With a provincial election call potentially less than 10 days away, both of Alberta's main political parties are presenting their ideas and plans for the future. As a fan and follower of the arts community in Edmonton (and more specifically L'Unitheatre and the Varscona Theatre) I took notice of when both the Alberta Liberals and Tories made arts and culture announcements this week.
On Wednesday, Kevin Taft's Alberta Liberals announced of a new policy titled Fuelling an Alberta Renaissance: Policies to Invigorate Arts and Culture in Alberta, proposing some key changes to how the Alberta Government interacts and provides support to Alberta's struggling arts community. Ed Stelmach's Tories followed their lead with an Arts announcement two days later. Much like Ed Stelmach's environment announcement earlier in the week, the Stelmach Tory arts announcement was short on substance and big on pictures.
I heard through a media source in Calgary that at the media scrum following the announcement, Ed Stelmach struggled to answer the straight forward question of "who are your favorite Alberta artists, Mr. Premier?" (couldn't even name Corb Lund?).
As if it wasn't indicative enough of the Tory Government's attitude towards the arts that the Premier had a hard time naming an Alberta artist, but I was blown away when I read Peace River Tory MLA and Tourism, Parks, and Culture Minister Hector Goudreau's speaking notes from the policy launch:
"We can build a civilized society that aspires to excellence and beauty..."Wow. Thanks, Hec.