Council in brief: arts, website upgrade, honours - Belleville Intelligencer - Canadanewsmedia
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Council in brief: arts, website upgrade, honours – Belleville Intelligencer

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Members of Belleville council meet Monday, September 9, 2019 in Belleville, Ont. Luke Hendry/The Intelligencer/Postmedia Network

Luke Hendry / Luke Hendry/The Intelligencer

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Members of Belleville council has made another – though informal – pledge to support the local arts scene.

Quinte Arts Council executive director Janet Jarrell spoke to council during Monday’s meeting. Her update included the recent Plein Air festival, which drew artists from across Ontario to paint in local outdoor locations.

“We had over 350 local students participate,” Jarrell said.

She said the change of its publication, Umbrella, from a newspaper format to that of a magazine, was “a big leap forward.”

Jarrell said a revitalized arts council has new staff and is working to increase its student bursary program.

Yet the board and staff are also to be a financially-sustainable organization while providing funding to students and others.

“We should be paying the artists properly,” Jarrell said. It’s essential if they’re to continue their work, she said.

Council members praised the arts group’s efforts to date.

“We will continue to have your back in any way, shape or form,” Coun. Chris Malette said.

“Not only are we behind you but we are putting our money where our mouth is,” said Mayor Mitch Panciuk. “It is going to good use … and we will continue to do that.”

The arts council’s annual awards will be held Sept. 19 at Dinkel’s restaurant on Bridge Street East just east of Front Street. Its leadership is also working with Empire Theatre officials on a December arts council fundraiser.

Other items on Monday’s agenda included the following.

• Naming policy: Council adopted a policy governing the naming of city assets.

“The current policy is completely an ad-hoc one,” said Panciuk. Naming was decided as situations arose.

The new policy is intended to provide consistency and clear rules for the process.

• Code of conduct: Council tabled a motion to enact a new code of conduct for council and its committees, opting instead to consult the city’s integrity commissioner prior to a final vote.

• Contracts: Council voted on several contracts, including one to redesign the city’s website and workflow management system.

Council awarded the contract, worth $139,500 plus HST, to eSolutions Group Ltd., deeming the firm’s bid to be the most qualified proposal.

Information services manager Marc Coyle said the city is adopting a proven platform that’s already been built and is now in use by 350 municipalities. It will allow users to pay online for more services and include other benefits, including online forms and more compliance with Ontario’s accessibility law.

“It’s spectacular,” he said.

“That’s how the big boys play and it’s how we’re going to be playing, too.

“We’re going to make sure we can compete on all platforms.”

No timeline for the work was immediately available.

• New firefighter: Mayor Panciuk and Fire Chief Mark MacDonald administered the firefighter oath to newly-hired fourth-class firefighter Mark Pagel.

• Liaison honoured: Council honoured city business owner Simon Kang, who serves as interpreter, cultural advisor and event planner during the city’s exchanges with the city of Gunpo, South Korea.

Kang and his late father were essential in creating the relationship with Gunpo. It in turn led to the establishment of a Halla Climate Control plant (now Hanon Systems Canada Inc.) in Belleville.

Panciuk presented Kang with key to the city, council’s highest honour.

Former mayors Ross McDougall and Neil Ellis, now the area’s member of Parliament, joined in the praise, with Ellis presenting a plaque of appreciation.

“Simon was absolutely the creator of the relationship and the cultural exchange,” said McDougall.

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National Arts Centre Indigenous theatre honours trailblazing artists at Moshkamo opening – APTN News

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[embedded content]

Shelby Lisk and Annette Francis
APTN News
On a grey Saturday morning, dozens of canoers sat on the edge of the Rideau Canal just outside downtown in Ottawa waiting to make the historic journey to the National Arts Centre to officially open the Indigenous theatre festival, Mòshkamo.

The paddlers included Algonquin Elders and Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation community members, along with NAC staff.

(Artistic Director, Kevin Loring, waves from his canoe during the procession along the Rideau Canal to open the NAC Indigenous theatre Mòshkamo festival. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

“I was so honoured, so deeply profoundly proud. No words to describe that feeling I had when I saw my people, our people, journey in that water. A practice we’ve been doing since time immemorial,” said Algonquin Elder Claudette Commanda.

“Some of us did not go into a canoe, but let me tell you, each and every one of us that are here right now at this moment, we are in that canoe, in spirit, in heart, in respect, love and kindness. Let us paddle that canoe together in peace and friendship.”

National Arts Centre

(Claudette Commanda beams with pride as she welcomes everyone on behalf of the Algonquin Nation. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

For the Algonquin Elder, the work that the National Arts Centre has done, with Kevin Loring, Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre, and Lori Marchand, Manager Director of Indigenous Theatre at the helm, is profound and unprecedented.

While she welcomed everyone on behalf of the Algonquin Nation, she shared her gratitude to the NAC.

