Parry Sound-Muskoka MP and President of the Treasury Board Tony Clement was in town Friday to announce $60,000 for the Charles W. Stockey Centre’s Performing Arts Series over the next two years through the Canada Arts Presentation Fund.
It’s nice to see the support for the local arts community, especially in a time when austerity is the buzzword at all levels of government.
Just last month the Canadian government unveiled a budget that cut public sector jobs affecting everything from border security to Environment Canada’s ability to do research, killed the penny, and cut the CBC’s budget by $115 million.
All this was done in a bid to start reigning in the deficit - $33 billion in 2010/2011 - and get back to days of surpluses.
All too often that news means cuts to community arts, with supporters lamenting the loss of culture and community spirit, arguing that while there is no tangible economic benefit after government funding is factored in, it adds to the culture of a town, or village, or city and makes it a more desirable place to live.
The announcement of $60,000 is no small potato. It will help the Stockey Centre in its effort to continue offering the varied artistic performers it has in the past, from children’s plays to country music stars, to 1980s rock icons.
This, along with the support given by local municipalities to help with the town’s operating costs, not to mention the book reading series and the Festival of the Sound, will ensure not only the town, but West Parry Sound, remains a vibrant community that attracts and develops tomorrow’s great minds.