Host of Shen Yun calls on Premier to intervene and revoke Minister's decision to cancel shows at the Jubilee Auditorium and work toward a resolution
MWC: Calgary – The local host of Shen Yun is calling on Premier Allison
Redford to intervene:to revoke the Alberta Culture Minister's decision
to cancel the shows at the Auditoria, that the Alberta government not
give in to foreign influence by the Chinese Communist government, and
act committedly to resolve this issue in the interest of Albertans and
As the organizers of the performances by Shen Yun in Calgary, which
Culture Minister Heather Klimchuck noted enjoys a “tremendous
reputation” in Alberta, the Falun Dafa Association of Calgary was
dismayed by the poor behaviour of the theatre management towards Shen
Yun over the last three years, and the unwillingness on the part of both
senior theatre management and the minister’s office to meet and address
However, the recent conduct of Minister Klimchuck in response to the
group’s concerns being made public is really beyond the pale and calls
into question whose interests the Minister is serving.
Calgary local host of Shen Yun brought to light serious and valid
concerns with the conduct of management at the Southern Alberta Jubilee
Auditorium, and did so only after nearly a dozen failed attempts over
the last three years to meet with the Minister, and after repeatedly
being rudely rebuffed by theatre management, including Ms. Katherine
Minister Klimchuck responded to the publication of the concerns not
by finally agreeing to take the time to meet with the group, but by
scolding the group for having raised the matter publicly, cancelling
Shen Yun performance in Calgary, and further punishing Shen Yun
organizers by cancelling the confirmed dates for the Shen Yun
performances in Edmonton (which are hosted by a separate organizer, no
less). Moreover, the minister went further by misleading the public in
interviews about the nature of the concerns and about the communication
the group had had with her office—suggesting the group had not tried
first to meet personally with her, when in fact we had made numerous
“This is not the conduct of someone fit to lead the Ministry of
Culture and Community Spirit, and accordingly we are calling on the
premier to intervene in the matter and to work with us to resolve it,”
said Jenny Yang, spokesperson for the Falun Dafa association of Calgary.
“Minister Klimchuck’s conduct also makes less convincing her
assertion that there is “no linkage whatsoever” between her actions and
pressure received from the Chinese consulate in Calgary,” said Yang,
“We were made aware that the minister’s office had received pressure to
end our show in Calgary. Since that time the treatment by management
towards Shen Yun and our association has rapidly deteriorated. On
several occasions, management has encouraged us to cancel our show, and
the Minister has now taken that step herself”.
“Minister Klimchuck’s behaviour is not that of someone who genuinely
wants to resolve this issue in the interest of the public and all
involved. She appears eager to put a stop to a show that even she
acknowledges has a great reputation among Albertans,” said Jenny Yang.
“Who is Minister Klimchuck pleasing? It doesn’t benefit the Jubilee. And
it doesn’t help the image of Alberta as a cultural destination. The
thousands of Albertans who enjoy Shen Yun each year can’t’ be pleased
either. Probably the only ones pleased to see the show cancelled are
representatives of the Chinese consulate in Calgary. Actually this is
exactly what the Chinese consulate wants.”
The Chinese Consulate in Calgary has actively sought to interfere with the Shen Yun performances here, and in 2008 Tourism Calgary notably caved into pressure and withdrew its sponsorship.
“We are calling on Premier Allison Redford to show that the Alberta
government will not similarly give in to foreign influence and is
committed to to resolve this issue in the interest of Albertans and the
Province,” said Yang.
Please note the below breakdown of misconceptions communicated by the
Culture Minister and her office in recent interviews with the media.
Fact sheet clarifying misconception about the matter
Misconception:Pressure from the Chinese Consulate in Calgary has played no role in Jubilee’s attitude towards Shen Yun
Fact:Shen Yun’s problems with the Southern
Alberta Jubilee Auditorium started in 2010, after the diplomatic
pressure from the People’s Republic of China on the Alberta government
to cancel Shen Yun.
In the Calgary Herald, Heather Klimchuk dismissed this notion, saying
it had “no linkage whatsoever” to her decision to cancel the
However, it is a fact that the efforts the Calgary Falun Dafa
Association or Shen Yun made since 2010 to meet with either the Minister
of Culture or Jubilee management about our concerns, both the Minister
of Culture and Jubilee management had only one reply: which was to
suggest Shen Yun could cancel their shows and seek other venues. This
response did not come after discussion or negotiation; it has been the
only response put forth by Jubilee management or the Minister of Culture
to resolve our concerns. This is a highly abnormal way for a
professional organization to treat its clients and it is does raise
valid questions about whether they are under outside pressure.
