THE CANADA COUNCIL AS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES

Too late the philanthropy?

SANDRA GWYN December 1 1972

THE CANADA COUNCIL AS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES

Too late the philanthropy?

SANDRA GWYN December 1 1972

THE CANADA COUNCIL AS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES

Too late the philanthropy?

SANDRA GWYN

One trick we can’t seem to master in this country is how to stop our best institutions from dwindling into burned-out cases. Think of the National Film Board, for a start. Or the National Research Council. Or the CBC, though now that this one, as Larry Zolf says, is being hoisted by its own Picard, there seems to be reason to hope.

The next casualty of our lamentable tendency to let the superb fade into the mediocre could be the Canada Council. Our national cultural giveaway agency has been in alarming shape these several seasons past. Only five years ago, John Hirsch, the theatre director, was able to call it “the most enlightened and progressive subsidizing agency, public or private, on the continent” and it seemed no more than the council’s due. For a decade it had been rich uncle to practically every dedicated artist and worthwhile scholar in the land; the one federal presence even separatists — and Mordecai Richler — spoke well of.

But in the years since Expo, the council has been alternately pummeled and ignored, suffering under 1) the antagonism of its own minister, Gérard Pelletier, who in a full term as Secretary of State persisted in his belief that the council was an elitist anachronism and chipped away relentlessly at its authority; 2) the indifference of Pierre Trudeau, who put it so low on his list of priorities that he allowed it to limp through the best part of a year without a director; and 3) the rude competition of such upstart organizations as Opportunities For Youth and Local Initiatives Program, which have showered millions on the arts in the last two years while the council read about it in the papers. In bureaucratic circles, there’s no surer sign of an agency on the wane than one that can’t prevent others from trampling on its territory.

Our waning institutions have another common failing. Few have coped adequately with the loss of their father-figures; John Grierson at NFB; E. W. R. Steacie at NRC; Davidson Dunton at CBC. At the council, troubles peaked early in 1971, when Peter Dwyer, the elegant visionary who for 13 years had been its driving force, suffered a stroke so serious that he was forced to retire.

Yet the decline set in much earlier. Centennial and Expo were in a way the council’s crowning achievements, measures of what the talent it had unleashed could achieve. Soon afterward the council ceased to be ahead of its time. Powerful new forces — regionalism, nationalism, rock culture with its hippies and video freaks — began forcing profound changes on traditional art forms. The council, after a decade of pushing wits, bluff and creative energy to the limit, no longer had the strength — or more important, the conviction — to respond. Even its style, a kind of admixture of sherry and selfdeprecating irony, was at variance with the love and maple

syrup spirit of the emerging populist nationalism.

There are hints, tentative ones as yet, that the council may just manage a comeback. The old star quality has probably gone forever but some of the old self-confidence may be restored. Council members themselves have demanded and obtained some important changes. There is a new' director, André Fortier, a 45-year-old career civil servant with good connections, who’s come to the job free of preconceived ideas. The going won’t be easy but the attempt has to be made. At stake is much more than a $40-million-a-year cultural program. The issue is the shape and direction of the arts in Canada and, less directly, our scholarship.

Artists in Canada should live and work in dignity ... increasingly, the society in which they live and work k should by constant exposure and involvement come to value them for the grace they lend to our existence and for the healthy irritants they provide to our complacencies.” So Peter Dwyer, in one of his last speeches as director, described his and his agency’s philosophy. Eloquent — but a little dated these days, what with culture having become a good deal safer than motherhood and the National Arts Centre occupying as much prime Ottawa real estate as the Parliament Buildings. Back in the Fifties, though, ideas like these could unhinge governments. John Diefenbaker’s war cry, “$100 million for eggheads; six bucks for old-age pensioners,” turned out to be a pretty accurate reflection of ho\v most Canadians felt in the era of Kitimat and the trans-Canada pipeline, about handing taxpayers’ money over to the kind of people who “danced in their underwear on the CBC.”

Not that the St. Laurent Liberals, who’d created the council as almost their last act in office, had exactly flung their caps over the Peace Tower. In 1951, the Massey commissioners, that pioneer committee for an independent Canada, had told us that “arts and letters lie at the roots of our life as a nation,” and had argued powerfully that these roots oughCto be forcefed with public funds. The Liberals sat on the Massey Report for six years, until a pair of multimillionaires, Sir James Dunn and Isaak Walton Killam, died a few months apart, conveniently leaving $100 million in death duties. It was decided that these legacies should be passed on to the arts and the universities. The council that administered them would consist of a 21-member board, with representatives from every province, serving three-year terms. A small secretariat in Ottawa would handle day-to-day operations. (Predictably, the secretariat became as influential as the board — and sometimes more so.)

