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My letter to Michael Ignatieff

Eh, voila: me writing to Michael Ignatieff.

Hi, Michael.

Suggestions for the economy:

How about some infrastructure spending that will put money into the hands of Canadians who will spend it, while paying dividends across the country, and especially in Quebec?

I recommend increasing support to artists.

1. Change income tax provisions to exempt royalty income (to a fixed limit of, say, $20,000). This puts money in the hands of those who don’t have a lot of it, which means it gets spent right away. Model the exemption on the Quebec example – a strategy that makes Quebecers feel good, because once again they are showing the ROC how things should be done.

2. Increase the overall budget of the Canada Council. Again, put more money in the hands of those who need it and so immediately spend it. This also clearly differentiates the Liberals from the Harperites.

3. Within the monies flowing through Heritage to the Council, target a specific amount to increase the Public Lending Right program (, which has been losing ground steadily since Marcel Masse made it a reality almost 25 years ago. Again, here you get a high-profile return, both economically and politically, for a relatively small expenditure. Full disclosure: I am currently serving as vice-chairman of the PLR Commission. Also true: I am doing so because I believe the PLR is important.

Sincere best wishes,

Ken McGoogan


Ken McGoogan
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Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.