Michael Charrois

Electoral Riding

North Vancouver-Seymour

Party Affiliation

BC NDP

Your Vision for Arts + Culture

Yes. We will double the province's investments in the BC Arts Council over 4 years.

Advocacy

Yes. I would be a tenacious advocate for the arts and art education.

Support

If you are in favour of increased investment in arts, culture, and heritage for our province and committed to lobbying senior levels of government for increases to the BC Arts Council, would you require additional advocacy support from the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture? If so, how can we help?

Yes, support and concerted effort from all arts organizations is important to counteract the notion that some governments have that the arts are a frill, something that is not necessary to the functioning of our rip and ship economy. The arts, and the film industry in particular, are a perfect example for a sustainable economy- high tech, labour intensive, non-polluting; the Creative Economy is the future for BC.

Cultural Growth

In your view, how can our provincial government maintain or grow the cultural sector across British Columbia?

Double the province's investment in the BC Arts Council over 4 years. Invest in Arts Infrastructure. Increase investments in Creative BC. These tax dollars are investments into our economy because we know that every dollar invested in the arts creates 6 times the economic spin offs to other parts of the economy and then returns to us in the form of taxes after doing all that economic work.

Cultural + Creative Spaces

Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural and creative spaces for artists and arts organizations in British Columbia? If so, how?

We will provide space for BC artists to create by investing in an Arts Infrastructure Fund. We will build cultural facilities by mobilizing federal cultural infrastructure dollars that BC is currently missing out on.

Cultural Tourism

How will you improve cultural tourism in your community? How do you propose to attract and retain artists and cultural workers in your community?

We will champion tourism as a job creator throughout the province. To attract and retain artists and cultural workers we must address the issue of housing affordability. We will build housing and cultural infrastructure. We will increase investments in Creative BC to support BC musicians, publishers, authors, artists, digital media, indigenous storytellers and the film and television industries.

Key Issues

What do you feel to be the single most important issue currently relating to arts, culture and heritage in British Columbia, and what action will you take to address it?

The most important issue facing artists in the Lower Mainland is the unaffordability of rehearsal, performance and living space. We will build 114,000 housing units to deal with the supply side of housing affordability. We will build and invest in cultural facilities.

Participation

How do you personally engage in the creative and cultural life of your community, and more broadly, the province? (e.g. committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)

I have over 30 years experience as a professional actor, a member of the Union of British Columbia Performers, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television a Radio Artists and Canadian Actors' Equity Association. I have decades of experience teaching Theatre Arts to students aged 4 to adult and I have seen first hand the benefits that the arts bring to a person's literacy, physical fitness, compassion and love of life. The arts and cultural celebrations make life worth living.

Additional Feedback

If you would like to provide voters with additional information about your stance on arts, culture and heritage issues in British Columbia, please use the space below. Hint: sharing personal stories or experience about how art, culture and heritage have impacted your life are often the best way to effectively connect with your readers!

North Vancouver has the highest number of film industry professional residents per capita than anywhere else in the province bringing in $97 million in income to the local economy. The arts account for 7% of Canada's GDP, more than forestry, mines and oil and gas combined. When I contest an election I always make sure to talk about and celebrate the Creative Economy, because it's my life. I make the other candidates talk about art. Decades ago, when I was becoming politically active, I compared the Arts Policy of the various political parties. While a few of them mentioned their support for cultural products and institutions, it was the New Democrats who talked about cultural workers, my friends and me. That's why I'm a New Democrat- we care about the people who make art. We know it can be a challenging life we choose as a Canadian artist: we are highly educated and yet we take the vow of perpetual poverty; we learn to be frugal and resourceful; we take whatever disrespect and criticism that comes our way, pick up and carry on because we are compelled to create, to communicate, to observe, represent and comment on human behavior and to be a life-long learner. And fun- we make art because it's fun, and it's hard to argue against having more fun in your life.