The NDP Critic for Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation says government made the right move by quickly reversing the decision to take the word “culture” out of the department name. Now, says Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre), it’s time for the minister to take meaningful steps to ensure the support for culture that he professes in words is reflected in actions.
“Well Mr. Speaker what a difference a day makes. Now that the Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation has reinstated the word ‘Culture’ into the department name, the arts and heritage communities have two other crucial and reasonable requests,” Rogers said in Question Period today.
“The cultural industry represents a sustainable, renewable growth industry worth $455 million dollars. So, I ask the Minister will he reinstate the positions of Director of Arts and Director of Heritage and ensure they are filled by recognized, qualified arts and heritage professionals?”
Rogers says the arts community must have advocates within the department; reducing resources is an action that directly contradicts the minister’s words of commitment. She also pointed out that Newfoundland and Labrador artists are vastly underfunded compared to artists in other provinces.
“I ask the Minister, if he values our artists and their work so much, will he guarantee funding for the creation phase of their work to at least the national average within four years so our artists in Newfoundland and Labrador have access to funding at the same level as their counterparts in the rest of Canada?” she asked.