Your Vision for Arts + Culture
Will you advocate for an increased investment to the BC Arts Council and to maintain or increase the current funding level for arts, culture and heritage in your community?
Yes. John Horgan and the BC New Democrats have committed to doubling the BC Arts Council budget over the next four years. We’ve long been strong advocates of the Arts Council and the work it does.
Will you take an active role on behalf of your community to lobby senior levels of government to increase levels of investment to the BC Arts Council?
Yes. A BC NDP government would double funding for the BC Arts Council over four years.
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?
New Democrats have long advocated for the arts, and for the BC Arts Council specifically. New Democrat MLAs would continue to be strong champions for the arts.
In your view, how can our provincial government maintain or grow the cultural sector across British Columbia?
The BC NDP has committed to investing in creative spaces, increasing funding for the BC Arts Council and Creative BC. These commitments, along with our investments in the film and television industry will set the table for strong growth in BC’s arts and culture sector.
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?
The BC NDP has committed to creating an arts infrastructure fund. The creation of this fund will allow a BC NDP government to partner with the federal government and municipal government to deliver investments in creative and cultural spaces.
How will you improve cultural tourism in your community? How do you propose to attract and retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
A BC NDP government will work with artists and cultural workers to ensure that BC’s rich arts and culture offerings aren’t neglected in our tourism promotion efforts. Currently one of the biggest challenges for retaining artists in our communities is how unaffordable life has become under Christy Clark and the BC Liberal government, while giving billions in tax cuts to the richest British Columbians. They increased Hydro rates, ICBC premiums and ferry fares. They tripled tuition and doubled MSP fees. As our cities grew, they put steep tolls on key commuter bridges and ignored transit users. They did nothing while the price of housing and rent went through the roof.
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 single most important issue relating to arts, culture and heritage in BC is the lack of government partnership and commitment to the arts. For the last 16 years Christy Clark and the BC Liberals have refused to work with other levels of government to nurture, celebrate and promote our arts and culture industry in BC. A BC NDP government would end this neglect and become active participants in the promotion of arts, culture and heritage in BC communities.
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.)
New Westminster has such a thriving arts community and I am immersed in it so many ways. Since the day I was elected, I have been displaying the work of our wonderful local artists on my community office walls year round. And I not only attend the fabulous New West Cultural Crawl, but my office is actually on the Crawl showcasing the work of talented local artists. I am also a supporting partner of the Royal City Literary Arts Society, and I spend a lot of time promoting events at the Anvil Centre - an impressive urban gallery space of which New Westminster is rightfully proud – as well as the Massey Theatre and other cultural centres. As our city’s representative at the provincial level, I have worked to secure more funding for organizations like PotteryWorks Studios, a Community Living B.C.-funded service provider that makes a difference in the lives of people living with developmental disabilities by celebrating their contributions as creators.
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!
I’ll share a story I once told in the BC Legislature. When I was growing up, my siblings and I often envied other kids who got to eat steak and roast beef, something my family, recent immigrants, couldn’t afford. My father’s philosophy was simple: “For the price of a few steaks, you can buy a good book. For the price of a few roasts of beef, you can buy a painting.” So I grew up without red meat – but surrounded by art and books! The point—that art is timeless and its value cannot be captured in dollars—is a philosophy I’ve always embraced.
My mother was an artist who worked with tile and ceramics and was also a weaver. I remember her going to bat for me in school because I would only colour and paint with bold bright colours, not with pastels. We need to encourage creativity and culture from a young age -- which is all the more reason to ensure we have better funding of our schools.
My favourite book is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry—an incredibly powerful story that speaks to me about our natural human tendency to care and to love, even in very difficult circumstances. As for my own artistic tendencies? I love photography, and especially enjoy doing landscapes, seascapes and ‘riverscapes.’ The first thing I do most mornings is look out my window at the spectacular view of the Fraser River. The colour and light on the river change constantly and I am fascinated with trying to capture its mood. The Fraser transforms, transports and reflects everything around it. It gives rise to our parks, our businesses, our bridges – and our fog. It gives birth to our salmon. And it inspires our art!