The Liberals did all they could to shroud the raffish arts operations of the council with a smoke screen of academic and corporate respectability. Half the money went into a capital

grants fund, to build more groves for academe. The interest on the other $50 million — about three million dollars a year, thanks to the skillful investment policies of Douglas Fullerton, then council treasurer, now chairman of the National Capital Commission — was divided, more or less equally, among artists and scholars. The council itself was anchored by university presidents, with E. P. Taylor, Samuel Bronfman and Georges Vanier as ballast. Lest anyone still think it dangerous, the government appointed two pillars of the establishment as chief officers: ex-Defense Minister Brooke Claxton as chairman and Albert Trueman, sometime president of two universities (Manitoba and New Brunswick) as full-time director.

Anyone who looked closely, though, could find at least one thing about the council that was pretty revolutionary: the section in its Act that read, “The Canada Council is not an agent of Her Majesty.” Translated, this meant that the council was not directly responsible to the government in power. However unpromising the political and cultural climate of the day, the council was free to play the futures any way it chose. This freedom was unique in North America.

Investing the academic funds was easy: the money was assigned to the cosseting and training of platoons of professors to fill all the new campuses suddenly springing up. The arts were trickier. “Do we water the field?” asked Peter Dwyer, who was brought in to set up the arts program early in 1958, “Or the flower?” Should the council, in other words, play Johnny Appleseed to the grass roots, by subsidizing amateur theatres, local choral societies and high-school bands — many of which in the late Fifties, come to think of it, were as close to Art as anything else we had. Or should it seize the moment of Stratford, which then had just emerged from its tent, and gamble that a handful of Canadian ventures might someday aspire to excellence? Limit its support, that is, to professionals, who had no political friends and a decided tendency to be obstreperous.

The council gambled. Much of the cultural richness we now take almost for granted stems from that lonely, nervy decision. There were a few disasters: the council never had much luck, for instance, in getting theatre off the ground in Toronto. In 1962, Civic Square Theatre, a refurbished burlesque house across from City Hall, went down the drain after two productions — with $ 10,000 of the council’s money. Seven years later, $250,000 had vanished via Canadian Crest Players Foundation, an ill-starred merger of the Crest Theatre and the Canadian Players, and Theatre Toronto. Even so, by the mid-Sixties, Stratford had been joined by a network of regional theatres stretching from the Neptune in Halifax to the Playhouse in Vancouver. We were into an extraordinary, if shortlived, boom in painting and sculpture. Our orchestras and ballet companies were beginning to turn up on international billboards. More important, the fifth or so of its budget the council set aside for grants to individuals without asking too many questions about exactly how they intended to spend the money, had bought time for virtually every serious artist in Canada — with the notable, noisy exceptions of painter Harold Town and novelist Robertson Davies, who never asked, and novelist Martin Myers (The Assignment) who asked but was found wanting.

What made all this possible was the council’s almost evangelical sense of mission. The profile was kept deliberately low, the staff miniscule. For eight years, Dwyer and a single assistant ran the whole arts show. But word eventually got out that up in Ottawa, behind windows that had the best view in town of the Changing of the Guard, dwelt an organization that actually believed that an artist was as valuable a member of society as a businessman or a doctor or a lawyer. “Gee, all this for the artsT’ marveled Leonard Cohen in 1961, pointing at the council’s rows of bulging filing cabinets.

Equally novel was the council’s practice, long before par-

MICHAEL FOSTER

ticipatory democracy was heard of, of asking artists to help shape policy. Sometimes this happened over conciliatory martinis at the Chateau Laurier; occasionally at decorous conferences, most often through meetings of the 18-member advisory panel of working artists and uproarious sessions called “Soundings” when, Dwyer recalls, “Two or three of us would make a foray into Toronto, say, or Montreal or Winnipeg; book a couple of hotel rooms; set up a bar and then stand back and let all the painters or writers or theatre people in town blast away at us.”

