Friday, July 9, 2004

Full Political Party Responses to Arts Sector Questionnaire

Updated October 24, 2003

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Saskatchewan Arts Alliance asked our provincial political party leaders to articulate their position and measures they plan to establish to support the arts and culture sector. Of the registered provincial political parties written to, three responded to the questionnaire and the Saskatchewan Liberal Party provided its "Statement on Arts and Culture". Following are the responses in full. The Liberal statement is at the bottom of this page Statement on Arts and Culture


1a. Will your party support amending the Status of the Artist Act to enable professional artists to access economic and social programs, benefits and rights; for example, employment insurance, workers compensation, collective bargaining, training, pension and social assistance benefits?

New Democratic Party: “An NDP government will work with the arts community to set priorities to identify strategic initiatives, and will take action (which may include legislative change) around issues that will make a real difference in the lives of Saskatchewan artists.”

New Green Alliance: “Yes.”

Saskatchewan Party: “The Saskatchewan Party fully supported the Status of the Artist Act when it was introduced and subsequently passed in the Legislature in 2002. Our position has not changed since that time. Our concern here is who would be considered the employer? Would it be the government or would this person be self-employed? And if an individual was willing to pay into a program, such as Workers Compensation, then it stands to reason that he/she would certainly be eligible to access those services. We do believe that each of the economic and social programs and benefits and rights would have to be reviewed separately on their own merits.”

1b. Will your party support formation of a Status of the Artist Commission?

New Democratic Party: “An NDP government is committed to working with the arts community, through the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Status of the Artist, on moving forward identified issues using the most effective public policy instruments, one of which may include a Status of the Artist commission.”

New Green Alliance: “Yes.”

Saskatchewan Party: “Under a Saskatchewan Party government, the nature and scope of all agencies, boards, commissions and departments will be reviewed, based on the following five criteria - does it serve a compelling public interest; is it affordable; is it accountable to taxpayers; is it delivered in the most effective way possible and does it help grow the province by 100,000 people in 10 years? With specific reference to a Status of the Artist Commission, the Saskatchewan Party would not want it to hamper artistic integrity.”

2. Does your party support a pan-departmental arts policy that empowers government to be proactive in advancing the sector?

New Democratic Party: “An NDP government is committed to having an arts policy embedded in a comprehensive cultural policy that works across all relevant government departments.”

New Green Alliance: “Yes.”

Saskatchewan Party: “The Saskatchewan Party encourages the arts and cultural sector to be pro-active in all areas.”

3a. Does your party support increased funding to the Saskatchewan Arts Board?

New Democratic Party: “An NDP government has and will continue to recognize the important contribution that the Saskatchewan Arts Board brings to the people of Saskatchewan. That is why my colleagues and I committed an additional $1.5 million increase to the Saskatchewan Arts Board by 2005.”

New Green Alliance: “Yes.”

Saskatchewan Party: “The Saskatchewan Party is committed to maintaining the current level of existing funding to the arts in Saskatchewan. Our plan to "get Saskatchewan growing" will mean increased growth in various sectors which will translate into more available funding for programs and services.”

3b. Does your party support preservation of its arm’s length status?

New Democratic Party: “As Tommy Douglas's government, an NDP government believes that it is in the public interest to maintain an arms-length funding agency of government to support the arts in Saskatchewan. This approach has been so successful that other provinces in Canada have developed their legislative mechanisms to fund the arts based on the Saskatchewan model.”

New Green Alliance: “Yes.”

Saskatchewan Party: “The Saskatchewan Party is not aware of any difficulties existing within the current Saskatchewan Arts Board and, therefore, we see no immediate need to change this particular aspect.”

4a. Does your party support funding through lotteries to culture?

New Democratic Party: “An NDP government recognizes the importance of lottery funding to over 12,000 voluntary culture and recreation organizations, and the value of the programs and services they provide to the people of Saskatchewan. Our NDP government continues to support the visionary public policy that secured lottery profits for cultural activities. Saskatchewan is the only province that maintains the decision-making at arms length. An NDP government commits to keeping it at arms length, allowing the community to determine its priorities.”

New Green Alliance: “Yes.”

Saskatchewan Party: “Yes, the Saskatchewan Party supports this method of funding.”

4b. Does your party support increasing investment through the lottery license agreement to the lotteries trust fund?

New Democratic Party: “Despite the challenging fiscal climate, an NDP government is committed to maintaining the lottery license fee at as low a level as possible because of our commitment to over 12,000 volunteer community organizations in the sport, culture and recreation sector.”

