Monday, December 12, 2011

MInister Michael Chan has opportunity to make his voice heard on importance of culture to Ontario

One can’t miss the fact that Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore is working hard to strengthen the relationship between the cultural sector and the federal government, one that has clearly had its rocky moments. Tonight’s launch of the Minister’s first Music Night on Parliament Hill is further evidence of his efforts to garner support for the sector.

It follows that Minister Moore is calling on all governments to come together to recognize the importance of the creative economy. Recently, at the International Institute of Communications Conference in Ottawa, he said

In challenging economic times, all governments have to come together to recognize the importance of the creative economy, … not for its own sake, not as a boutique element in government investment, but as a central pillar in maintaining our cultural communities, our quality of life, and supporting a central piece of Canada’s economic infrastructure.

With the prospect of difficult times ahead for Ontario (and many cities in the province) Ontario Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister Michael Chan has the opportunity to take up the federal minister’s suggestion and add heft and substance to what are now the Province’s well-worn statements on the importance of the creative economy.

With culture absent as an issue in the recent provincial election, and concern about the watering down of its importance the undercurrent of many conversations, the sector would welcome Minister Chan becoming a stronger advocate.

Later this week, he may have that opportunity when he joins Toronto’s Creative Trust and the Professional Arts Organizations Network for Education for the launch of the Performing Arts Education Overview.