Early on, Dwyer’s constituents had come to think of the urbane, silver-haired Englishman with the perpetually worried expression more as saint than as patron; a man, Kildare Dobbs wrote, who “combined graceful connoisseurship with the courage and reflexes of a master spy.” Master spy meant precisely that. From 1939 to 1949 Dwyer was a British Intelligence agent; in My Silent War (1968) Kim Philby, the fellow agent who went over to Moscow, credits him with the “brilliant piece of deduction” that put the finger on atomic spy Klaus Fuchs.

Dwyer emigrated to Canada in 1949, and after stints with the NRC and the Privy Council’s security panel, jumped at the chance to join the fledgling Canada Council. There, as is so often the case with people who are genuinely creative, Dwyer functioned best and was happiest one step removed from the top; first as Arts Supervisor, later as Associate Director. (For Dwyer, the directorship when it finally came to him in 1969, was less an accolade than a burden. “I think I’m a victim of the Peter principle,” he told a colleague ruefully, just weeks before the stroke that ended his career when he was only 57.)

During the Sixties, while others ran political and administrative interference, Dwyer became the council’s conscience and its philosopher-wit, a kind of Max Beerbohm-on-the-Rideau, who began a serious essay on the state of Canadian theatre by quoting a young patron, “What I liked best was tearing up the program and dropping it on the people’s heads”; who told an arts conference, “Good Lord deliver us from the artists who feel they should be recognized before they have even been noticed, from critics who have not even understood the program notes, from perpetual students who would like to study in France and in Italy and in vain . . .” One morning a decade ago Dwyer strode into an Ottawa beauty salon and pressed an airline ticket into the hand of a very young, very shy manicurist. For Maria Pellegrini, that council-sponsored trip — to Toronto, to audition at the Royal Conservatory of Music — was the first step on a road that led to a contract at London’s Covent Garden Opera, and this fall home again to sing Aida for the Canadian Opera Company. For Dwyer it was a characteristic gesture. He had for artists an empathy that was unique. His first reaction to almost any artist’s request was not “What’s this guy trying to pull off?” but “How can we help?”

After the first few years, the focus of the council’s concern shifted from whom to support to how to find enough money to support the artistic expectations its success had aroused. “Like Mardain the Eunuch,” said Dwyer, “we have fierce affections but can do nothing.” The solution appeared with Jean Boucher, a tough-minded, loquacious civil servant who succeeded Trueman as director in 1965. By literally camping on the Pearson government’s doorstep, he emerged triumphant with a $ 10-million grant, to be followed by annual appropriations from parliament. Since then, the council’s budget has jumped to $40 million from its original three million.

There was a price to be paid. Never mind what its Act said, the council had moved much closer to being an Agent of Her Majesty. Because the bulk of its money /continued on page 82

André Fortier, director of the Canada Council (background painting is Marcel Barbeau’s Rétine, Eh Bon YieuJ: “Any trace of an elitist image still clinging to us will have to go. ”

CANADA COUNCIL from page 28 was coming out of regular government funds the council had to endure an annual inquisition by the Treasury Board, and for the first time its policies could be directly questioned in the House. “That’s the difference,” Boucher shrugged, “between being poor but proud and rich but vulnerable.” Rich in influence it was certainly becoming; the Golden Age of Official Culture, of an arts palace in every city and a ticket to the ballet in every hand, of Expo and the Centennial, was at hand. Over it all, the council presided with its Midas touch.

Just when you think you have it all, it

starts to fade away. The council had never set out to please everybody. In the sour, post-Expo hangover it was suddenly pleasing practically nobody. A pair of quirky grants made in 1968 ($3,500 to Vancouver’s self-styled Town Fool, Joachim Foikis, and $284 travel expenses to action painter. Ralph Ortiz, who used it to chop up a piano and douse it with cow’s blood) raised howls of protest that found their way into Hansard. The worst ruckus came in 1969, when the council refused to back down from its $5,500 fellowship to McGill University’s house Marxist,

Stanley Gray. “A reward to a man dedicated to the destruction of our institutions,” was the way former cabinet minister Walter Dinsdale described it, and his outrage was echoed in editorials across the country.

These attacks deepened a sense of unease that had already set in. “After 1967,” says David Silcox, former senior arts officer, now Associate Dean of Fine Arts at York University, “the council threw away the chance to articulate new directions for itself, and for the arts. Instead, we started floundering around.”

