As you no doubt know, today is election day in Alberta. So if there is one thing you plan on doing today it should be getting out to your local polling place and marking an X next to the candidate/party of your choice. You can find your polling place by visiting www.elections.ab.ca.
Have you made up you mind who you’d like to vote for yet? There are many issues that you (or I) can choose to go into the voting booth with at the top mind. Health care, education, the environment, and the royalty review will no doubt be popular ones this time around. But I’d like to draw your attention to another issue that doesn’t get the same about of “air time” in Alberta: Arts and Culture.
It’s an issue that effects us pretty much ever moment of every day. It is the building blocks of quality of life and standard of living. Without it you can’t belong and you become just some loser in your dark basement typing (which is ironic actually…).
The Calgary Professional Arts Alliance (along with their Edmonton counterparts, PACE) provide a good run down of each party’s platform when it comes to arts and culture. I present them here for your review:
Although not listed in their election platform, the PCs announced a new Cultural Policy called “The Spirit of Alberta”.
- Ensure stable and predictable funding
- $12 m in the next provincial budget including a 30% increase to the AFA
- Provide support for arts festivals, post-secondary artist-in-residence programs, community presenters,Aboriginal arts camps, traveling exhibitions, public galleries and the acquisition of art
- Encourage greater private charitable giving to non-profit organizations by increasing the tax credit for charitable donations
- Provide funding for communities to plan, build and upgrade cultural and recreational facilities
- $1.6 million for the Alberta Film Development Program
- Double Alberta Foundation for the Arts funding immediately and triple it within three years.
- Pursue Status of the Artist legislation.
- Launch an Alberta Arts Festival, equivalent to the Alberta Games.
- Create an Alberta Film and Television Tax Credit.
- Pilot an Alberta Publishers Fund.
- Develop a capital investment strategy for heritage and cultural facilities.
- Eliminate entrance fees for youth to cultural facilities.
- Create a separate Ministry of Arts and Culture to coordinate arts funding and programs, and offer stable funding to arts groups.
- Improve the living and working conditions of artists by helping artists to establish thriving markets for their art, gain easy access to information about building their careers, and support collective bargaining in those sectors where the artists want it.
- Introduce $30 million in new funding for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Ensure the independence of the Foundation’s board.
- End political patronage in board appointments.
- Allocate 1% of all large capital projects for the commission of arts projects. Increase fine arts curriculum in elementary and secondary schools.
- Expand and coordinate Alberta’s network of museums, historical sites, galleries and libraries.
- Promote Alberta arts and artists on the national and international stage.
- A Wildrose Alliance Government will ensure that the arts, music and physical education curriculums are fully funded in Alberta’s public schools.
- A Wildrose Alliance Government will encourage and support through funding for community projects and school programs such as music, art, theatre, dance, sculpture, reading-writing and other arts and cultural activities as an essential enrichment of life and integral part of Alberta’s communities and cultural diversity.
- The Alberta Greens will encourage diverse community arts programs and cultural centers by providing up to 3 years start-up money for community-initiated proposals.
- Proposals would be expected to be self-sustaining after three years.
- Stable funding would come from the general revenue, and not be dependant on lotteries.
The CPAA and PACE have a great table on their websites too which shows each parties’ stance on several key points around this issue. Please check it out if you have a moment.
If you haven’t made up your mind on who to vote for yet, hopefully this will help, and perhaps arts and culture will be your “top of mind” issue today.
Now get out there and vote before 9pm!
As we find ourselves passing the half-way point of the provincial election you have no doubt noticed I have pretty much been entirely silent during thus far. While I could blame my seemingly abandoned blog on the fact I was in Asia for the first third of the writ period, or the fact I’m still mad Premier Stelmach hasn’t apologised for calling an election while I was out of the country, or that I’m in the middle of packing for our upcoming move, I won’t. No, I won’t. Instead I blame it almost entirely on the fact there has been little if anything worth talking about. (That and I’m lazy.)
In that spirit I offer you here, my thirty second summary of what’s happened up to this point in the election:
- Ed Stelmach sounds like Woody Allen trying to make a quick decision each and every time he speaks. This is frustrating the majority of PC voters, members and candidates.
- Kevin Taft can make all the policy announcements he likes but people still aren’t saying they will vote for him or his party.
- Brian Mason and the NDP are struggling to be remembered.
- People have no idea who George Read is but a small number of Albertans will vote for the Green Party anyway.
- The Wildrose Alliance have yet to earn any of my allotted 30 seconds.
There you go. What else do you need to know? Did I really need to be blogging daily to give you more details? If you want more details however, I am back and will begin weighing in again. In my absence I give kudos to the following blogs for doing a great job keeping everyone informed.
Somewhere in the middle with me: The Enlightened Savage
General coverage: Alberta Election 2008