Pablo Rodriguez’s turn to be apostrophized in the middle of a press briefing
A man who criticizes the Trudeau government for supporting Ukraine abruptly interrupted a press briefing by Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez on Friday morning in Montreal. An incident that is reminiscent of the altercation suffered by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland at the end of August in Alberta.
This time, the protester managed to enter the press conference by pretending to be a journalist. As soon as the minister spoke, the man stood up and filmed himself accusing the Canadian government of fueling “a nuclear war” by refusing to negotiate with the Russians.
The man was escorted out by the minister’s press secretary and the staff of the Golden Lion, where the announcement took place on Friday. Even if Minister Rodriguez remained impassive, this new incident still raises questions around the safety of federal elected officials. Unlike ministers in Quebec, federal government ministers are not automatically accompanied by a bodyguard.
During question period, the Minister expressed his concern that this type of event occurs more and more often during political outings. But he said he was hesitant about the idea of a bodyguard following him permanently, fearing that it would create a distance between him and the population.
« I didn’t feel threatened. On the other hand, it’s true that it raises an important point: online hate doesn’t stay online. Online hate is real hate,” he argued, recalling the importance of passing a bill to counter misinformation on social media.
$10 million for culture
Friday’s press conference was not initially about this issue. Alongside actors from the cultural community, the Minister of Heritage came to announce additional aid of $10 million to fund 59 projects across the country aimed at supporting community workers. Approximately 20% of this assistance is allocated to Quebec organizations. Some five million dollars will go to groups working across Canada, added Pablo Rodriguez.
The Minister also acknowledged that the cultural sector had been more affected than other sectors by the pandemic. » [Les projets soutenus] respond to the concrete. It responds to real challenges, such as financial management, mental health, legal assistance, career transition. Our goal is to give a helping hand to those who enrich our lives,” he explained.
On the industry side, it is hoped that this aid will make it possible to retain workers and attract new ones, while the labor shortage is hitting hard. According to Ottawa, the performing arts sector had nearly 61,000 jobs at the start of the year, 13% less than before the pandemic.
The additional $10 million is part of Canada’s Live Entertainment Worker Resilience Fund, which totals $60 million. The Alternative Music Scenes of Quebec (SMAQ), the SOCAN Foundation and the Professional Society of Authors and Composers of Quebec are among the beneficiaries of the second part of this aid fund.
The IATSE, a union that represents stage technicians, has the largest investment, at $900,000, followed by the Artists’ Foundation, which has a total of $800,000 in aid.
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