New Green Alliance: “Yes.”

Saskatchewan Party: “A Saskatchewan Party government will review the current lotteries licensing agreement. This review could mean additional funding being made available to the arts and cultural community in Saskatchewan.”

5. Does your party support advancement of key elements of the Cultural Industries Development Strategy, for example training, investment and market development?

New Democratic Party: “An NDP government is committed to working with the community using the Cultural Industries Development Strategies as a framework. That is why we have committed $450,000/year to fund the Cultural Industries Development Council and are committed to seeing funding continue.”

New Green Alliance: “Yes.”

Saskatchewan Party: “Overall economic growth translates into increased revenue. This could have a positive impact on key elements for advancements, such as training, investment and market development.”

6. Does your party believe that the arts and cultural sector deserves a dedicated government department?

New Democratic Party: “An NDP government is committed to maintaining the Department of Culture, Youth and Recreation as a separate government department. My colleagues and I recognized the value and contribution that sport, recreation and culture make to the quality of life in Saskatchewan, and that is why one of our first acts was the creation of a separate department to focus on those issues.”

New Green Alliance: “Yes.”

Saskatchewan Party: “As stated previously, a Saskatchewan Party government would review the nature and scope of all agencies, boards, commissions and departments based on the following five criteria - does it serve a compelling public interest; is it affordable; is it accountable to taxpayers; is it delivered in the most effective way possible; and does it help grow the province by 100,000 people in 10 years?”


Saskatchewan Liberal Statement on Arts and Culture

Investment of public funds in arts and culture are investments in our quality of life. The arts create public value by increasing educational, social, civic and economic opportunities. Arts and culture also nourish our sense of civic pride, and responsibility to our own community.

Arts and culture bring people together. They help us understand and appreciate the environment in which we live, and develop an appreciation for our fellow citizens; and they connect with different ideas, helping appreciate diversity of opinion. They are important in a political context as a response to social, economic, cultural and political issues faced by a community.

There are important linkages to safe communities, strong communities, fulfilling career ambitions, and the arts. It has been demonstrated that the arts help increase academic performance, improve behaviour, reach at-risk kids who might want to drop out of school, improve self esteem, and build creative skills that are transferable to our workforce.

Also it has been demonstrated that the arts – on a large scale at Bilbao; and on a smaller scale at a venue like the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan in Saskatoon or the Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival or the Emma Lake School of Art or the International Fringe Festivals – are an anchor of attraction and make a significant contribution to the economic vitality of communities. There is an emerging “creative class” which is attracted to living in centres which boast a high bohemian index. The arts provide significant employment opportunities for careers right here in Saskatchewan: over 18,000 people are currently employed in the cultural sector in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Liberals would support a cultural industries development strategy that aligns with the economic development cluster strategy we establish.

Careers in the arts must be supported through a pan-governmental policy to embed the arts and culture into the budgets and environmental considerations of all government agencies. Those careers must not relegate the artist to poverty-level conditions; a Saskatchewan Liberal government would be committed to promoting the work of local artists to the world, and to local patrons, and to increasing the purchase of artistic works for government buildings and performed or displayed in government spaces.

The Saskatchewan Liberal Party would support the formation of a Status of the Artist Commission, if it were the majority will of the arts community to form such a body, and if it were an action-oriented organization. We would further commit to maintaining funding levels of the Saskatchewan Arts Board, maintaining a vibrant Board that operates at arm’s length from government. The Board will continue to provide grants, programs and services to individuals and groups whose activities have an impact on the arts in Saskatchewan, and ensures that opportunities exist for Saskatchewan residents to engage in all art forms.

Saskatchewan Liberals commit to support the Film and Video and new media industry in an open, transparent and even-handed fashion. We would continue the Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit, and enhance the marketing of Saskatchewan as a place to produce film and video.

In addition, we would continue to fund arts and culture initiatives as generously as possible through a portion of lottery and gaming profits. In consultation with stakeholders, we would look at funding levels through the lottery licensing agreement to better support arts and cultural activities. Saskatchewan Liberals believe our Crowns can play a crucial role in public philanthropy and support of arts and cultural events, in particular in our core neighbourhoods. Our Crown Corporations must have the public policy mandate to help create citizens in our province who are culturally literate.

Saskatchewan Liberals are committed to the investment of public funds in arts and culture, holding as a policy tenet that principle that these are investments in our quality of life. Arts and culture also nourish our sense of civic pride, our responsibility to the community, and do enable us to flourish as citizens.