Party or Slate (if applicable)
Do you know how much your local government invests in the arts? Would you commit to advocating for an increase in that cultural investment for arts, culture, and heritage in your community, within the capacity of your elected body?
Vernon taxpayers, through the RDNO, financially support the Film Commission, The Okanagan Symphony, and Community Theatre (about $1-million in the 2018 budget). The City also supports the O'Keefe Ranch, North Okanagan Arts Centre, Caetani House and other worthy arts & culture initiatives. If Greater Vernon voters approve a borrowing referendum for a new cultural complex (Art Gallery, Museum and small performing arts venue,, the RDNO will fund $25-million of a $40-million project to be located in downtown Vernon. I strongly support the RDNO referendum, and in general will support investments in our cultural industries.
If elected, will you take an active role on behalf of your local government in championing the growth of arts, culture and heritage in your community? Why?
Yes, I will advocate for growth in arts, culture and heritage. I see this area as an economic development issue as well as a quality of life issue. A vibrant arts and culture sector will enhance the attractiveness of Vernon for business development and in the recruiting of personnel.
Students with an education rich in the arts have better grade point averages and are three times more likely to get a degree. Will you commit to making the arts a critical component of every child’s education? If so, how?
I would like to make such a commitment, however this is a matter for School Boards and the provincial government.
How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?
Political will, fueled by continued successes by the many arts and cultural organizations in our community.
Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?
Yes. Vernon will be a model community with the establishment of the proposed cultural centre.
How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?
This is a task for Tourism Vernon, who handles marketing and visitor industry initiatives on behalf of the city. Cultural tourism is not mutually exclusive to recreation-focused tourism. I expect a balanced strategy from Tourism Vernon.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
It is likely self-evident that given strong community and political support, together with quality venues for all aspects of arts and culture, our community will retain workers in this sector.
What do you feel is the single most important issue relating to arts, culture, and heritage in your community, and what action will you take to address it?
The proposed RDNO Cultural complex is the # 1 issue. I offer this project my full support.
How do you personally engage in the cultural life of the community? (e.g. involvement on committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)
My wife and I migrated to Vernon in 2003, attracted by many lifestyle opportunities. The Vernon and District Performing Arts Theatre was (and remains) one of the gems in the community that was attractive to us. Having moved from Prince George, where the City boasts an excellent art gallery and museum, it is clear that we need the proposed new complex.
If you'd like to provide voters with additional information about your stance on arts, culture, and heritage issues in your community, please use the space below.
I refer voters to my website: www.gordleighton.ca