“Thank you to the leaders of the National Art Centre. I truly appreciate that, we truly appreciate that and we know that indeed this is a true action of the rights relationship that was always intended between our ancestors and your ancestors,” said Commanda.

National Arts Centre

(NAC President and CEO, Christopher Deacon, addresses the packed crowd in the Canal Lobby at the NAC for the opening of the Mòshkamo festival. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

NAC President and CEO, Christopher Deacon, took the stage to acknowledge the work that has been going on behind the scenes to bring Mòshkamo to life.

He thanked the many people who have made this historic opening possible, including the Assembly of First Nations, Métis National Council, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Grand Chief Verna Polson and the Algonquin advisory council, who played a critical role in consulting with the NAC in the development of the Indigenous theatre.

He said Indigenous theatre is taking its rightful place next to the well-established English and French theatres at the NAC.

“Today, 50 years after the NAC’s grand opening, our engagement with Indigenous artists and commitment to their work has arrived at a new place. Our new commitment, made today, is to have Indigenous artists lead the creation and performance of Indigenous stories, music and dance,” said Deacon.

Kevin Loring was appointed Artistic Director on June 15, 2017 and has spent the last two years travelling the country to see Indigenous work and meet with artists and arts organizations.

Performing arts organizations from around the world have now started to contact Loring to consult on how to empower Indigenous arts in their own countries.

Loring, Nlaka’pamux from British Columbia’s Lytton First Nation, brought traditions from his home community to the opening, with a traditional blanketing ceremony to honour four Indigenous theatre trailblazers – Muriel Miguel, Tomson Highway, Margo Kane and Marie Clements.

National Arts Centre

(Kevin Loring hugs performing artist and writer, Margo Kane, as he brings her on stage to honour her work. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

With each actor, director or playwright they brought on stage, they told stories of how those visionaries influenced their own work and guided them to the place they are now – making history for Indigenous people at the NAC.

National Arts Centre

(Lori Marchand hugs Muriel Miguel during the blanketing ceremony for four Indigenous artists: Muriel Miguel, Tomson Highway, Margo Kane and Marie Clement. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

“We are honouring today, artists that have had a personal impact on the two of us. On our trajectory, on our artistry. They’ve blazed the trails that we walk on today. This exists because they have existed. This exists because they fought the battles that needed to be fought,” said Loring.

“This exists because of their love and today we are going to reflect that love back to them.”

The artists that were honoured included Kuna/Rappahannock choreographer, director and actor Muriel Miguel, Cree playwright and author Tomson Highway, Cree/Saulteaux performing artist and writer Margo Kane, and Métis playwright, performer, director, producer and screenwriter Marie Clement.

Marchand and Loring both told personal stories about the artists as they brought them on stage.

Marchand, a member of the Syilx (Okanagan) First Nation, mused about the first time she met Muriel Miguel at Native Earth performing arts, saying that it was the first time in her life that she had been in a room “full of people like herself”.

Loring described his first encounter with Tomson Highway’s work as the first Indigenous play he ever read in his life.

He performed a monologue from Highway’s play, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, for his university class in Kamloops, B.C.

“In that moment, I became an artist and that is all thanks to Tomson Highway,” said Loring.

Loring and Marchand reminded us all that this profound historic moment for the NAC Indigenous theatre comes from the years of hard work of Indigenous artists that came before.

National Arts Centre

(Muriel Miguel, Tomson Highway, Margo Kane and Marie Clements stand proud with their gifted blankets. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

The  Mòshkamo festival continues until September 29, with shows, workshops and masterclasses, including the play the unnatural and accidental women written by Marie Clements and directed by Muriel Miguel.

slisk@aptn.ca

afrancis@aptn.ca

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Andrew Scheer pitches sports, arts tax credits for parents with children – CBC News

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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer unveiled his latest tax credit pledge Monday — this one targeting parents with kids in arts and sports activities.

A day after Scheer unveiled a $6 billion tax cut for most Canadian taxpayers, Scheer is now promising changes to the tax code that would allow parents to claim up to $1,000 per child for expenses related to fitness or sports activities.

Another credit — the children’s arts and learning tax credit — would allow parents to claim up to $500 per child for expenses.

The last time this credit was on the books, the Canada Revenue Agency had a broad list of applicable activities. They included anything that develops a creative skill or knowledge of literary, visual or performing arts, music, media, languages, customs or heritage, and wilderness and the environment.

Parents of children with disabilities would receive more from the promised credits. For every child with a disability, the sports credit would be worth $500 more a year, while the arts credit would double to $1,000.

According to figures from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the fitness credit would cost the federal treasury about $240 million a year in lost revenue. The arts tax credit would cost about $56 million a year.

The credits would be refundable, meaning that even if a family owes no taxes to the government at tax time (often the case with low-income families), it can still benefit, Scheer said.

