Professional Musicians Union Demands Apology from Lethbridge MP for Defamatory Comments Against Canadian Musicians

Canadian Federation Of Musicians Reacts To Comments Made By The Honourable Rachel Harder, MP

For Immediate Release – June 9, 2021, Toronto, ON – Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) is calling for a public apology from Rachael Harder, Member of Parliament for derogatory comments lobbied against Canadian musicians in her objections to Bill C-10.In an article published by the Lethbridge Herald, Ms. Harder is quoted singling out Quebec musicians suggesting they manipulate the Liberal government to bring about funding for artistic projects because they are not otherwise able to make a living.

Ms. Harder is on record stating the following:

“These artists (many of whom originate in Quebec) are not able to make a living of what they are producing so they require grants that are given to them by the government. And so these little, niche lobby groups composed of outdated artists are going to the Liberal government and asking them to charge these large streaming companies in order to bring about more money to put into these grant funds so these outdated artists can then apply for that money so they can continue to create material Canadians don’t want to watch.”

Bill C-10 amends The Broadcast Act to allow CRTC to compel foreign streaming services to follow regulatory obligations similar to existing radio and television policies. Bill C-10 would ensure that profit distribution of cultural content of the CRTC and contribute to the funding and development of that content.

“It is clear Ms. Harder has no experience or actual data as to what artists are seeking to accomplish with Bill C-10,” said Alan Willaert, Vice-President from Canada, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. “This Bill is intended to level the playing field for musicians whose earning potential has been decimated by a system weighted to pay only the highest stream earners. Canadian musicians have the right to exercise their inalienable rights to fair compensation for both their work and intellectual property which has been severely effected by the imbalance of antiquated laws and big tech greed”.

As an elective official, the CFM believes Ms. Harder is held to a higher standard of Canadian pride, and that pride should include support, development and encouragement of the artists who tell our stories and protect our culture on the world stage.

“So many of our artists have become world-famous, not in small part due to Canadian Content initiatives,” continued Mr. Willaert. “To degrade their contributions, to belittle and to suggest that their efforts are unworthy and unwanted is beyond comprehension and at the very least demands a retraction”.

An open letter was sent by the CFM to the Ms. Harder on June 7, 2021. The full document is available HERE.

The Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) is the Canadian National Office of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM). We are made up of 200 local offices across North America, collectively representing 80,000 professional musicians, 17,000 of whom live and work in Canada. CFM is uniquely positioned to address Canadian issues and provides vital resources for Canadian musicians, at any stage in their careers.

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