By Bill Bennett
Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
February 6, 2013
Last week, our government launched BC Creative Futures, a strategy:
1. To encourage the growth of creative thinking in young people;
2. To establish a one stop shop to foster growth of our creative industries; and
3. To maximize opportunities from the investment in Emily Carr University of Art + Design.
It must be noted that the strategy is not intended to address the major challenge facing the film industry, namely what I believe are unsustainable subsidies by the Province of Ontario. That can only be solved with an additional $100 million from B.C. provincial taxpayers. While the strategy is an important step forward for all creative industries in British Columbia, I want the film and TV sector to know that I will continue working with them on additional strategies to address issues of competiveness. I do not underestimate the challenge.
In the meantime, BC Creative Futures will utilize $6.25 million in new money as of April 1, to facilitate more youth engagement in the arts and to encourage creative thinking. This is an investment in our future, given the link between creative thinking and successful economies. In total, next fiscal year's government funding for the BC Art Council totalling $24 million will be the highest in British Columbia's history.
Part two of our strategy is the one-stop shop, Creative BC - a new independent agency that will work with the creative industries to develop and implement a broad strategy capitalizing on the sector's strengths and identifying new opportunities for the future. Creative BC's mandate will be to work with film, TV, digital media, music, publishing and other components of the creative industries. This is something industry has requested for some time as a means to focus promotional opportunities and to reduce administrative red tape. The full budgets of both BC and Media and the BC Film Commission will be rolled into the new agency, as well as $1 million of new money beginning April 1, 2013.
The third part of the strategy supports our long term commitment to the arts. Through our $113 million announcement to help build a new visual, media and design facility at Emily Carr University of Art + Design's Great Northern Way Campus, we will ensure that future generations have a place to hone their creative talents.
Given government's commitment to balance the upcoming budget, it is my view that our BC Creative Futures Strategy is the right one now and for the future. It is a tangible example of government's strong commitment to arts, culture and our creative industries. Despite the opposition's hollow complaints, we have now clearly established a solid course of action by funding for these new youth‐based programs, the adoption of Creative BC and over $100 million for expansion at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.