This is the latest Scheer campaign promise resurrecting a policy of the former Conservative government that was dismantled by the Justin Trudeau Liberals after taking office.

The Liberal government dismissed these tax credits — along with the public transit pass credit — as ineffective because they didn’t meaningfully change enrolment in sports programs or encourage people to take transit.

Instead, the Liberal government said it would re-deploy money spent on these initiatives to sweeten the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment each month.

“These were incredibly popular tax credits. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians appreciated the extra help with paying for kids’ activities. That’s why they were so disappointed when Justin Trudeau cancelled them,” Scheer said.

“And again, it goes back to choices, Justin Trudeau believes that he can spend your money better than you can and that is why he cancelled these very popular tax credits.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says that he can achieve a balanced budget even while lowering taxes by adding a public transit credit, a children’s fitness tax credit and a children’s arts and learning tax credit while also implementing a universal tax cut. 0:58

“We will be bringing them back. We will also have a fully costed platform that shows Canadians how we will get back to balanced budgets while still maintaining increases to important services like health care and education.”

Research by the federal Department of Finance prepared for the Liberal government shows that many families never claimed these expenses the last time they were available.

In 2014, 43 per cent of families with children claimed one or both of the credits. The fitness credit was more than twice as popular (41 per cent uptake in 2014) as the arts credit (15 per cent uptake.)

The credits were more popular with middle- and high-income families, while those with a household income below $40,000 were far less likely to participate.

The incentives for low-income families were comparatively small given how little — if any — federal income taxes they pay.

The take-up rate for the tax credits among families with household incomes of more than $200,000 a year income was 73.3 per cent, compared to just 16.8 per cent for families with a household income below $40,000, according to the department figures. Moreover, those higher income households claimed $104 in tax savings, while their low-income counterparts claimed just $14 in savings.

Still, Scheer argued the extra support will make raising an active child more affordable.

“In the coming days we’ll be making further announcements of some philosophical differences that we have with the Liberal party as to how they think they can spend money better than Canadians. We know a dollar left in the pockets of a hard-working Canadian is always better spent than in the pocket of a politician who taxed it. One thing is clear: we will lower the cost of living,” he said.

Affordability is the theme of the Conservative campaign. The party’s chosen slogan — “It’s time for you to get ahead” — has been plastered all over campaign materials and on TV ads airing in regular rotation.

Beyond the sports and arts credits announced today, Scheer has promised to bring back the public transit pass credit, introduce a new non-refundable tax credit for maternity and parental employment insurance (EI) benefits and exempt home heating from the GST. As part of his climate plan, Scheer also promised to revive the home retrofit tax credit so people can renovate their homes to improve energy efficiency.

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Businesswoman, champion of the arts Kathleen Richardson dies – CBC.ca

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Winnipeg’s arts community is remembering a passionate patron whose quiet generosity benefited cultural organizations across Canada.

Kathleen Margaret Richardson, 91, daughter of James and Muriel Richardson, died Saturday.

“Throughout her life, Miss Richardson remained a quiet philanthropist, contributing to numerous worthwhile causes through the Kathleen M. Richardson Foundation,” states a news release from James Richardson and Sons, the Winnipeg-based corporation that owns companies in several industries including agriculture.

Richardson was best known as patron extraordinaire of the arts, and was especially involved with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. 

Former principal dancer Evelyn Hart said Richardson left an indelible mark on the ballet world.

“She was really the fairy godmother of the Winnipeg ballet and the arts in Winnipeg. I call her a sort of a gentle giant,” Hart said.

“She was a great supporter of the dancers and kept us always feeling like we were important. Personally, I was always supported by her in many, many ways. I could not be more grateful.”

Richardson was also a director of the Richardson corporation for more than 40 years, from 1954 to 1998.

During that time, she helped guide the expansion of Pioneer Grain, the development of Lombard Place in downtown Winnipeg, including the Richardson Building and Fairmont Hotel, and shepherded the growth of the corporation’s financial services operation into an international brokerage.

She also served in the director role for companies outside of James Richardson and Sons, including Sun Life Assurance Company from 1978 to 1998, Barclays Bank of Canada from 1984 to 1994, and Gulf Canada Limited from 1977 to 1987.

But Richardson is best known for her unwavering support of the arts—and always doing so anonymously. 

“Always preferring to remain anonymous, her extraordinary generosity benefited arts and cultural organizations across Canada,” the news release states.

“She believed strongly in the words often quoted by her mother Muriel Richardson, ‘Unto whom much is given, much is required.'”

Kathleen Richardson was instrumental in opening the RWB’s building in downtown Winnipeg in 1988. (Google Street View)

Richardson served as president of the RWB from 1957 to 1961 and was instrumental in the opening of the RWB’s downtown base in Winnipeg in 1988.

She remained as honorary president from 1963 until her death.

Richardson was also an officer with the Order of Canada, and a member of the Order of Manitoba.

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