Posted tagged ‘education’

Government Cuts Hurt Our Future.

September 15, 2009

Recent events in British Columbia’s political landscape confirm my belief that we should be increasing education, not cutting it. Numerous organizations will be receiving less, or no money this year.  Parent advisory councils are getting $8.5 million less. BC sports will be without $14 million. At first glance it looked like arts and culture groups were getting more, but of the $23 million given for grants $10.9 is marked for the BC Arts Council which last year received it’s money from a different source. So my calculations say that the arts are actually getting about $5 million less. The craziest cut seems to be the $130,000 to fund BC school sports. This miniscule amount could surely be taken from elsewhere.  Those in power just do not seem to understand that arts and sports offer so much more to individual lives and society than just a pretty picture or a fun game. It is ironic that a government that strongly supports the big business of the Olympics does not support the encouragement and training of future atheletes and sports fans. Or that they are willing to give approximately $12,000 to any school that wants to organize an event around the Olympic Torch Relay, but if a school wants to produce a play, or fix a leaky roof, or hold a music performance that does not connect to the Torch relay there will have to be numerous bake sales, raffles, and door to door chocolate almond sales.

Perhaps the government is hoping for more volunteers and donations to fill the gaps left by this decrease in funding. Lately I have had no trouble finding places to donate my time and expertise.  But volunteering does not pay for my living expenses. And anyone who knows me knows my needs and wants are small. It just doesn’t seem fair that I gave up a full time teaching job so I could move back to the Lower Mainland to help by parents get through some major health problems, and now I cannot find similar work here. But these recent cuts are more than just a personal gripe I have with the government because my chance of finding a job has just been made harder. I believe our society as a whole is being hurt. The test for a good government is how it manages the sick, the young, and the poor. They do not have the energy, the voting power or knowledge, or the money to help themselves through all the trials of life and thus those in power must help them.

It can’t be easy balancing the government’s budget, but I know from balancing my personal budget that I can’t spend money on a party if my rent isn’t paid, and paying for a college course today is an investment for my future. My decisions are based on knowledge I’ve gained through the people in my life and the well rounded education I have received, and continue to pursue. Perhaps if our elected officials were more knowledgable in the area they are governing, and those at the top had a more well rounded education, then budgets would be better administered.

Below is a letter by Julie McIntyre, Artist, President, CARFAC BC. People are encouraged to use it as an example for what they can write to their MLA. Raise your voice, because a province without art, and sports, and schools, and the environment, will be a province with a dismal future.

To the Honorable Kevin Kruegar, Premier Gordon Campbell and Honorable Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid,

How do we get the Liberal government to recognize that with arts funding we are not talking subsidy, but deep and enduring investment? We’re speaking about protecting jobs and raising tax revenue in an unlimited growth potential market currently estimated at 80 billion dollars a year. The true investors of the arts are the artists themselves who have always subsidize their work, but that passion and commitment should raise the value of art, not diminish it. Our major municipal governments, all other provincial governments in Canada and even the Federal Conservative government are maintaining or increasing their arts budget funding during this recessionary year, because they understand the measurable and incalculable benefits of the cultural sector. What will it take to get this Liberal government to build on past funding and let the creative sector build a new, sustainable economy? One word: Vision.