The announcement from Premier Christy Clark today allocating $15 million more for Gaming grants is in line with the position she stated during her leadership campaign.
This certainly bodes well, but doesn’t go far enough.
Yes, it is an increase from last year, a year when funding from Gaming to non-profits and charities was cut from its previous level by $36 million! The $15 million will help some of those organizations from permanently closing after their recent cuts.
It doesn’t seem that this $15 million will address the crisis in the arts community, which experienced the most drastic cuts, from $20 million down to about $9.5 million.
Another promise that Clark made during her campaign was to address the eligibility criteria for arts groups, which last year were introduced to exclude “adult” arts organizations and many professional organizations in arts and culture.
This is a critical area that requires immediate attention, since the deadline for applications this year is at the end of May. Minister Chong has been given the responsibility of dealing with this and we hope she does so as quickly as possible.
Otherwise the consequences for many arts organizations will be dire indeed.
Premier Clark and her government have made good on one of the promises made during her leadership. There are other promises that were made, including restoring arts and cultural funding to 2008/09 levels, developing a vision and cultural policy for the Province, and consulting with the arts community in redefining eligibility criteria for Gaming grants.
We hope this is the first of a series of announcements in the coming days and weeks.