A historic meeting with the Minister of Canadian Heritage
For the first time, on November 9, a pan-Canadian delegation representing the entire circus arts sector met with Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault in a videoconference.
Fourteen leaders from Canada's diverse circus communities, brought together by En Piste, came together to defend the interests of the community. They called for increased support from the federal government as well as a government action plan that will address the major issues in all areas of the sector and support its recovery throughout Canada.
Christine Bouchard (En Piste, Montreal, Quebec), presented the overall situation of the sector and moderated the meeting.
Training and talent development was discussed by Éric Langlois, (National Circus School, Montreal, Quebec), Annie Dugan, (Firefly Theatre and Circus, Edmonton, Alberta) and Mike Hirschbach (Halifax Circus, Nova Scotia).
Holly Treddenick (Femmes du feu, Toronto, Ontario), Yamoussa Bangoura (Productions Kalabanté, Montreal, Quebec) and Saali Kuata (Tupiq A.C.T., Kuujjuak, Nunavik) proudly represented the vitality, creation and innovation of the circus arts.
Stéphane Lavoie (TOHU, Montreal, Quebec), Anahareo Doelle (Productions Wonderbolt and St. John's International CircusFest, Newfoundland and Labrador) and Vincent Messager (Dolce Vita spectacles, Montreal, Quebec) were present to address market development and dissemination methods.
Karine Lavoie (Cirque Hors Piste, Montreal, Quebec) and Dean Bareham (Green Fools Theatre, Calgary, Alberta) shared the task of presenting social circus as an agent of transformation.
Finally, Marie-Claude Bouillon (Luna Caballera, Chaudières-Appalaches, Quebec) and Yannick Mainville (Circus Stella, Moncton, New Brunswick) demonstrated our need for structuring and public financing.
During the hour-long conversation, the Minister was attentive to the urgent and diverse needs of our sector, exacerbated by the impacts of the pandemic. We warmly thank him and his cabinet for this enriching meeting. We will need the support of all our partners to overcome the crisis facing our community.
We leave you with these inspiring words from our President, Marie-Claude Bouillon:
"I am truly elated and moved to have seen my community standing up, alive, ready, and above all united. In front of us, there was sensitivity, listening and understanding, even if times are difficult. I don't know what the future will bring, but we are strong and resilient, and most of all, together!”