COLUMN: Or whatever, ya know

SOUTH DUNDAS — Progressives, no matter what level of government they are in, care about platitudes, not about how to pay for it. Case in point, Cornwall City Councillor Elaine MacDonald.

MacDonald asked city council Monday night for an additional $30,000 to fund an arts study for the city. When asked by Cornwall Newswatch’s editor Bill Kingston how it would be paid for, she stated, “From reserves or from, who knows, Progress Fund interest or whatever ya know?” Who knows? Or whatever, ya know? No. We don’t know Councillor MacDonald, and it is upsetting that you do not know either.

Look first what is being asked for, $30,000 more for an arts center study? Why does Cornwall need one? Why does any community need one? The role of government is not to promote art, help people make art, or own art. So why does government need to study art? The simple and best answer to this is, they don’t! If the councillor has $30,000 burning a hole in the municipal pocket, which she does not, it would be better spent fixing roads, sidewalks, painting lines on the Second Street bike lanes or the like. If the councillor wants Chief Financial Officer Maureen Adams to “find the best place to find $30,000”, then it should be for public works, not arts.

At budget time, there was money given to “Your Arts Council” and to “TAG Cornwall”. If the arts study was so important, it should have been fought for at budget time, and money could have gone from either of those groups would go to the art center study. What program or service in Cornwall should go without, for a study to be done on a center?

Second is this fixation by the progressives on feel good initiatives that help niche communities only. Progressives love to harp on those who are conservative minded for excluding groups, but they have written the book on catering to the smallest niche populations. The arts community is a niche community. If this study is truly needed, then let the members of that community fund it.

Spending $30,000 does not sound like a lot of money, but it is for a study. That $30,000, which Cornwall would have to find from somewhere, can go to so many more locations in the community where it will have a much bigger impact, than paying a consultant to produce a paper document.

The progressives have to learn who funds government, the people, the taxpayers. Every time a feel good idea flies into one of their heads, does not mean the wallet should be opened and it be funded.

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