Misconception:Shen Yun is bringing a private issue to the public
Fact:The Jubilee Auditorium is owned and
operated by the provincial government. Therefore, the operation of this
venue is an issue in public interest.
The Globe and Mail quoted Marie Iwanow, communications director for
Alberta’s Culture Ministry as saying, “We do consider this a private
matter with a client… So it’s unfortunate maybe that they chose to
express their concerns through the news media.”
In fact, we have made numerous requests over the last three years for
a meeting to address our concerns, and on every occasion we were
rebuffed. Only when the poor treatment by theatre management escalated
and we saw no willingness on the part of the government to address these
concerns did we bring the matter to the public.
In fact, the Minister of Culture directly oversees the Jubilee
Auditorium. It is a government owned and taxpayer-subsidized institution
and is therefore accountable to the public. If a client of the Jubilee
chooses to raise an issue with Jubilee management to the public, this is
an above board action. The idea that we should only communicate our
concerns in secret with the provincial government is wrong.
Misconception:The Calgary Falun Dafa Association did not give the Jubilee or the government time to respond to its complaints
Fact:The Calgary Falun Dafa Association has tried to book appointments to meet with the Minister of Culture for three years.
The CBC quoted Heather Klimchuk as saying, “When we have a situation
like this it’s really important to resolve this through the channels
In nearly a dozen attempts to meet with the minister of culture over
three years, each attempt was ignored or rebuffed. In our view, the
ministry of culture has had many opportunities to respond to our
Misconception:The relationship between Shen Yun and the Jubilee has deteriorated to the point it cannot be resolved.
Fact:The Calgary Falun Dafa Association is
asking that the Minister of Culture apologize to Shen Yun, invite them
to return, and remove the orchestra pit safety net for future Shen Yun
performances. We feel that these are all reasonable requests and if they
were met our issues would be resolved.
Furthermore, in Heather Klimchuk’s letter to the Calgary Falun Dafa
Association she stated that she felt the relationship between her
department and us had deteriorated to the point it could not be
resolved. However, since the Minister of Culture has never met or talked
with us, we feel it is presumptuous to say that our relationship is
unsalvageable. We remain committed to resolving the issues and only hope
for the government to step forward on its side and show a willingness
to do the same.
Misconception:Shen Yun is asking for apology about a safety net
Fact:Shen Yun has never asked for an apology
about the net, only a chance to negotiate its removal given that it is
highly obtrusive and unlike any other in the more than 100 theatres Shen
Yun has performed.
The Calgary Herald quoted Heather Klimchuk as saying, “I'm not going
to apologize for the safety of performers or musicians at either Jube.”
Ms. Klimchuck is either demonstrating that she still has not understood
our request or she is intentionally misleading the public.
In fact Shen Yun has never asked for an apology about the net,
they’ve only asked to negotiate the removal the net. Even the
government’s Northern Jubilee theatre has no such net—making the
minister’s complete unwillingness to have a reasonable discussion on the
matter all the more unusual.
Misconception:Shen Yun is asking for apology about technical errors
Fact:The Calgary Falun Dafa Association is
asking that the Jubilee apologize for any disrespectful and
unprofessional treatment towards Shen Yun
In response to this request, Heather Klimchuk said in the Calgary
Herald that an investigation had been undertaken and that, “we were
satisfied that everything is fine.” She went on to say, “I know how hard
they work in both Jubilees and I'm very proud of my team.”
The Calgary Falun Dafa Association has highlighted a few examples of
technical errors, such as a lighting error, but was not asking for
apologies about these specific issues. We asked for an apology because
Jubilee management did not take these errors and other transgressions
seriously and were rude, dismissive and arrogant when confronted with
Misconception:The Jubilee Auditorium has complaints about Shen Yun
Fact:The Metro newspaper reported that Marie
Iwanow, spokesperson for the Minister of Culture, said that complaints
involving both parties date back to 2010. However, neither Shen Yun nor
our association have been notified of any of the supposed complaints
directed toward us. If there were complaints that the Minister deemed
relevant, it would seem only reasonable to communicate those to us such
that we might address them. We are particularly interested in knowing of
any complaints as we are aware of past efforts by the Chinese regime to
disrupt Shen Yun shows by complaining to theatres in the name of
concerned members of the public.