Manitoba Liberals reveal plan for arts and culture

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont.
Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont. Randall Paull/Global News

The Manitoba Liberals have unveiled their plans for enhancing Manitoba’s arts and culture scene, saying the other parties have been “neglecting” the industry.

Leader Dougald Lamont announced Sunday his party will create a capital fund by earmarking 2.5 per cent of existing infrastructure spending for cultural infrastructure. That would amount to about $25 million a year.

Lamont said he also wants to create a Blue Plaque heritage program to recognize cultural figures and sites across the province.

READ MORE: 2018 proves to be banner year for film production in Manitoba

The Liberals say the extra funding would grow the industry by improving venues and increasing access.

“Our culture is a huge part of what makes us special as a province and it attracts people – including paying customers – who wouldn’t be here otherwise,” Lamont said.

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The Liberals say there have been “decades of neglect of Manitoba’s cultural infrastructure and cultural industries by the NDP and PCs.”

“It’s time the Manitoba government showed some pride and interest in our local arts scene instead of undermining it,” Lamont said.

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The NDP shot back, with NDP campaign spokesperson Erin Selby releasing a statement saying the party “strongly supports the arts, culture and creative economy.”

“They are important not only because they make our province vibrant, they support thousands of good jobs,” the statement read.

The Cathy Cox, PC Candidate also released a statement saying the party has a strong commitment to arts.

“Our PC government has made nearly $120 million in new investments, including: the Diversity Gardens at Assiniboine Park, the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Arts Centre, Royal Aviation Museum, The Manitoba Museum, the Centennial Concert Hall, the Sports for Life Centre, and last, but certainly not least, doubling support for the Manitoba’s booming film industry with a $31 million investment.”

Lamont says he wants to fund more workplace training and development programs and increase municipal funding for arts by $4 million in the first year. He says organizations could also apply for funds to create new spaces, like artist hubs, and for maintenance projects. 

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