Funding Cuts to Arts and Culture in B.C.

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Now we at Vancity Buzz have been branded as right wing idiots who would like nothing more to lock up the homeless. However, that is furthest from the truth. We vote with our best interests of city and province in mind. As of right now its the Liberals. If someone better comes along tell us because we’ve been waiting.

Last week Spencer Herbert dropped us a letter and we agreed to publish it. So here is the letter:

Open Letter Regarding Funding Cuts to Arts and Culture in BC

Last week the Campbell Liberal government delivered their budget, and in doing so launched an all out attack on BC’s arts and culture sector with a 50% cut to funding for the arts that will leave BC weaker economically, culturally, and socially.

Here are the facts about the BC government’s cuts to arts and culture:

The 2009/10 budget has been cut by $13.6 million.

The 2010/11 budget has been cut by $11 million.

The impact of these cuts will be truly devastating to not only the arts and culture sector but to all British Columbians.

The cultural sector in BC employs over 118,000 people, accounting for about 5% of the labour force and injecting more than $2.3 billion dollars annually into our economy. A recent BC government study showed that for every dollar invested in the arts the BC government gets a dollar and thirty six cents in return in taxes. The government’s cuts will likely lose the province more money than it’s saving. That means less money to be invested in health care, and education, and the devastation of our creative economy.

Communities throughout BC have recognized the economic value that art and culture plays in their economies and have made it a focus of their economic development strategies. Smaller communities will be impacted harder by these cuts as they do not have the larger artistic centres or funding that is found in major cities.

The creative sector has been leading the way in job creation. When our province lost 68,000 jobs in January shouldn’t we be supporting a sector which is creating jobs and one of the few bright lights in a tough time?

During the Great Depression President Roosevelt helped bring the USA out of depression with a massive works program that created thousands of jobs but also brought us art which inspired and helped people through the tough times.

Now, President Obama is also supporting the arts as a way of getting his nation out of recession.

So what does our Premier do? He cuts support to the arts and culture sector by 50% destroying years and years of growth, and thousands of jobs. These cuts will leave our communities weaker both culturally, and economically. In a time when we should be supporting our creative economy Premier Campbell is taking an axe to it.

Spencer Herbert, MLA

Vancouver Burrard

Official Opposition Critic for Arts and Culture

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