Immediate Release: September 3, 2009

COPE Councillor Ellen Woodsworth is bringing an emergency motion to City Council next week, calling on the provincial government to restore the approximately 50% cut to arts and culture in the province.

Before the cuts, the Arts and Culture budget represented 0.5% of the budget and now the BC Liberals are cutting arts and culture investment from approximately 47.8 million in 2008/2009 down to about 3.7 million in 2010/2011, reducing it to 1971 levels.

According to the government’s own statistics, every dollar invested in the arts brings in $1.38 in taxes alone.

MLA Spencer Herbert, states that “every other jurisdiction in Canada — even those dealing with much bigger deficits than BC’s — have either increased or maintained their support for arts and culture because the creative economy matters, and works. These cuts will create significant job losses in a sector with one of the highest rates of “spin-off” returns.”

Councillor Woodsworth continues “The City of Vancouver is committed to supporting the arts and culture community in the city, but we can’t do it alone. We require provincial and federal funding and partnerships to maintain a vibrant and healthy arts and culture community. Not only does supporting the arts make good sense for our communities, it’s the economically prudent thing to do.”

She continues, “the only funding that the government has thus far restored – for fear of being sued – is the mutli-year gaming funding which is a drop in the bucket. These cuts will be truly devastating for the Vancouver arts community.”

The motion calls on the city to write a letter to the Premier, the Minister for Tourism, Culture and the Arts, and the Minister for Finance (CC to all BC MLA’s, the Union of BC Municipalities and Vancouver Members of Parliament), demanding that they re-institute all arts and culture funding, including that allocated through the BC Arts Council and Direct Access Gaming. In addition, it calls upon the provincial government to restore all Direct Access Gaming funding and for the issue to be placed on the next UBCM agenda.

COPE wants City of Vancouver to call on the provincial government to restore arts and culture investment