Perhaps it is because of the election, but according to the latest report from the Canadian Conference of the Arts, which gives an overview comparing different Canadian provinces’ responses to the economic crisis, only BC has made cuts in their budget for arts and culture.
Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador have responded to the current economic situation by wisely increasing their investment in the arts and cultural sectors. The others (where information is available) have maintained their past levels of support. Only BC has proposed cuts.
With the highest per capita number of artists in the country, this government is jeopardizing jobs, families, and communities across the province by dismissing an investment in the arts as a frill that can be easily cut. The consequences of the proposed cuts will be devastating and will damage the ability for our economy to remain competitive in the future.
The BC Liberals did find surplus funds to offset this year’s cuts; they have even provided supplements to soften the effect of the cuts to come next year. We only hope that the provincial government continues to work with us to find ways to support our sector and to reinstate the cuts and indeed increase the BCAC’s budget to the recommended level of $32 Million over the next few years. This investment is critical for our sector and our province’s economic and social health into the future. Now is not the time to cut back in the arts and culture.