It was absolutely fantastic.  It’s a shame that such an incredibly moving show closes this weekend.  If you have the chance to see it, do yourself a favour and get to MMBA before 2 October.  While I’ve always admired Gauthier, I didn’t really realize how much a visionary he is.  Truly inspiring.

Just as inspiring was the city of Montreal itself.  There is such an artistic vein to this city.  In such a capitalistic time in human history, it is wonderfully refreshing to see a city that puts such an emphasis on the cultivation of the arts.  It’s especially poignant coming from Toronto – a rich and beautiful city with such a deep and important artistic heritage  that is presently being torn to pieces due to personal greed, selfishness and divisiveness.  Toronto is my home and that is why it is so sad to see what is happening here these days.

Not just here in Toronto, but across the majority of Canada, the arts are viewed an unimportant.  Artists are perceived as being parasites on the economic system.  When did this happen?  How did this happen?  When did society’s priorities get knocked so completely out of whack?

As an artist and a Canadian, I can say with pride that I have never taken a government handout.  Everything I have, I have earned with my own sweat, blood and brains.  And I can say without hesitation that, as an artist, I put more back into my community than the vast majority of selfish, tax-fearing capitalists.  And I am by no means the exception to any rule.

The rest of Canada needs to take a lesson from Montreal.  They need to realize what the cultivation of the arts can bring to a city.  Nobody goes to Montreal to see how low their tax-rate is or how many potholes have been filled.  There are things that are simply more important.


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