We have just returned from a frank and productive meeting with Minister Krueger at his Vancouver office. It was an excellent opportunity to communicate the concerns of our community to the new Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, and to offer to help him in trying to reverse the cuts to the BC Arts Council. He wanted everyone to know that both he and the Premier are both very committed to the arts, and that they will do their utmost to ensure that the community is not "hung out to dry" next year when the supplemental funding runs out. However, given the economic climate, he does not yet know whether it will be possible to reverse the cuts, or offer another round of supplemental funding to ease the blow, as they did this year. We were very clear about the vital importance of keeping provincial funding levels stable, and the severe repercussions of the cuts. Between this meeting and the flood of letters, we believe he has heard our message loud and clear.
We would like to ask the artistic community to please be polite when addressing or referring to Minister Krueger. He is a member of our community now and an important ally in Legislature, and deserves to be treated with respect. He understands that there is anxiety in the community and that tempers are high, but like any of us, he does not appreciate being demonized or insulted. We ask you to respect his wishes.
He was also very open to participating in roundtables with the community, so we might be setting up something in the near future. We will keep you posted.