Nanaimo Council passed the budget to fund culture in the city. The culture budget included $231,826 for operating culture events and $30,330 for festivals. This works out to a total of $262,156 or $3 per person in taxes.
Arts, culture, and heritage organizations in Nanaimo contribute $93 million in direct economic benefits to the local community, creating 880 direct jobs and $7 million in tax revenues.
This begs the question: Why don’t we give more funding to culture if it is such an excellent economic driver in our community?
Currently, the City spends $21.5 million a year on policing services. This pays for the 140 member station. Why isn’t a few million set aside for culture? Why not get youth off the streets and into arts and culture?
At the January council meeting Councillor Kipp raised a point that 5 groups share approximately $170,000 and 19 groups share $54,000. Two groups taking the lions’ share are the Symphony and TheatreOne.
The City’s budget has grown from $171 million to $200 million in recent years. The City funds Nananimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDCOR) at approximately $2 million a year. Imagine if the same amount of money went directly to arts and culture.
A presentation was made to Nanaimo Council in January by the Nanaimo African Heritage Society who had asked for $7,500 and received $1,100. They received the lowest amount of any group.
If the federal government diverted some of the $680 million dollars it spends a year on advertising to local arts and culture imagine what a strong Canadian culture there would be.
Reading and writing is critical to keeping culture alive. Could Nanaimo become the next Reading Town Canada?
In 2012 a National Reading Campaign was sponsored by TD Canada. “Reading Town Canada” aims to develop a coordinated national strategy to promote reading books with Canadian content. This year from May 3rd to 10th Charlottetown, PEI will be the 2015 Reading Town.
Canadian content regulations were first drafted back in the 1970s. Back then people were very concerned about the Americanization of our Canadian culture. Ultimately, Canadian content boils down to what is local. It take time, money and effort to nurture and grow the Canadian cultural experience.
Fifty years ago Canada raised its ‘new’ maple leaf flag.
On Feb. 15, 1965 the Canadian Red Ensign was lowered and the new Canadian Maple Leaf flag was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill.
What cultural investment has the current federal government made especially in smaller centers?
Flags of the times
Canadians are overwhelmed with American sports and culture. It is a sign of the times when government offices and BC Ferries hoist the 12th Man flag.
Will the next flag hoisted be the Stars & Stripes with a small 51 on the bottom? Have Americans ever hoisted a flag for Canadian sports or culture?