The council was slow to recognize that its constituency had changed. The great pioneers to whom it had been tender comrade-in-art — the Celia Francas; the Herman Geiger-Torels; the Jean Gascons — were all at once the older generation. To 25-year-olds deep into conceptual art, exploring film and video tape, to the new breed of made-in-Canada playwrights setting up tiny theatres in back-street warehouses, the council had become almost indistinguishable from the rest of the establishment, the kind of organization that could hand out $600,000 to the National Ballet without batting an eye, but couldn’t scrape up a nickel for them. “The era of easy informality is over,” wrote critic Richard Simmins in the Vancouver Province. In its place there was bitter talk about “grantsmanship” and “having to know the right people.”

No longer an initiator, the council had become, in the late Nathan Cohen’s phrase, “an angel for vested interests.” By 1970 it was spending upward of $ 10million a year on the arts (this year, it’s $15 million), but so much of this money was going to support the skyrocketing demands of the established symphonies, theatres and ballet companies its own policies had brought into being that there was next to nothing'left for the new and untried. In the austerity years 1969-71, the council intended to economize by trimming the budget of the biggest companies: Stratford, the National Ballet and so on. But their supporters mounted such a powerful protest lobby that, instead, grants to senior individual artists were canceled for a year, and the inventive theatre arts development program permanently discontinued.

That decision, as far as the staffs most activist member was concerned, signaled “game over.” In August 1970, David Silcox, who developed the council’s $90,000 art collection (sold last year td the Department of External Affairs for $150,000) and pioneered the annual coast-to-coast traveling visual arts jury, quit. Within weeks, another council live wire. Theatre Officer Jean Roberts, followed suit. Silcox’s departure in particular, because of the unparalleled network of countrywide contacts he took with him, left a gaping hole. His replacement, continued on page 84

CANADA COUNCIL continued Montreal painter and art teacher Suzanne Rivard-Lemoyne, was long on enthusiasm and bright ideas, but painfully short on knowledge of the paintingsculpture scene outside Quebec. David Gardner, the stage and television director (Quentin Durgens) who succeeded Jean Roberts, spent an agonizing year looking for ways to support non-established theatres before he resigned last spring.

Those who remained, miserably ensconced in plush new philodendron-encrusted offices overlooking the Sparks Street Mall, began to feel more and more like an executive whose telephone has suddenly vanished. By this time, lines of communication between the council and the minister responsible for it, Secretary of State Gérard Pelletier, were virtually nonexistent.

Pelletier had come to his portfolio in 1968 with the zeal of an intellectual reformer, determined to shake up the cultural agencies that came under his command. “The middle class,” he said, “builds itself certain cultural instruments with the money of everyone and is using them for its own profit and enjoyment. But some of the shareholders have no access to the benefits. Our aim is to democratize the arts.” Democratic culture, a bridge across the generation gap, was an idea whose time had come. But Pelletier frequently implemented it with needless brutality. “You should know that I have small respect for senior civil servants,” he told one cultural agency head, at their first meeting.

The core of the problem was a conflict of cultural traditions. As Pelletier saw it, culture was a sociopolitical tool. His concept mirrored that of André Malraux in France and was drawn, more directly, deep from the psyche of Quebec, where politics pervades almost every social act from hockey games to symphony concerts. In Pelletier’s scenario, the federal

cultural agencies — the Film Board, the National Gallery, the national museums as well as the Canada Council — were to become arms of the body politic, implementing decisions taken by the minister and his staff. This notion clashed head on with the British-derived principle all these agencies had been founded upon, that of delegated responsibility, with the agencies forming a nonpolitical buffer state between government and client.

Pelletier’s strategy was to circumvent the council. He hardly ever asked for its advice, and sat down with its members precisely once in four years. Some individual staff members could influence him, notably Naim Kattan, the Literary Arts Officer and a former colleague on La Presse, who this year convinced the minister that the council ought to administer the new one-million-dollar fund for aid to publishing. But most new programs were channeled through freshly created bureaucracies, as was the case with the $9.5 million program for cross-country museum expansion set up under the Canadian Museums Corporation earlier this year.

