After spending the past several days as unlikely political poster children, Toronto's Holy F*ck has decided to speak out.

As we reported here and here, the Conservative government just announced that they're axing two programs that help musicians and other artists get their work into international markets.

They said the cuts came in part because "the money was going to fringe arts groups that, in many cases, would be at best, unrepresentative, and at worst, offensive." One of those groups was Holy F*ck.

Speaking with CBC Radio 3 and Fuse host Amanda Putz, who's filling in for Jian Gomeshi on Q, bassist Matt McQuaid said it's ridiculous that the government is pointing at them, when they received such a tiny amount for an overseas tour.

"I guess more than anything it's a little bit annoying that we've been made the scapegoat when you consider how much money we receive relative to the budget for the entire program," McQuaid said.

"So all of these other larger groups who need money more than we do to travel abroad - like ballet and symphonies - we become the scapegoat for the cutting in their funding."

McQuaid went on to say that funding programs, including FACTOR and the Canada Council, are crucial for Canadian artists."They just help to bolster Canadian artists as they're achieving their goals - whether it be music or whatever they do," he told Putz. "A lot of times people are doing things that are valuable and meaningful but not necessarily commercially viable."

Meanwhile, blogs are filling up with comments from music and art fans who are upset by the cuts.

Some are frustrated that so much is being spent on the military while cultural programs are being slashed; others are crying censorship. Still others argue that they should have simply changed who they gave funding to, rather than axing the program altogether.

Supporters of the cuts say that artists should pay their own way, or that bands with offensive names don't deserve funding.

But many, such as wattsupmikey on CBC.CA, point out that ironically, the whole kerfuffle might ultimately be good for the artists in the long run.

"WOW, what a great marketing tool. I've never heard about this band before but now I'm kind of interested in hearing their music. This is obviously going to help their career explode, such as the case was with the Barenaked Ladies when they first appeared. Ouuu, bare naked ladies, how evil."
posted by Jennifer Van Evra on Aug 13, 2008