An excerpt from a Georgia Straight Interview with Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development – credit: http://www.straight.com/archives/contributor/jessica-werb

HMIC – Honourable Minister Ida Chong; SCW – Susan C. Weiss

WHAT DO YOU VIEW AS THE ROLE OF ARTS AND CULTURE IN B.C.?

On the Positive:

HMIC: “I think the arts and culture community in B.C. not only provides a very important social fabric, emotional fabric and building upon our communities, but it also has an economic benefit. And those are the things that I will also be taking a look at—what kind of economic potential that we can look at our arts and culture community having”.

SCW: Have a look at this to begin the dialogue: http://wp.me/pVjZw-5K http://wp.me/pVjZw-O and this to continue the dialogue: http://wp.me/pVjZw-7T http://wp.me/pVjZw-7w

HMIC: “Not just providing experience to young people who can move on to greater roles and become famous, whom we’re very proud of”.

SCWHMIC do you think that we aren’t we proud of all artists, performers, and creators in BC who have moved on to greater roles? These people are the adults who guide the young people, don’t you think so?

HMIC: “But really having seen what took place during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, having seen the cultural component piece of it—that attracts a huge amount of visitors if we do it right, who will come back to British Columbia, all parts of the province, to take in festivals, to take in whatever events that we may put in place here.”

SCW: Yes, and this success took investment of capital – financial and human; and the government lead the way with a financial capital investment that culminated in a two year long Cultural Festival – sustaining the artists, performers and creators, both young and old.

On the NOT SO POSITIVE:

HMIC: “And that will fill our hotel rooms, our restaurants, create economic benefits, create jobs. And you know it’s a clean industry, so why wouldn’t we want to expand upon that?”

SCW: Do you imply that this is clean because it is not a gaming industry? Or is it a green industry? Or just what do you think this industry is?

HMIC: “You see other provinces, like Toronto, they have Stratford, you know? Huge amounts of people. Or the Toronto Film Festival, right?”

SCW: With all respect Madame Minister, Toronto, at least to my current knowledge, has not become Canada’s newest province. And they, Toronto – the City, do not have Stratford, – an FYI – Stratford, Ontario, has the Stratford Festival not Toronto. (Perhaps a fact finding mission is in order or at least a geography lesson). Facts are important for your credibility!

On the Positive:

HMIC: “We need to find out whether and how we can do that here in British Columbia. I think we have the people, we have the capacity. So from the arts and cultural sector, I’d like to see how they can help build our economy on that basis and also create vibrant communities at the same time”.

SCW: Yes, we can do it here in British Columbia! I am one of many people in the Arts and Culture sector who is ready, willing and able to help our economy on that basis and also create vibrant communities at the same time.

Madame Minister all you need to do is ask me and you will have my support; along with many other “adults” who lead the Arts and Culture sectors in BC.

Contact me: leave a message on this post or email me! Thank you!

PS: And perhaps more to the point – Premier Christy Clark what are you going to do about the sustainability of the Arts and Culture industry in BC – in the short term before it all crumbles to dust and is beyond investing in?

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