Proposed foreign workers bill onerous

Only rich and famous musicians would be able to perform in Canada

Dear editor,

Many of you enjoy the house concerts Gardeners Green Folk Club hosts, along with various other house concerts and small venues in the Valley, and our Island is very rich in entertainment and performance arts of all kinds.

For example, the Multicultural Society recently put on an excellent show featuring a group of Taiwanese musicians.

Most of you probably don’t know that every foreign performer entering our country already has to pay a considerable fee to the government just to be allowed to perform here.

With the government’s new proposed foreign workers bill, venues and promoters will also now have to pay a large fee to “employ” foreign performers.  This means that only rich and famous bands or musicians will be able to perform here, and only large venues who take in a lot of money will be able to put them on.

Lesser known musicians and small venues will simply not be able to afford these fees. Many musicians are barely managing to survive on what they make, and touring is very expensive in a big country like Canada, even more so when ferries are involved as well.

For fans of folk music, this legislation will certainly hit us hard. The current fees are already discouraging, but with even more fees, who is going to bother to come to Canada to share their music?

Yes, foreigners should definitely not be taking jobs that Canadians can do, including jobs at Tim Horton’s or in coal mining or banks, but the arts is an entirely different thing!

I have never heard of a Canadian musician feeling their job has been displaced by a foreign musician. On the contrary, all performers are unique, have something individual to offer us, and greatly enrich our lives and creativity.

Performers do not take jobs away from Canadians, they bring us inspiration and ideas and also increase income for businesses when they play at venues like theatres, restaurants and pubs.

Therefore they must be exempt from these outrageous fees, if we are to keep our music and performance culture rich and vibrant here in Canada!

Please check out the following website, which has all the details — http://www.checkeredowl.com/help-stop-new-government-fees-threatening-music-industry/.

Please pass this link on to your friends, and you can also send an e-mail to our MP, John Duncan, at john.duncan@parl.gc.ca.

We must make the case for an exemption for performers, so we can continue to enjoy live music from the U.S., British Isles, and anywhere in the world, here in Canada.

Summer Joy,

Merville