Steeves rules out increasing arts funding; Ouellette and Bowman pledge to increase it


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Gord Steeves was blunt – no new funding for the arts.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/09/2014 (3103 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Gord Steeves was blunt – no new funding for the arts.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette and Brian Bowman said the opposite, pledging more cash for the city’s creative community.

The rest of the candidates at a noon-hour mayoral forum landed somewhere in the murky middle.

Steeves said he values the arts but believeS the city budget is far too tight and taxes are too high to allow for a boost to arts funding.

“It’s not my practice to make promises I can’t necessarily keep,” he said. “I will tell you the truth.”

But, he pledged not to cuts arts funding, and keep an open mind.

The forum, in the auditorium of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, attracted a big, polite crowd. Organizers noted that, at $5.60, Winnipeg’s per capita arts funding is far lower than the $35 national average.

Bowman, who is the former chair of the WAG board, repeated a pledge made earlier Friday to boost that per capita figure to $7. He said he’d ultimately like to get to the national average, but could not say how long that might take.

That prompted Ouellette to wonder where Winnipeg might get the cash to boost arts funding to match the national average. That would cost $24 million extra per year. Ouellette, who holds a Masters degree in music, proposed to dedicate one per cent of funding from each capital project to the arts. Later, front-runner Judy Wasylycia-Leis suggested the idea makes sense.

But, she offered no clear commitment to arts funding, saying instead the Winnipeg Arts Council should be a more integrated part of city planning. And she said the arts ought to be an issue tackled by the mayor, the premier and Manitoba’s top federal minister.

Paula Havixbeck also did not clearly commit to boosting arts funding, saying city hall has many pots of money that could be accessed. David Sanders noted that, though he favours a funding increase, he is just one vote on council.


Updated on Friday, September 26, 2014 2:47 PM CDT: Fixes typo in headline.

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