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Ignatieff tries to woo artists with past work as novelist, screenwriter

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MONTREAL -- Michael Ignatieff says the Conservatives don't understand the needs of the arts community, but he does.

The Liberal leader is holding a discussion today in Montreal with representatives from the arts community.

He says out of all the party leaders, he best understands the hard work artists do, because he's the only candidate for prime minister who has written novels and screenplays.

Stephen Harper had hoped to gain more seats in the province during the 2008 election, but they faded after he made a ill-chosen comment deriding artists who were clamouring for more funding.

Referencing those remarks, Ignatieff said the Tories see culture as the private domain of elites and treat artists with contempt.

He says a Liberal government will strengthen the arts sector, which has been neglected for years under the Tories.

He pointed to commitments in his platform, from doubling the annual budget of the Canada Council for the Arts to $360 million over four years to providing CBC/Radio-Canada with stable funding.

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