OPEN LETTER TO EVERY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT IN CANADA
I am an advocate for Arts and Culture. For 20 years I have warned every level of government not to discriminate financially against youth in arts and culture because it will have dire consequences sooner or later.Every intelligent government in the world – except British Columbia- knows that arts and culture have a calming effect on society. B.C. already has the lowest support for arts and culture in Canada and a few years ago decided to cut the arts even more while authorizing a new roof for yet another sports facility, the cost of which now stands at $ 660 million dollars and rising. I clearly warned that the few dollars they scrape from the arts sector will be minimal compared to the policing and court costs when the predictable “chickens come home to roost”.
Well, unfortunately “the chickens have come home to roost” and the total costs are not only for police, courts and glass, but the damage to tourism and investment that are sure to follow – not to speak of the shame and embarrassment for Vancouver and Canada. When every level of government discriminates against a group or segment of society, it is not discrimination anymore – it is a form of apartheid. Cultural apartheid.
But there is hope. The federal government four years ago instituted a tax credit for children in “fitness”only. After 4 years of protests across Canada, the Canadian government finally corrected this blatant discrimination and offered the same tax credit for children in the arts. When the senior government of Canada, in its wisdom, decides there shall be no more financial discrimination between sports and the arts. there is hope that all levels of government right down to local governments will heed this momentous decision and follow suit.
Sincerely, Sigurd Sabathil, Greater Vancouver, B.C.