5 minute challenge…WEEK FOUR!

I’ll admit it – I’m getting a bit more fierce in these challenges as time goes on and the federal election looms.  Last week’s challenge sounded simple but turned out to be a tricky one….to call the Minister of Community Sport and Cultural Development, Ida Chong, and issue a specific, one-sentence goal that you would like her office to work toward.  There was some reluctance in people I suggested this challenge to, due in part to a lack of faith in the Minister herself: “she’s an idiot, it’s clear from her long history of saying whatever it takes to stay in cabinet.”  “My impression is that she is not a curious person.”  She has no background in culture and, “I do not go my dentist and ask him to do my taxes!

So I was on my own.  Unfortunately, the Minister is a difficult person to reach.  My first attempts to phone her resulted in her office bouncing my inquiry over to the BC Arts Council, who were wonderful and called me back very quickly.  However, that was not who I wanted to talk to so I tried again.  This time I didn’t say I was involved in the arts in any way but simply that I as a constituent who considers cultural development extremely important would like to speak to the Minister.  I wasn’t allowed to talk to her but they did take my contact information and say someone would get back to me.  I’m still waiting…

Andrew Templeton put it well when he said, “Alas, this is an old problem in the English-speaking world. The “culture” portfolio is amongst the least desirable for ministers to have. Status is based on the size of the budget for each portfolio and arts (which often linked to sports – under the general category of “hobbies”) is usually tiny. In France, the cultural minister is a big deal. We need to have a profound shift in the status of culture and the role of government in promoting culture.” Making it difficult to attract the best people to this uphill struggle.

My goal statement to the Minister was going to be: 1.Please fight to set a specific deadline to address re-defining the eligibility for Gaming funding, and 2.Please fight to raise the per capita arts funding to be on par with the national average.

Sounds simple enough, right?  I’ll keep you posted if I ever have the chance to tell Ms Chong…

CHALLENGE WEEK FOUR: This week, we’re going old-school and asking you to drop something in the mail.  Use your creativity to send something that symbolizes what the arts cuts feel like to you, and then send it off to your MLA’s office (to find him or her click here).  Give them a card or a piece of art to hang on their wall to remind them what it feels like to work with less than half of what you need.

We’d love to see what you send!  Post a photo of it here before it hits the mail!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…..


compiled by Rachel Peake




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