After being thrown into an ugly government-funding debate, Torontos Holy Fuck have finally broken their silence. As we reported previously here and here, the Conservatives singled out the band last week when the Stephen Harper government decided to axe the $4.7-million PromArt program, which gave artists such as Holy Fuck grants to go abroad to promote Canadian culture. The cuts came in part because the recipients were "not exactly the foot that most Canadians would want to see put forward" and because "the money was going to fringe arts groups that, in many cases, would be at best, unrepresentative, and at worst, offensive."
While speaking with the CBC, Holy Fuck bassist Matt McQuaid said it was "silly" for the Tories to target the band, considering they only received $3,000 from PromArt to go for a week-long UK tour in 2007.
"I guess more than anything it's a little bit annoying that we've been made the scapegoat when you consider how much money we received relative to the budget for the entire program," McQuaid said. "So, all of these other larger groups who need money more than we do to travel abroad like ballet and symphonies we become the scapegoat for the cutting into their funding."
McQuaid went on to tell the CBC he realized how the bands name could make them an easy target but said, considering they were nominated for this years $20,000 Polaris Prize and other awards, he doesnt understand how supporters of the cuts could say they and other artists arent mainstream enough.
"We've been nominated for a Juno Award that's as mainstream as you get for popular music in Canada," he said. "That argument falls flat in our case and from what I've read for a lot of other people as well."
McQuaid also said other programs such as FACTOR and the Canada Council are crucial for the success of Canadian artists. "They just help bolster Canadian artists as they're achieving their goals whether it be music or whatever they do," he said. "A lot of times people are doing things that are valuable and meaningful but not necessarily commercially viable."
The PromArt program is set to end March 31, 2009, while a second program, the $9-million Trade Routes program, which helps cultural groups prepare to export and sell in international markets, is also set to be cut.