The Honourable Gordon Campbell
Premier of British Columbia
Box 9041 Station PROV GOVT
Victoria, BC V8W 9E1
Dear Premier Campbell:
I’m writing to ask that you reinstate funding to our arts organizations, including BC Bookworld, the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia, and the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival. As both a professional writer and an avid reader, I find these groups an integral part of the my cultural community.
During my university years with my economics-major boyfriend, I had a discussion (euphemism for argument), to which I thought you might relate. (Don’t ask why I was dating an economics major. It was a long and drawn-out mistake.) He was arguing that government funding was wasted on culture. I, of course, was arguing the opposite. Badly. I tried all the usual arguments that cultural groups provided valuable jobs, economic activity, and educational opportunities. He countered each point fluidly, until I gave up the discussion in disgust.
That’s when he said, “You should have argued that culture is valuable because it defines us as a community.”
I was shocked. My right-wing boyfriend had just said something about cultural community? But he went on to explain that cultural activity develops and confirms our identity as a group, a group separate from, say, the United States. Without the culture to join us under one identity, we are open to invasion – cultural and economic if not otherwise – from other places. And if Canada was no longer an independent nation, well… you’d be out of a job, wouldn’t you? And so would I.
I hope I’ve explained this properly. You could probably call my ex-boyfriend for a more thorough look at the issue. His name’s Kevin, and I think he’s a stockbroker in Alberta somewhere.
I thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you will consider fully supporting the arts community in our province.