As the band explained in a statement on social media today, they had appeared in a photo alongside Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sport Lisa MacLeod that was shared on social media earlier this week.
They explained that MacLeod had visited them at a recording studio in Toronto to discuss the negative impact cuts to the OMF have on artists. A now-deleted Twitter post from MacLeod appears to have included a joke about her playing drums on a forthcoming new album alongside the photo. That was promptly met with a wave of backlash from listeners.
"As we explained to the Minister, [the OMF cuts] doesn't impact us nearly as much as younger artists who are trying to make a living in a very difficult climate for musicians," the band wrote. "Unfortunately, a photo of us with the minister was posted without our knowledge or consent that completely misrepresents the purpose of the meeting and has been misrepresented by some as our support for the current administration."
They continued: "While we recognize that Ms. MacLeod was attempting to be funny, the fact is that what the Provincial government is doing to artists in Ontario is anything but. We thought that by engaging directly with her, we could make a difference. However, based on Ms. MacLeod's mischaracterization of the purpose of our meeting and her misrepresentation of the government's "support" for the OMF, we realize that our appeal has likely fallen on deaf ears."
"For the record, we do NOT support the Ford administration and what they are doing to the arts," the band concluded. "And we're very happy with our current drummer, Lisa."
On Twitter, fellow Can-rocker Danko Jones noted that the photo was "more proof Doug Ford and his cronies are mid-level goofy villains."
MacLeod took over the Ontario government's Tourism, Culture & Sport portfolio after she was demoted in a cabinet shuffle this past June. The minister had previously drawn ire from parents across the province for her handling of the autism file as minister of Children, Community and Social Services.
Billy Talent's most recent album was 2016's Afraid of Heights. You can read the band's complete statement below.
Anyway, Billy Talent is rad and the entire Ford cabinet will be condemned to the trash can of history, remembered only for how callously they enabled the hollowing out of our province.— Joe Boughner (@joeboughner) August 23, 2019
Imagine getting roasted by Billy Talent https://t.co/UYKn14IjWz— Will Wuehr (@WillWuehr) August 23, 2019
*plays red flag by billy talent on repeat* https://t.co/DqcssExsiU— ja'miil corin (@millarjamiil) August 23, 2019