The Kevin Files: Budget Day
Okay y'all - buckle your seatbelts because here comes the BC budget!
Surprise, surprise - Finance Minister Colin Hansen will be projecting a much higher deficit than the $495 million version offered last February.
We'll know more soon... when the budget comes down about 2:45 p.m.
But just to recap the fun of yesterday for a minute.
Apparently the NDP opposition hammered the BC Liberals about the arts cuts in the Legislature. In fact, Doug Donaldson (NDP MLA from Stikine) said the timing of the cuts has left community organizations in the lurch and pointed to the Bulkley Fall Fair, which was under way in Smithers last weekend when organizers were told their $20,000 grant was cancelled.
In response, Minister Kevin Kruger said the cuts reflect the government's priorities. He stated: “Would any member on the opposite side of the House argue that a program to fund nutritional and similar programs in schools for underprivileged children is a lower priority than fall fairs? Not everyone can be funded. Tough decisions have to be made.”
It's nice to know just what our new Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts thinks of the arts sector. Low priority. Maybe he didn't realize that the Bulkley Fall Fair is having its 90th anniversary this year. Or that the funding for underprivileged children through the CommunityLINK program is supposed to come from the Ministry of Education's budget.
And if you look closely at the picture of the fair, you can see a BC 150 years celebration banner. That means last year, this fall fair likely got extra support from the province of BC as part of the celebration for BC's 150th Anniversary. Why was this event important enought to receive extra support last year and now the regular grant funding for this event is cut entirely?
I know, I know... the global recession. Tough times for all. But is it fair to steal money from charities and use it to pay other government expenditures? Why is it the arts sector that is being asked to absorb 100% cuts of their Gaming funding so that the government can try to reduce its deficit?
Low priority, indeed.