During last year’s federal election, the arts, which have traditionally gotten left by the wayside in political campaigns, were brought front and centre by a political debate focused on the arts called The Wrecking Ball. These debates took place in several major cities across the country. Our local Wrecking Ball was organized by The Alliance for Arts and Culture, and it was, in a word, inspiring.
Here in BC, we are in the throes of a Provincial election–we go to the polls on May 12. According to an article in The Georgia Straight, the arts are pretty far down on the priority list when it comes to platforms.
While both the NDP and Greens have pledged to increase arts funding, the B.C. Liberals have not. The NDP has vowed to restore the arts funding cut in 2009, increase the budget for the B.C. Arts Council, and provide a new $50-million capital fund to be administered by the B.C. Arts Council for investment in projects that “support the growth and sustainability” of professional and community arts, culture, and heritage sectors. The Green party platform calls for increasing funding to the B.C. Arts Council, establishing a separate Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage, and cooperating with other levels of government to fund an “indigenous peoples culture and arts plan for B.C.” Meanwhile, the only mention of the arts in the Liberals’ platform comes in the context of boosting tourism: “It [increasing tourism revenues] is why we established the $150-million B.C. 150 Cultural Fund and are investing $50 million in a new generation Vancouver Art Gallery.” (read the entire article here)
In an attempt to bring Arts more to the forefront, The Alliance for Arts and Culture has arrainged a debate–a virtual one:
In an innovative departure from the usual all-candidates debates, the Alliance for Arts & Culture will host a “live-blogging” forum on May 4th at 4pm with Spencer Herbert (NDP candidate), Vanessa Violini (Green Party candidate). At this point, no Liberal Party candidate has chosen to participate; however, Bill Bennett, Liberal candidate and former Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts – who cited prior commitments – will post a prepared statement on behalf of the Liberals.
You are invited to participate: visit the Alliance’s blog, and drop a question to the candidates in the comments section. Then, you can follow the debate as it is live-blogged on May 4.
The only way to make a difference is to speak out!