Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from my colleague, who is also doing an absolutely phenomenal job in this area. He is an artist, a musician I very much like listening to.
The figures I cited earlier are absolutely incredible. It is often said that arts and culture are the poor cousins of the economy, but that is definitely not as a result of their impact in our communities. ACTRA estimated that the arts and culture industry in Canada injected $85 billion a year into our economy, which represents 7.4% of Canada's gross national income. That is not peanuts. People attend more shows than hockey games or anything else.
And yet it seems that artists and people who work in the cultural field are forced to spend their lives fighting for money, whether from the Minister of Canadian Heritage or from Quebec's Minister of Culture. I see that in Gatineau. It is a constant struggle, and artists always get the impression of having to beg, of being poor cousins. And yet they ultimately inject an enormous amount of money into the economy.
There are activities and shows in the Outaouais, in Gatineau, among other places. Year after year, for example, L'Outaouais en fête fights for a minuscule grant from Canadian Heritage and is unable to get it. It seems that it is asked for much bigger guarantees than what big businesses are asked for—oil companies, banks or other businesses—on the grounds that it is part of the cultural sector. And yet it is an extraordinary economic organization. It is excellent for us. It represents us in Canada, in Quebec, among other places, where culture and the arts are flourishing so well.