the jazz authority; random dubiously zappy rants about 'the musicians music'.: October 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

BC Liberals cut funding to arts - make your voice heard

Please consider emailing a short letter to your MLA and the BC arts minister explaining why you support the arts and communicating that the BC Liberals will not receive your vote/support specifically because of their recent cuts. If you don't live in BC you can still speak up on behalf of the arts. Below are a few good statements about why the arts are important and worth supporting.


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BC Liberal Party
Telephone: 604-606-6000
Toll-free: 1-800-567-2257


Kamloops-South Thompson Office
Tel: (250) 314-6031 or Toll Free: 1-888-299-0805
Victoria Office
Tel: (250) 953-4246

Deputy Minister's Office
Telephone: 250 356-6981

The MLA in Nanaimo is Leonard Krog of the NDP:

Nanaimo North Cowichan (NDP)

Parksville-Qualicum is Ron Cantelon of the Liberals:

Phoning the constituency office and emailing MLAs sends a message. Attending forums during elections and asking questions that put pressure on them is a good way to make them understand that we won't roll over when they try to destroy our livelihood.

"...Even prior to these cuts, the BC arts and culture sector received almost the least arts funding of any Canadian province, a miniscule 1/20 of 1% of the provincial budget. That amount, while crucially important to the arts sector, is generally considered a negligible portion of the budget. The actual numbers? $47 million will be reduced to $3 million in two years. This is a 91% cut, compared to cuts in other sectors which range from 9%-29%. (For more specifics on how the cuts are being carried out - and it's complicated - see the "Why are the cuts so confusing?" section below.)

No other province has cut arts funding during this recession. Many provinces have actually increased funding, because it is proven that this is a form of stimulus that works for the whole economy, recession or not. Furthermore, the culture industry is a lucrative and growing industry, one that is quickly overtaking many failing traditional sectors. It needs seed investment; we cannot afford not to stimulate culture. Why in a recession are the BC Liberals saying they can't afford this negligibly small subsidy, when they are contradicted by all the available research, including their own?..."

"...Could it be that the government needs to aggressively target spending in one sector to show that it's tough, that it won't blink as it protects the humble taxpayer from the ravages of this terrible economic downturn (so terrible that even this all-knowing government didn't see it coming)? Could it be that Gordon Campbell's cabinet has decided that arts groups must take this fall for the greater good of its claimed reputation for prudent fiscal management?..."

One person's comments: "...People in BC still don't seem to get it, for the most part. Arts and Culture drive tourism. Without arts and culture (and boy, do we need to grow this sector, since it's one of the only healthy ones we have) the vacation planning conversation goes something like this: "Oh,Vancouver... you mean that place with the nice mountains - and oh, yes, really big social problems - way out there at the edge of the known world? No, not really. They have nothing going on of interest..."

The arts and culture sector is worth 5 BILLION (yes, that's right) to this province's economy each year. People seem to have this idea that arts spending isn't an investment. Well wake up, it is - from the most bare bones economics to the incalculable value of living in a civilized society and educating our children beyond being video-game playing boors. Economically, spending on arts and culture generates a return - A RETURN - of $1.38 for each dollar spent. Artists are not looking for handouts. They are some of the hardest working and most underpaid workers we have. They give far more to communities than many of the things that people like to think deserve support. The auto-workers, corporations and now the forestry sector, all think a hand-out from the government - OUR money - is a good thing ... Why not invest in a sector that still works, even in a bloody recession, one that gives a return? The arts aren't a luxury - they are a necessity, as any short survey of civilizations and even tribal communities will reveal. WAKE UP people!..."

Tell the politicians that they will never get our support because of their actions.

Cameron Wigmore
Nanaimo, BC
(Green Party candidate, '06 federal election, Crowfoot riding, AB)


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Cameron Wigmore
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The saddest thing I ever did see,
was a woodpecker peckin' at a plastic tree.
He looks at me, and "Friend," says he,
"Things ain't as sweet as they used to be."
- Shel Silverstein
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