The BC Museums Association works to advocate for the needs of our members and the broader cultural sector at local, provincial, and federal levels. We want to update our members on recent advocacy efforts and to supply you with resources to take action.
2021 Federal Election
Canadians will be returning to the polls on September 20th to vote in a federal election.
On September 2, the CMA, BCMA, and 10 Provincial and Territorial Museums Associations issued an open letter urging all party leaders to prioritize our sector and commit to modernizing Canada’s national museums policy. The letter included a short questionnaire asking the political parties to share their vision for Canada’s museums by September 13.
Following this united appeal, we received two responses:
- The Bloc Québécois completed the questionnaire and supported our call for an updated national museum policy, recognizing the key role of arts and culture.
- The Liberal Party stated that they were unable to respond in detail and referred us to review their platform for policy commitments.
As of publishing this post, we have not yet heard back from the Conservative Party, New Democratic Party, or Green Party.
Where the Parties Stand on Key Issues:
If you want to jump-start your organizational or personal advocacy efforts, we recommend reviewing the following resources:
Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services
The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services is holding public consultations on the 2022 provincial budget in August and September. The BCMA and Heritage BC are submitting a joint letter with recommendations on behalf of the museum and heritage sectors.
We are calling upon the Province of BC to prioritize the following actions in the 2022/23 budget:
- Invest in green infrastructure and emergency preparedness
- Commit to stable, operating funds for museums & cultural heritage organizations
- Continue to prioritize funding for reconciliation and repatriation
- Work with the arts, culture, and heritage sector to promote the vital role that cultural organizations play in strengthening local economies
The BCMA is also working with arts service organizations (ASOs) across the province to support consistent messaging in the consultation process. The collaborative work of the ASO partnership allows the arts, culture, and heritage sector to speak with a unified voice and ensure that we are united in our advocacy efforts.
If you would like to make your voice heard in the consultation process, we encourage members to participate by:
The consultation process closes on September 30th.
Regional Consultations with Parliamentary Secretary for Arts and Film, Bob D’Eith
The BCMA was invited to a consultation session with the Parliamentary Secretary for Arts and Film, Bob D’Eith to help share lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify gaps in the current Provincial arts funding structures.
BCMA Executive Director, Ryan Hunt, attended this consultation session and made the following statement:
“We commend the Province of BC for its leadership in making several historic investments in BC’s arts, culture, and heritage sector – committing to doubling the BC Arts Council’s budget, investing in heritage infrastructure through the CERIP program, supporting repatriation through the 2020 Repatriation Grants, and supporting cultural organizations through vital COVID-19 relief programs.
I see two areas where the Province can further demonstrate leadership in arts funding – consistency of funding and inclusiveness of funding.
Programs like CERIP and the 2020 Repatriation Grants were both heavily oversubscribed, not just because they provide essential and impactful funding, but because the organizations and communities don’t know when programs like these will be offered again – not knowing whether it be months, years, or even decades until similar funding is offered. The irregularity of these funding programs makes it extremely difficult for organizations/communities to plan for the future and can make being rejected for funding feel especially devastating. Even a small amount of dedicated annual funding for repatriation or infrastructure would be unbelievably impactful.
Secondly, it is critical that the BC Arts Council’s Operating Assistance program is more inclusive of a greater variety of museums and heritage organizations. Of the more than 400 museums, heritage sites, archives, galleries, and Indigenous cultural centres in BC, roughly one-quarter receive operating assistance from the BC Arts Council. Operating assistance funding is critical to the success of heritage organizations, especially when so much of the BC Arts Council COVID relief funding was reserved for organizations in the operating assistance stream. It is critical that more organizations are able to apply for operating assistance.”