It's something I hear, as you can imagine. In your constituency, as in any of them, you have organizations and artists who are supported and some who are not. The arts sector and the arts in general, I would say after having lived 36 years in that sector, is a very highly competitive sector. I used to run the National Theatre School, for which we would audition 1,500 kids to take 10 to become professional actors. It's very competitive and will remain competitive.
With the new money, what we want to do is to be able to accommodate more artists. Also, we do not want to not force artists to create organizations over and over again. We think that model is exhausted.
Right now, the Canada Council is spending 64% of all of its money to support organizations with what we call “core funding”. The minute you start the year, then 65% of the money is committed to a ballet company, galleries, and all of that infrastructure.
What we want to do over the next five years is go to a situation whereby 50% of the money will go to core-funded organizations and 50% will remain free every year for newcomers and new projects, to have more movement in the way we.... To do that means we need to put 224% more money in what we call “project grants” to make sure there will be more movement in the entire system. I think it will be successful; I think it's needed.
Again, it will remain competitive. For the new chapter program that I just mentioned—the program for the 150th—we had many applicants and recipients who are not the usual suspects, because these were only project grants, but the program was very competitive.
What I would tell people who say it's an old boys' club is that, first of all, it's not true; secondly, with the new programs, we're in new territory. With the new portal, you can create your profile, you can have a clear indication of what your eligibility is, and you can compete. There are open programs and there is more money, but you compete and prepare your application to be really good and convince the juries.
The decisions about who should get the money are made by jurors. Every year there is a rotation of probably 800 individuals coming from all over Canada who come to assess the applications, so it's not always the same people evaluating the projects.
We have, however, 16,000 clients in Canada, so it's large.