Not only is publishing and the arts in general an economic engine in this province, but they also contribute, just as importantly, to the health and welfare of our communities. In the literary arts sector, our authors tell the stories that define who we are as British Columbians whether urban or rural residents, young or old, aboriginal, scholar, worker, child. Our books reflect the lives of our ranchers, wine makers, stockbrokers, fishers, foresters or art critics; as well, they contribute to Canadian literature and scholarship.
Yet, the institutions that make it possible to ensure our books are read in schools or on ferries, by tourists or residents, are still threatened despite the return of $7M to the BCAC budget. For example, BC BookWorld, a magazine that reviews books and includes articles on our many, many writers and publishers, and which reaches all communities in the province, had its funding cut by 100%. The Magazine Association of BC that works on behalf of literary and commercial magazines was cut by 83.5%, and this association, the ABPBC, that ensures the health of the book industry by offering programs that evaluate books for educational use, that coordinates literary programs such as Poetry in Transit in every community in the province with a bus, and that is working to make our non-fiction written heritage available in digital form in libraries throughout the province, has been cut by 91%. A business person yourself, you can appreciate that cuts of over 20% of operating budgets, is unsustainable. As project clients of the BCAC none of these organizations will benefit from the return of $7M in funding to the BCAC, pointing out the continued need to restore the BCAC budget to its previous level, to include the funding from the defunct Arts and Culture section that originally served these clients, and to ensure stable funding for not just ourselves but all artists, arts organizations and cultural industries.