Government must support cultural groups, says Victoria Symphony chief

Posted on: September 9, 2009

In Wednesday’s (9/9) Times Colonist (Victoria, British Columbia), Mitchell Krieger, executive director of the Victoria Symphony, writes, “It’s been suggested that the arts community of British Columbia needs to live with the ‘new reality’ of massive cuts to provincial funding (from $40 million annually, or less than $10 per person per year, to under $4 million). … I respectfully disagree. The arts are deeply embedded in our communities. Each artist or employee of an arts institution enriches the community in ways that go far beyond the economic benefits—which, by the way, are large. (Every dollar the province invests in the arts returns $1.36 to the treasury in tax revenues, along the way providing employment to 78,000 British Columbians.) … The disingenuous statements made by cabinet ministers about choices do not hold water; for example, $42 million was found to upgrade six buildings at the University of Victoria; $36 million was found for ‘additional’ marketing for the Olympics; $84 million additional funding was found for Shared Services B.C.; and (my favourite) $107 million over two years for ‘oil and gas’ capital expenditures. … This shouldn’t be the new reality. There is a choice. This government needs to ask itself if this is really the legacy it wants to leave. It should choose to restore the level of arts funding to the former $40 million. The citizens of British Columbia deserve it.”

Posted September 9, 2009