Art and politics come together once again for the provincial election.
Here are the promises made as of press time by Manitoba’s four main political parties for Manitoban artists and creative industries.
Manitoba Liberal Party
Party Leader Dougald Lamont promises to “end decades of neglect of Manitoba’s cultural infrastructure and cultural industries by the NDP and PCs.”
The Liberal party stated they would allocate 2.5 per cent of existing infrastructure spending to “cultural infrastructure,” creating a Manitoba Cultural Capital Fund.
The party would also add to municipal funding in order to increase per capita arts funding by $4 million in the first year.
In partnership with Travel Manitoba, the Liberal Party would also recognize Manitoban historic and cultural figures and sites by creating a “Blue Plaque” heritage program.
Lamont promises to “restore funding” to artistic workforce development and training, as well as to creative industries export programs.
Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba
Progressive Conservative (PC) Leader Brian Pallister promises a budget increase for the Manitoba film and video production tax credit, which partially reimburses money spent in Manitoba on film and video productions.
He would increase the credit by $25 million over four years.
If re-elected, the PCs would allocate $1.5 million for training for film crews and industry workers.
Pallister also promises to increase funding to Travel Manitoba from four per cent of provincial revenue to five per cent.
These promises come after considerable budget cuts to arts and culture programming.
The 2017 provincial budget cuts to the province’s arts, sports and culture program funding totalled over $3.5 million.
While then-sport, culture and heritage minister Rochelle Squires claimed no jobs would be lost or programs cut as a result of these reductions, the cuts came out of several grant programs.
Many artists are reliant on grant funding in order to keep their creative work as a source of employment.
Current sport, culture and heritage minister Cathy Cox conducted a long-awaited review of Manitoba’s arts and culture industry. The review, “Our Way Forward: Manitoba’s Culture Policy and Action Plan” praised the industry without delineating how they would provide support.
In 2017, Pallister has also committed to contributing $10 million to the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art Centre.
In 2018, he promised up to an additional $5 million, contributing one provincial dollar for every two private dollars raised for the Inuit Art Centre.
New Democratic Party of Manitoba
The New Democratic Party has not released a statement on their plans for arts and culture funding as of press time.
Green Party of Manitoba
While the Greens do not have an explicitly outlined arts and culture platform, the party has promised more support for Indigenous cultural initiatives.
Their “Towards Reconciliation” platform promises to support Indigenous-led organizations in order to improve reliable, safe access to Indigenous cultures and languages. They have also pledged to support youth programming that promotes Indigenous culture and language.