Friday, November 26, 2010

BC Government Not Pulling Weight

Through my research for the panel discussion taking place this coming Monday @7PM, I've found some disturbing inverse proportions in culture funding in British Columbia. The Arts Research Monitor (public distribution supported by Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council) November 2010 issue shows that in British Columbia, municipal spending on culture is 2nd among all provinces. Notice that is MUNICIPAL SPENDING, those are our cities, towns, villages etc. who value culture, of which "the arts" makes up approximately 8%. Municipal spending on culture throughout BC averaged $79 per capita in 2007.

Now let's look at actual Provincial spending by the Province of BC: The Arts Research Monitor reports that among all Canadian provinces, BC spends the second least on culture. Interpreting this can be complicated, but clearly the Province of British Columbia does not have the same regard for the value of culture as do local participants and municipalities in arts and culture. The Government of British Columbia only spent $76 per capita on arts and culture in 2007. Compare this with the leading province, Manitoba, that was able to spend $144 per capita on arts and culture in the same year, and Alberta, that has no provincial sales tax, was still able to spend $93 per capita on arts and culture.

I feel the Government of British Columbia has the resources to spend on arts and culture, considering increased provincial sales taxes and gaming revenues. But the province chooses to let municipalities and local organizations bear the greater burden of fundraising for culture in general.

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