Cultural sectors forgotten; still waiting on promised government support

Workers in the cultural sector are the latest group of Nova Scotians to be hung out to dry by the McNeil Liberals. They join healthcare workers and a struggling tourism sector on a list of sectors who were promised support from the Premier, but who have since been forgotten.

“The cultural sector is the heart of our identity as Nova Scotians, it makes us who we are,” says Keith Bain, Progressive Conservative MLA for Victoria-The Lakes. “If cultural organizations and artists can no longer survive, then who will carry on and pass down Nova Scotian traditions?”

Bain and PC critic for Communities, Culture & Heritage, Larry Harrison notes that cultural organizations such as the Gaelic College, Highland Village, Celtic Colours, Theatre Baddeck, and other theatre and live performances have endured a difficult pandemic with the inability to hold live events. A letter was written to the Premier and Minister of Communities, Culture & Heritage Leo Glavine asking for clarification on when support would be announced.

Back in March, Premier McNeil acknowledged that the government would need to support independent artists and self-employed businesses owners to help them “weather the storm.”

When asked on CBC Cape Breton’s Information Morning about struggling artists, Premier McNeil stated: “We also as a province are looking at that sector, what can we do to help stimulate it, you're right, whether it’s visual arts, performing arts, that have been impacted by the steps that we’re taking, and that’s part of the role we will be looking at how to support them not only during this period of time, dealing with the virus, but what are the things we can do when we come out of it to help stimulate that sector.”

In late July, the Minister of Business and the Minister responsible for tourism, Geoff MacLellan told reporters after a cabinet meeting that the struggling tourism sector would receive support before the Fall. This support also has yet to arrive.

“It’s no good creating programs after businesses close, artists move elsewhere, and cultural groups disband because they can’t afford to keep going,” says Bain. “It’s time for Ministers Glavine and MacLellan to step up and deliver on the support for struggling sectors that their government has promised.”