Music Canada's Graham Henderson
Music Canada's Graham Henderson

Graham Henderson Passionately Pleads For Creators

Creators are, as Percy Shelley famously said, the unacknowledged legislators of the world. By legislators, he does not mean they are lawyers or politicians. What I think he is saying is that creators predict our future, they underpin our future and they create a framework, political and cultural, for our future.

To the extent that we allow voices like that to be compromised or marginalized our democracy suffers a great loss.

Should we get used to the way things are? Well, some of our politicians and virtually the entire techno-utopian community say yes. But why should we get used to this?

The citizens who opposed the brutal child labour regimes of the first Industrial revolution did not get used to that. They fought to change them and they did change them. They changed the world for the better.

We’re in the midst of what some are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution. While it has ushered in a great boon, it has also ushered in great pains.

Mary and Percy Shelley fully understood this when they wrote "Frankenstein." They understood that the unmediated introduction of new technology into society can create monsters.

But it does not need to, not if technology is accountable to all people.

So my answer to the Minister’s question about democracy is this; if you want a stronger democracy that is less vulnerable to special interests, then do everything in your power to restore balance to the world in which our creators live. Encourage them and enable them. They are not living in the golden age.

That was the promise, but they didn’t get it. The promise was broken, and we owe it to them, now.

We would do well to remember that the fight for democracy and justice has always had a soundtrack.

-- Excerpted from Music Canada President and CEO Graham Henderson's keynote address at Canadian Music Week.

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