Monday, November 2, 2009

Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians letter to Minister Kruger

The Honourable Kevin J. Krueger Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Room 124 Parliament Buildings British Columbia V8V 1X4

Dear Minister Krueger,

We represent 20 Canadian professional orchestras with over 1,100 members. We are writing to express our grave concern about the proposed cuts to the BC Arts Council.

Considering how the arts are a growing industry and provide major economic benefits throughout the province, it seems short-sighted to reduce government support in this sector. These cuts will result in further shrinkage of the BC economy and lost tax revenues for the BC government.

There are 80,000 people employed in the arts sector in BC and it is estimated that artistic activities generate $5.2 billion annually. It is bigger than the forestry and fishing industries combined. According to your own government statistics, for every dollar invested in the arts, the province gets back $1.38 in taxes.

We wll know that the social benefits that the arts provide to our society are immeasurable. All communities are enriched by a vibrant cultural presence.

The provinces of Ontario and Alberta have chosen to increase funding to the arts during this economic downturn in recognition of the importance that a stable long-term investment will provide to its citizens.

As Minister of Culture, you have the ability to defend and promote stable and consistent funding to ensure that this most important industry can remain strong and healthy in the future.

We urge you and your fellow elected representatives to reconsider this decision and fully restore the BC Arts Council budget.

Sincerely, Francine Schutzman, President Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians

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