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Election 2021

My position on the arts in Lethbridge

The Allied Arts Council of Lethbridge emailed the federal candidates 4 questions regarding the arts in Lethbridge and in general:

  1. What is your vision for the arts sector in our riding? And what do you see as the benefits of investing in the arts?
  2. Do you support the federal government investing in the arts through departments such as Canada Council for the Arts and Canadian Heritage?
  3. Lethbridge City Council has demonstrated their commitment to building a performing arts centre in their recent Capital Improvement Program. Would you support federal funding if a regional performing arts facility were to be built in Lethbridge?
  4. Covid-19 restrictions significantly impacted artists and arts organizations across the country and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit provided relief to individuals struggling to maintain a livelihood. The roll-out of this program exposed the range of pre-existing gaps within our social support system, which added to the call for a basic income policy. Do you support the implementation of a basic income policy, whether it be universal, income-tested, or as a negative income tax?

Here are my responses:

What is your vision for the arts sector in our riding? And what do you see as the benefits of investing in the arts?

Lethbridge has a strong arts community, something I was made aware of through the three terms I served on the Allied Arts Council board of directors, including as vice president. When I showcased my own artwork in an AAC-hosted exhibition, I was astounded by the support I received from the public, who came out on my opening night. In 2012, during my last term on the AAC, we contracted an independent economic impact assessment, which discovered that the local arts community had a direct economic effect of $7.5 million a year. That number increased to $10 million if you included indirect and induced effects, and it doubled from that if you included the economic impact of Lethbridge on the entire province. And it’s been a decade since that assessment, so I anticipate the impact is even greater now.

As far as my vision, I believe that the arts should be a primary focus of public funding. Most of the public consumes arts, whether it’s through the music we listen to or the movies and TV shows we watch, or even the buildings we enter in every day. A vibrant arts community enriches a society and improves quality of life.

Do you support the federal government investing in the arts through departments such as Canada Council for the Arts and Canadian Heritage?

Yes, I absolutely support the federal government investing in the arts. We all benefit from the arts, so we should collectively support the arts.

Lethbridge City Council has demonstrated their commitment to building a performing arts centre in their recent Capital Improvement Program. Would you support federal funding if a regional performing arts facility were to be built in Lethbridge?

As the former chair of the community arts centre (now Casa) steering committee, I absolutely support federal funding for a performing arts theatre. Lethbridge desperately needs more theatre space. The Yates is booked solid and is too small for some performances, yet the ENMAX is too big and lacks some of the requirements (equipment, acoustics, etc) needed for these performances. Not having a mid-size facility means we lose out on acts coming to Lethbridge and the economic spinoffs that would’ve come from their performing here.

COVID-19 restrictions significantly impacted artists and arts organizations across the country and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit provided relief to individuals struggling to maintain a livelihood. The roll-out of this program exposed the range of pre-existing gaps within our social support system, which added to the call for a basic income policy. Do you support the implementation of a basic income policy, whether it be universal, income-tested, or as a negative income tax?

I wholeheartedly support a universal basic income, or even a guaranteed livable wage. It is difficult for some artists to make a living with their art, and UBI or GLW would help with that. Or increased grants. Or both.

By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 4 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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