Rather than grasp the initiative and try to meet Pelletier halfway, the council’s response was to retreat into itself, harping on its independence, nursing memories of past glories. Dwyer’s stroke in April 1971 (he retired formally eight months later) created a vacuum at the top at the worst possible time. Within weeks, Opportunities For Youth and later the Local Initiatives Program began lavishing money on cultural projects. Close to 20% of OFY’s budget went for these; Local Initiatives alone spent nearly as much on theatre last season — well over two million dollars — as did the council. Here the real damage was not so much to the council’s self-esteem as to what David Gardner describes as “the ecology of grant-giving.” The council’s standards were those of excellence,

professionalism and continuity. The new grants, awarded to groups with idealistic intentions and job-creating potential, made a mockery of those criteria and raised expectations that couldn’t be fulfilled. “Put yourself in my place,” Gardner said to me, “asking some struggling company to hang in there, maybe we can scrape up $5,000 next season, when they knew and I knew that Sudbury Little Theatre, say, had just got $115,000 from LIP.”

While all of this was going on in the council’s arts program, the academic side of the council had got itself into equally bad shape.

It rarely makes news, but in fact the bulk of the council’s money — this year, some $21 million — goes into supporting university research in the humanities and social sciences. The central programs are the doctoral fellowships, worth $11 million, and the $5.4 million available as grants-in-aid for scholarly projects. Designed for the gung-ho Sixties, when education meant salvation, both programs have now come under fierce questioning, born of a growing feeling inside the council as well as out that a great deal of academic research is now visibly off the track.

On the rough thesis that PhDs know best, the council’s academic policy has always been to respond to its academic clients, not to suggest a direction their research might take, nor even to evaluate their completed work. Thus while officials can come up with any amount of quantitative data — to show, for instance, that historians tend to get the most grants, sociologists and psychologists the most cash — they have remarkably little information about what all these historians and sociologists and psychologists (and economists and anthropologists and political scientists) are actually up to. “The result of councilsupported research remains the intellectual property of the researcher,” one inquiring journalist was told early in 1971. “Inasmuch as the published reports of scholarly research are not normally of interest to the general public, the material does not find its way into the bookstores.”

Quite aside from the question of accountability, in the sense of the public’s right to know how its money is being spent, the other critical cry raised against the council’s program is that of relevance. In part, this is just a revival of traditional yahoo grumbling, yet for all the admirable projects it underwrites a measurable amount of council-supported research, as a number of its own members will admit, is simply mediocre (trivia tarted up with jargon) or else selfserving (its main result being to advance not the state of knowledge but the career of the researcher).

An agonizing reappraisal is underway

continued on page 86

CANADA COUNCIL continued inside the council. A development section has been established and multidisciplinary teams are being organized to review the content of existing councilsupported research and identify neglected areas. It may be, though, that the council’s academic problems will simply disappear. The government is considering shifting this activity to a new research-granting board that would take over similar responsibilities from the National Research Council.

Whatever happens, academics increasingly will have to justify their grants less as a right than a privilege, earned in return for benefits to society. “One expected miracles from social science, and up to now one has been disappointed,” Pelletier told the council last February, warning at the same time that without some substantive arguments he could not plead the case for program increases before cabinet.

To cure these ills, the government set as its first priority the seeking of a director to succeed Dwyer, someone with academic clout. Last winter and spring, the position was dangled in front of a string of university bigwigs, notably Davidson Dunton and Claude Bissell. All turned it down, a measure perhaps of the council’s dimmed prestige. By late May, when the Prime Minister’s Office at last announced that the new director was André Fortier, Assistant Under Secretary of State in charge of matters cultural, the council had drifted leaderless for nearly 14 months.

In some ways, Fortier was an unlikely choice to lead the council out of the wilderness. As Pelletier’s chief cultural adviser, he’d had a hand in shaping the very policies that threatened its survival. As director, he lacks his predecessors’ strengths: Dwyer’s vision and profound knowledge of the arts; Boucher’s “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” assurance; Albert Trueman’s lordly public presence. Fortier’s background is as statistician and administrator. He is an outgoing, unpretentious man who talks enthusiastically of “services” and “sectors.” Perhaps because he came up the bureaucratic ranks the hard way, in the days when the odds were against young men from the wrong side of Montreal tracks who arrived in Ottawa not knowing a word of English, there is a hint of vulnerability in his manner, and he looks older than his 45 years.

Yet the council's staff greeted Fortier’s appointment with unconcealed delight; the arts community breathed a collective sigh of relief. Earlier in his career, Fortier had put in four years as a senior council official and had built up a store of contacts and goodwill. More to the immediate point, after 20 years in the bureaucracy, Fortier knew how and when to shake the money tree.

