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Alex McDonald, Communist Party of Canada (Ottawa-Center) -Apartment613

Alex McDonald, Communist Party of Canada (Ottawa-Center) -Apartment613

Many local issues are discussed in this election, but Ottawa’s vibrant arts and culture scene does not always get the attention it deserves. It’s a shame, because Ottawa is a tough hitter in supporting a strong cultural sector. However, we know that the COVID-19 pandemic has ruined the city’s art scene and it will take many years to come back.

The Ottawa Cultural Alliance and Apartment613 are just two of many organizations dedicated to promoting Ottawa’s art and culture scene. We jointly developed a candidate questionnaire and will publish all the answers we receive before election day on 20 September. Alex McDonald, Communist Party of Canada Candidate for Ottawa Center, was one of those who took the opportunity to respond. See the other candidate answers here.

What are your roots in horse riding, where do you run to the office, and how have you been involved in the community?

Throughout the 1980s to the mid-90s, I resided in this riding while working as a taxi driver and studying at Carleton University. I then returned to horse riding in 2012 and have lived here ever since. During this time, I have represented the diamond taxi drivers as a union representative and also in the Ottawa and District Labor Council. I was a former member of the Ottawa Health Coalition, the Ottawa Cuba Connections and the Ottawa Peace Council. I am currently treasurer of the Ottawa-Center chapter in Acorn.

Why should our readers vote for you?

I have a personal familiarity with those who work in the arts. My niece met her future husband at Bluesfest, where he performed as a guitarist. He has now worked for many years in a local hardware store – wasted potential. Another niece is now well-established in Canada’s theater scene, but for many years she lived largely out of a suitcase. I’m not telling your readers anything new. Artists in this country, most of them, lead an uncertain economic existence. Worrying about rent payments does not contribute to creativity. What about the audience? I have been transposed while attending theater performances. Still, I can not remember the last time I attended the theater – it has been so long. This is because my financial situation made me feel that I could not afford this “luxury”. There are many like me – many. The Communist Party wants to significantly increase the standard of living for those who currently cannot afford cultural events. Demand will increase. At the same time, it will significantly increase the standard of living for many in the cultural field. We demand a minimum wage of $ 23 / hour, a guaranteed annual viable income, EI available to all unemployed throughout their unemployment with 90% of previous earnings and increase of public pensions to a livable level with full benefits from kl. age 60.

Cultural resources such as festivals, museums and galleries play a crucial role in the mental health of Ottawans. In fact, seven out of ten residents think that cultural places are important for mental health and well-being. These are places where our most vulnerable citizens can make social connections and be stimulated. Culture is without a doubt more important than ever as our economy and society recover from the pandemic. What role do you see culture playing in the city’s reopening and restoration?

Music, art, movies and other aspects of culture are what make life worth living; they are an expression of humanity. People long for the return of concerts and other cultural events, and art and culture workers long to return to work. In some places this has already begun. The government needs to support artists and cultural workers so that they can return safely to work and deliver these events and cultural works to the public.

What specific investments will you support to help and grow Ottawa’s cultural sector?

Canada’s Communist Party wants to increase public funding for amateur and social arts, culture and sports, including capital financing, and make them widely available and free to the public. We will also restore funding to the CBC and invest in the cultural sector through the National Film Board, Telefilm Canada, CBC / Radio-Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts / Council of the Arts du Canada and other publicly owned institutions. Many of these operate in Ottawa. What sets us apart from the other parties is that we want to end insecure work in the cultural sector. We want to set up government agencies like NFB-ONF that give creators and workers in the cultural industry a stable and decent job.

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