MUSICAL GRANT FARMING: A BUMPER CROP

March 26, 2014

By J.J.

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For Ontario’s multi-million dollar rapper Drake the 2014 season of musical ‘grant-farming’ has reaped one heck of a harvest. Three-hundred-thousand of your tax dollars have been given to Drake’s company by the Ontario government for his 2014 OVO. The stated reason is that it will grow our economy and will help emerging local musicians. Yet at the time that Drake received the three-hundred-grand the only act booked for his OVO Festival was OutKast, an American rap duo. The newly-created Ontario Music Office is part of the Ontario Media Development Corporation whose mission statement is to fund LIVE music events across the province. Other live music events that your tax dollars are funding this season are the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, Rock the Park and North by Northeast. Needless to say, the largest funding recipient is Pride Toronto/World Pride 2014.

Drake’s net worth is thirty-five million dollars and the tires on his Bugatti Veyron cost more than your whole car. Ticketmaster lists Drake’s OVO tickets at $66.50, $124.80 and $347.50. Best of all, HE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE TO PAY BACK A PENNY! Our Danforth Music Festival and Beaches Blues Fest COSTS TAXPAYERS NOTHING and many events support causes that benefit all Ontarians. But unless there is money to go “missing”, the Ontario Liberal Party is not interested. Music promoter and Your Ward News Publisher Leroy St. Germaine believes that no politician or oligarch should have a chance in hell to make a penny from local musicians. His Free the Music initiative is dedicated to the musician, and ONLY the musician.

Grant farming has become a profession based on cronyism and kick-backs and Drake’s team are top pros. Three-hundred thousand dollars offers a lot to spread around to those that award the grants. Ontario’s version of ‘corporate welfare’ is unique in that it is difficult to quantify tourist dollars as it is easy to massage the numbers. But enough talk of what THEY do, and time to concentrate on what WE have done for the community, emerging local musicians and the live music scene: For three decades we have been organizing Ontario’s blues, rock, folk and country musicians and have staged hundreds of festivals, concerts and CD release parties for LOCAL bands and LOCAL solo singer/song-writers. Did we mention that it COSTS TAXPAYERS NOTHING? We also ‘play it forward’ and have supported causes like animal welfare and our well-known food drive allows music fans to donate a can of food to attend. We know that any Ontarian can afford that. Tax-funded events can cost hundreds of dollars to attend. Like Drake’s OVO.

Progressive Conservative Vic Fedeli said that the Ontario government needs to end this type of corporate welfare. “We believe that money should be invested in infrastructure that ALL people can use”. Money-mills like the Ontario Music Office, Celebrate Ontario and the Ontario Media Development Corporation all are part of the Tourism, Culture and Sport Ministry. They are seriously considering a request from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to pour ten-million dollars into BMO Field in Toronto. So why are we still wondering how BILLIONS of Ontario tax dollars “disappeared” with the Ontario Liberal Party in power??? END CORPORATE WELFARE!!! FREE THE MUSIC!!!

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