NDP MLA Spencer Herbert has told the Straight that the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts has eliminated its stand-alone arts and culture division. Herbert, who is the Opposition critic for this ministry, said by phone that ministerial assistant Frank Costa informed him shortly before Christmas that arts and culture now falls within the tourism-development category.
“I think it kind of signals in a sense what the government thinks of arts and culture—that it’s used as a tourism-development tool,” Herbert said. “It’s just one of the line items under tourism development.”
Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Kevin Krueger was unavailable for comment. As of January 12, the ministry Web site still had a separate Web page for the arts and culture division.
Herbert said that as a result of the reorganization of the ministry, there are now five broad categories: tourism development, tourism partnerships, consumer marketing, strategy and policy, and management services. “One of the things that’s important to me is that art challenges us and questions our society,” Herbert noted. “Sometimes it’s disturbing, and sometimes it’s difficult. And that’s not something one would traditionally think of as tourism development.”