I Fortier’s spell in Pelletier’s depart-

ment has profoundly influenced his thinking. “Any trace of an elitist image clinging to us,” he says, “will have to go.” His strategy, in his first six months as director, boiled down to: cultural democracy, here we come.

OFY and LIP are cases in point. A political realist, Fortier has decided somewhat regretfully that it’s too late for the council to move in and take over their cultural components. Instead, he plans to develop alternate programs within the council, designed to provide work for unemployed and underemployed artists, and at the same time maintain standards of excellence and continuity. In other words, a kind of up-dated, Canadian version of WPA projects for artists under the New Deal.

Another tactic, effective next April 1, is to move the council into the modish fields of cultural and social animation. On September 19, at its quarterly meeting, the council acted on a report prepared by two young Turks appointed by Pelletier — University of Quebec sociologist Marquida Riel and Laval psychologist André Paré — and established a million-dollar fund designed to bring arts and academe closer to the grass roots. The new program, as yet unnamed, will absorb the two-year-old Canadian Horizons program, a $300,000 attempt to support popular biographies, oral histories and the like, which faltered when the council couldn’t agree on what kind of selection standards to apply. The new thrust will be experimental. “We will have to find new ways of judging things,” Fortier told me. “For too long, we’ve been turning down exciting ideas because they didn’t fit into our existing programs.” As a preview, he points to a $19,465 grant awarded in September to Vancouver artist-communicator Michael Goldberg, who plans to use it to set up a storefront video tape theatre and information service.

One problem for Fortier, as the council spreads its wings, is to find a way of getting the big money devourers — orchestras, ballet companies, large regional theatres — off his back. As he sees it, it’s high time private industry took up part of the slack. Specifically, he intends to apply some polite nationalist pressure to the big multi-national corporations. “If 10 of them,” he says, “could be persuaded to come up with one million dollars a year each, the worst of our difficulties would be solved.” As a sweetener, Fortier is prepared to offer the council’s services to administer any such donations.

Another remodeling job that will require tact is that of making the council’s own staff more representative of its constituency. Five out of six senior arts officers, beginning with Fortier, are francophones. Ironically, this linguistic imbalance occurred because the council continued on page 88

CANADA COUNCIL continued has long been Ottawa’s most successful, and for many years almost its only, bilingual agency. As early as 1957, receptionists answered the phone, “Canada Council — Conseil des Arts.” While this prescience produced an extraordinarily fruitful relationship with the artists and scholars of Quebec (if rarely with les hauts fonctionnaires of that province’s Ministry of Cultural Affairs) it’s also produced, particularly since the departure of Silcox and Dwyer, increasingly shaky relations with the anglophone arts community. The problem has not been one of language alone but of different sets of cultural references and goals. Probably the only way out, Fortier admits, is a system of twin staffs with an anglophone and francophone officer for each discipline.

Fortier is undoubtedly doing his best to put the council back together. But even his friends are unsure whether the initiatives he’s taking will be enough and, more to the point, whether the idea behind them is sound. Substituting the public for the artist as the principal focus of attention raises the danger that the pursuit of the trendy (video tape animation; doing something for the Indians) will replace the council’s old tradition of pursuing excellence for its sweet sake.

It may take a very different kind of Canada Council to come to terms with the art, and lifestyle, of the Seventies, a metamorphosis that Fortier, as an old council hand and career civil servant, may find hard to achieve. The fact is that excellence is getting harder and harder to define. The classic demarcation lines between one art form and another, between amateur and professional, between performers and audience are less and less valid. The council tradition of a single policy applied across the board (which reflected the High Art assumption that there was a single standard of artistic good taste) is out of date. Some shareholders, as Pelletier put it, “have no access to the benefits.” Quite apart from video freaks and Little Theatre leaguers, an area like Newfoundland, say, is bursting with creative potential, but because almost none of it is High Art the province gets next to nothing out of council programs. (Council grants amount almost to reverse equalization payments to Toronto, Montreal and similar cosmopolitan capitals.)

What the council needs to do is to find a way to satisfy quantity, which is what' the public and politicians want, without sacrificing quality, which is what the arts need; a way, to rephrase Dwyer, of watering the field without treading on the flowers. It’s a tough challenge for Fortier and the council. I give them a 40% chance of pulling it off. Which is what I gave Team Canada - before they went to Moscow. ■