Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood has widened the library debate, accusing Mayor Rob Ford of waging a war on creative Torontonians that risks losing festivals and conventions to other cities.
In an interview with the Toronto Star on Monday, Atwood said Ford’s refusal to take library cuts off the table ‘ after his councillor brother Doug said he wants to close branches ‘ and apparent eagerness to eliminate the city’s arts grants programs are part of a pattern with financial risks for the city.
“Expressing contempt for creative people turns people away from Toronto as a venue, and that’s a pretty serious consideration. If you’re thinking of having a convention, you’re thinking of having a concert, you’re thinking of going to a festival, and that’s the attitude?
“I’m sure Hamilton or Burlington or Oshawa would be very happy if some of those festivals and conventions moved there. Why shouldn’t I spend my creative dollar in New York if I’m not welcome in Toronto?”
“My question to the council would be: ‘Are people like me welcome in this city?’”