Ontario has eliminated millions of dollars in arts funding for an Indigenous Culture Fund

TORONTO - Ontario has eliminated an Indigenous Culture Fund as the government cuts tens of millions of dollars in arts funding.

The Progressive Conservative government is attempting to trim an 11.7-billion dollar deficit and is cutting spending in a number of areas.

According to recently released expenditure estimates for this fiscal year, that includes lower spending on tourism, arts and culture.

Arts sector support is cut from 18.5 million dollars to 6.5 million, and the Ontario Arts Council, which awards grants, is receiving 10 million dollars less from the government this year.

Five million dollars of that comes from axing an Indigenous Culture Fund.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler says the arts, including music and storytelling, are a very important part of Indigenous culture, and cutting this fund sends a terrible message.

Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister Michael Tibollo says the government needs to make sure its spending is sustainable.