I get the sentiment of those who feel this is a misuse of public money. However, I object to the fact that the arts are always on the frontline in terms of spending cuts. $20,000-$40,000 is a meager amount of money in the grand scheme of the federal budget, but it is huge for the artist who gets the contract to paint the thing. Maybe there should be guidelines: only artists who fall beneath a certain annual income level or whose assets fall below a similar threshold should be contracted to paint them. But I believe that art is a very important element of society, and I do not believe that public expenditures on the arts are a waste of money, particularly portraits of historical figures or moments. Put a cap on the amount to be spent in each budget for such works and move on.