Alliance for Arts and Culture criticizes MLAs’ report on B.C. budget

The executive director of the Alliance for Arts and Culture is expressing disappointment with a new report on next year’s provincial budget produced by a committee of MLAs.

Rob Gloor said the report from the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services fails to address key concerns raised by members of the arts community.

“Sixteen different arts organizations and associations made presentations to this committee through its hearings across the province or through written submissions,” Gloor says in a statement on his arts-advocacy group’s website.

“Remarkably, the Report on the Budget 2013 Consultations made no reference to the requests brought forward by the arts community, in spite of the sector's significant impact on B.C.'s economic and social development,” he said.

The report was released on November 14, following a month-long public consultation process on the 2013 provincial budget. It contains a range of recommendations on areas including fiscal policy, health, education, and more.

However, Gloor said the report contains no direct recommendations on arts and culture and does not advise the B.C. government to avoid making new funding cuts to the sector.

“We at the Alliance are hopeful that the 2013 budget will include a clear proposal to replace the funds that will disappear when the 2010 Sport and Arts Legacy Fund ends this year,” he said.

“In its place, we strongly recommend an increase to the base funding for B.C. Arts Council grants, full restoration of Gaming Grants, and introduction of multi-year grant opportunities in both programs.”


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Keith Higgins

Nov 16, 2012 at 7:41pm

The Alliance, as is typical, misses the mark a bit: they are recommending that the so-called "legacy fund" be continued, without noting the problems inherent in this politically-manipulable type of funding. $10 million a year that should have been part of the BC Arts Council's budget was instead designated for whatever-the-minister-thinks-art-and-culture-should-be, with no direct benefit to individual working artists; only after significant protest did some of this money become available to the BCAC. The rest? Slush.

In summer 2010, the government wanted to use the bulk of the money to create a province-wide festival celebrating the "legacy" of the Olympics -- the irony being that, as far as most of the province is concerned, there is no positive legacy following the Olympics, no increase in tourism, no infrastructure improvements outside of the few in Vancouver and Whistler, and the so-called "Spirit Festivals" seemed to be designed to tell British Columbians who were suffering the effects of the global meltdown exacerbated by reckless government spending that everything was just fine, great really. It was only after significant protest that a share of this fund was diverted to the BC Arts Council.

in subsequent years, British Columbians found that public money from this fund, ostensibly earmarked for art and culture in their communities was being dispensed directly from the ministry office, without any proper assessment process and sometimes without any request having been made.

All of this time, individual working artists have been finding less opportunities to bring their work to a local public across the province; cultural workers have made massive personal sacrifices in order to keep organizations running; and audiences are finding that their access to art and culture -- particularly outside of the province's larger cities -- is still under threat, even though the government says it is supporting culture through this "legacy fund".

The solution to this problem does not lie in prolonging this arrangement, which is a failed policy lacking transparency, accountability, and proper planning. The solution lies instead in an increase to the budget of the BC Arts Council, an agency which possesses all three of the above characteristics, with the added benefit of being at least nominally at arms-length from manipulation for the benefit of the ruling party. It is essential that public investment in art be based upon merit, rather than the crude machinations of political hacks.

Rob Gloor

Nov 18, 2012 at 9:07am

To be clear, the Alliance's position is consistent with Keith's. We are not proposing that the legacy fund be continued. It was hugely problematic for all the reasons Keith outlined. As stated in the article, the Alliance recommends that this fund be REPLACED by an increase to the base funding of the BC Arts Council, along with further improvements to gaming grants. Our full position on the 2013 budget was outlined on our website during the budget consultations:


Nov 21, 2012 at 11:19am

Double BC's Arts investment now.
(Doubling it would bring BC investmentsto half the Canadian average...)