To Christy Clark
Premier Designate of British Columbia
Dear Ms. Clark:
On behalf of the Board and members of the Alliance for Arts and Culture, I would like to extend our congratulations on your successful leadership bid for the Liberal Party of BC.
We welcome you to your new position and look forward to working with you to build a strong, healthy, and liveable British Columbia. Arts and culture are an important part of achieving these goals, and based on your own position regarding support for arts and culture, expressed during your leadership campaign, we are certain that you agree.
We understand the many challenges and opportunities that lay ahead in the immediate weeks and months and wish you success in handling these well. We would also like to make sure that the arts and culture remain a priority for you and so would like to remind you of the issues that we face immediately.
Major cuts to arts and cultural investment through the BC Arts Council (BCAC) and the Gaming grants have created a critical situation for many arts and cultural groups across the province. Your position on the situation during the leadership contest encouraged many of us in the arts community.
You indicated that you would support a return to 2008/09 levels of funding for the BCAC and Gaming grants to the sector, which would follow the recommendation of the Standing Committee on Finance and get us headed in the right direction; quick action on this is required to ensure that the BCAC and Gaming support can address the public need for such investment. Your suggestion to find meaningful measures and comparisons to determine appropriate per capita investments in arts and culture is also welcomed.
You also raised hopes regarding the broader situation regarding Gaming grants, and we would ask you to follow through with your commitment to engage in a third-party review of how much and how these grants are distributed to charities and non-profits, including the arts and culture groups, with the aim to have an assured funding formula that can bring stability to the sector.
We were further encouraged that you specifically noted that the arts would “have a voice at the table during the review of gaming grants”. This too, is a critical need that requires prompt attention.
Finally, the arts and cultural community is pleased that you have identified it as “important to the social and economic health of the province”, and that that you would like to engage in a broader discussion, vision and possibly a cultural policy for the province that recognizes the “positive impact of arts and culture in British Columbia, from our youngest resident to the oldest.”
We are right there with you and, again, look forward to working with you for our province.
Amir Ali Alibhai