4.16 Arts and culture: Beauty and integrity

by Craig Cantin | November 29, 2011 4:48 pm

“Arts and cultural activities are at the heart of communities – they make communities more attractive places to live, they help bring a community to life, they define a community’s unique characteristics, they attract tourists and they help communities compete economically around the world.”

The Canada Council for the Arts

We couldn’t resist. Shouldn’t at least one political party speak in praise of beauty? We live in times of increasing utility and growing ugliness. Strip malls, parking lots, urban littered and graffitied streets do not ennoble us as a people.

It would be a fairly dubious notion that government anywhere could create beauty, but government can create the right conditions to protect and support those who do.

At every level of our society, arts and cultural activities help define our identities and communities. They unlock our individual and collective creativity, and help Canadians share our ideas worldwide. From surreal circus to incisive films, to renowned actors and singers, Canadians are experiencing cultural breakthroughs on the international arts and culture scene. Today, over 600 000 Canadians are employed in the cultural sector.

The Green Party understands that our future, our sense of who we are as a nation, depends on policies that ensure a thriving, diverse, and socially responsible cultural community as part of an inclusive Canada. We will continue and increase support for those cultural institutions that are within the Canadian Heritage portfolio: Canada Council for the Arts, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the National Film Board (NFB), and Telefilm Canada. We will reverse the funding cuts of the Harper government for the exchange of artists and the performance of Canadian arts abroad, as they are a vital aspect of effective diplomacy and artistic expression. We will establish the equivalent of the Japanese National Treasure Program, where outstanding individual artists are supported to perfect their crafts.

Green Party MPs will:

  1. Encourage artists to settle in Canada and build businesses here;
  2. Result in other (usually) white collar ‘clean’ industries that follow arts jobs and dollars;
  3. Help to provide meaningful jobs to university and college graduates;
  4. Enrich schools and their offerings, thereby attracting immigrants to settle in rural areas;
  5. Revitalize and discover talent in communities where traditional industries are declining and young people are leaving.

“People want to live and work in vibrant communities filled with creative people and educational opportunities. An active Arts and Cultural life in a community draws members of the creative class to it. Thus not only for quality of life reasons but also for hard-nosed economic motives it is important to support a vibrant Arts and Cultural life in communities in order to attract talented people and companies to power the economies of those communities.”

Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class

Economic Rationale

The Green Party of Canada applies full cost accounting to its understanding of economics. We recognize that compared to other sectors receiving government support, the arts and culture sector is under-funded.

Given that arts and culture provide great quantifiable benefits to health and education, investments in arts and culture across communities and educational establishments may fall, in part, under investments in health and education.

Taking into consideration full cost accounting, the Green Party of Canada is able to substantiate that investment in the arts rapidly pays for itself many times over.

The Green Party of Canada will maintain breadth and flexibility in its economic calculations. We are able to think in terms of GDP and quantifiable economics, which can demonstrate that arts and culture not only makes an enormous contribution to the economic activity of this country – but also contributes to the Canadian Index of Well-being (see Part 1: The Green Economy).

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Source URL: http://elizabethmaymp.ca/vision-green/p4.16