Billboard runs a story today titled Canadian Biz Raises Concerns About Government Appointment. The article features music industry criticisms of new Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, with comments of the "fox running the chicken house" and that the appointment is "a kick in the head of Quebec for not supporting Harper." Those unwarranted criticisms suggest that Moore will not be sensitive to music industry demands since he has a broadcasting background and is not from Quebec.
Both of these criticisms are off-the-mark. First, a broadcast background increasingly appears to be a pre-requisite for the position – Josee Verner, Bev Oda, and Liza Frulla all came from the broadcast industry and no one would accuse them of siding against the music industry. Second, the notion that a Heritage minister must come from Quebec is also wrong – Sheila Copps is widely viewed as the most influential Heritage minister in recent times and she was from Hamilton.
The reality is that it is far too early to cast judgment on the appointment. Moore has indicated that the culture cuts will not be altered and the National Portrait Gallery will not be going ahead, but those are decisions that come from the top, not from the Minister. The government has also begun to shift the Canadian Heritage mandate, by moving multiculturalism to the Immigration department and by emphasizing the sport element of the department ahead of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
On the big cultural policy issues such as copyright, Moore has a chance to bring his own perspective and influence to the file by considering changes to the C-61 approach. Perhaps that is what the industry really fears – not a Minister that comes from B.C. and worked in the radio business, but rather a Minister who engages in the copyright file by doing more than just following senior officials' advice.