OTTAWA – The Canada Council for the Arts announced a controversial new grant in hopes of branching out into new media while leaving the future of Canadian theatre uncertain. The funding previously allocated to live stage productions has been cut in favour of providing pet owners who share photos and videos of their pets wearing hats with over $50,000 to expand their social reach.
“It has come to our attention that there are upwards of a million people using Instagram.ca to see pets wearing hats, which is significantly more than the demand for live Canadian theatre,” director and CEO Simon Brault said in a press conference earlier today.
The Council’s announcement has been met with mixed reviews from pet owners who operate pets in hats accounts. Theresa Aird, a Dartmouth woman who runs @sombrero_dog_69, was initially thrilled by the news only to learn that her account won’t meet the Council’s strict guidelines. “To qualify for the grant, your content needs to be uniquely Canadian. And since my dog is a German shepherd who wears a Mexican hat, I have to choose between making my dog wear toques instead of sombreros or keep funding this operation out of pocket.”
Even in the event that Aird decides to overhaul her brand to make it compliant with the new grant’s guidelines, the application process isn’t as simple as “swiping up.” Brault told reporters at the press conference today that to apply for funding, influencers would have to fax their Instagram accounts to the Council for consideration.
Shortly after the Canada Council for the Arts press conference concluded, the Stratford Festival issued a press release announcing the cast of The Tempest has been replaced with a litter of Labrador retriever puppies wearing Molson Canadian trucker hats.