BC Liberals Pledge to Double BC Arts Council Budget in Throne Speech

LT.-GOV. JUDITH GUICHON DELIVERS THE BC LIBERAL PARTY'S 2017 THRONE SPEECH IN VICTORIA. | IMAGE: TIMES COLONIST

LT.-GOV. JUDITH GUICHON DELIVERS THE BC LIBERAL PARTY'S 2017 THRONE SPEECH IN VICTORIA. | IMAGE: TIMES COLONIST

Well, this is a plot twist.

In the BC Liberal Party's throne speech delivered at the B.C. Legislature on June 22, Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon pledged that the government would double the budget of the BC Arts Council, in line with the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture's recommendations. The promise stands in stark contrast with the BC Liberals' election platform, which made no mention of the BC Arts Council budget.

In the speech, Guichon made the following statement, during a section primarily addressing post-secondary and adult basic education and ESL programs:

British Columbia’s post-secondary and creative sectors are responding to the major shifts in digital technologies. Your government will double funding for the BC Arts Council to build capacity to lead in the new economy, and uphold our province’s commitment to the value of creativity and innovation.

The pledge was made along with a suite of other recommendations that often more closely resembled the BC NDP and Green platforms than that of the BC Liberals. Addressing the shift, Guichon read, "The May election delivered a divided result. Your government has listened to that result and brings forward this agenda to gain this house's confidence and, in doing so, the confidence of the people of British Columbia. It is submitted with humility and openness to change."

While the promise is encouraging, the future of the B.C. government remains uncertain. The BC NDP, backed by the Green Party, have pledged to vote Premier Christy Clark's government down as early as next week.

The full text of the speech can be read online here.

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