Friday, October 12, 2007

Five culture ministers in Ontario in 7 years

With the defeat* of Caroline Di Cocco in Wednesday's Ontario election, the Culture Ministry is again without a minister. She was the 5th culture minister in 7 years!

Many of them have had their training wheels on; for most, it was a way-station in their ambition for higher office.

If you wanted an indication of the relative low-level concern that Queen's Park places on the culture file you need only look at the record:

Caroline Di Cocco (Liberal) April 5, 2006 - October 10, 2007
Madeleine Meilleur (Liberal)Oct 23, 2003 - April 5, 2006
Dave Tsubouchi (Conservative)April 15, 2002 - Oct 2, 2003
Tim Hudak (Conservative) February 08, 2001 — April 14, 2002
Helen Johns (Conservative) June 17, 1999 - February 8, 2001

There has even been disagreement about what to call the ministry, and whether it should be grafted onto other concerns.

Ministry of Culture (2002 - present)
Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Recreation (2001-2002)
Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation (1995-2001)
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation (1993-1995)
Ministry of Culture and Communications (1987-1993)

There is a lot of lip service paid to the importance of culture. But if symbolism is important, the message being sent to the magazine industry (more than half of the Canadian industry is in Ontario) and to other cultural industries is not a very encouraging one. Any guesses on who will replace Di Cocco? Click on Comments, below.

*(Her defeat apparently had nothing to do with her portfolio; she took the fall for a hospital cost overrun in her Sarnia-Lambton riding.)


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