The Honourable James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Honourable James Moore
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A5

March 20, 2012

Dear Minister Moore,

The BC Touring Council is a not-for-profit organization serving presenters and touring professional artists for over 35 years. Included in BCTC’s purposes is to support the work of regional performing arts presenters through a networking marketplace, and to promote and support the coordination of tours for primarily BC and Canadian artists.

The vitality of the presenting and touring sector is demonstrated with nearly $1,000,000 to be paid to BC artists, and another $746,000 going to Canadian artists, in this current season. The vitality of presenting is clearly demonstrated during the 2011-12 season when BC presenters paid $1.8 million in artist fees for over 500 performances in their communities. The revenue is anticipated to exceed $5.25 million.

The BC Touring Council works with more than 90 presenters in every part of British Columbia. These include volunteer organizations, festivals, municipalities, universities and schools, all of which share a common passion of supporting and developing artists, and building community.

With continued support for 20 years from Canadian Heritage, the BC Touring Council has hosted its signature event, Pacific Contact; a 3-day annual trade show and booking conference bringing together over 200 presenters, performing artists and artist management and agencies.

The conference includes:
• Over 40 juried live performing showcases;
• The ‘Contact Room’ where the buying and selling of shows occurs;
• Professional development;
• Networking opportunities with peers from across the province and the country.

In January, with less than three months before Pacific Contact, the BC Touring Council was informed that our funding request to the Canada Arts Presentation Fund was not approved. This represents a cut of approximately 25% of the budget. After a long history of funding, and without forewarning, the complete cut was a blow to the organization and members.

As a testament to the recognized value of this conference and the work of BC Touring Council, many supply companies and individuals offered deep discounts and personal donations to ensure the March 2012 event will be successful. The BCTC board and staff also adopted a number of cost-reducing measures. This is not a sustainable situation.

BC Touring Council Directors and staff have taken steps to understand the rationale for the withdrawal of funding including several meetings with officers from Canadian Heritage. We would like to know what funding criteria we did not meet this year that we have been meeting since 1992.

The real beneficiaries of the work of the BC Touring Council are the communities and residents of BC. Located in smaller communities throughout BC, our many members are volunteer organizations that wholly depend on the work of the BC Touring Council to introduce them to new performing artists, and to support their efforts in providing a variety of professional artistic experiences in their communities.

The BC Touring Council is one of a number of presenting and touring art service organizations across the country. The BC Touring Council is the only provincial presenting arts service organization in the country to have its Canadian Heritage funding withdrawn. With provincial arts funding already one of the lowest in the country, this cut will further impact the ability of the BC Touring Council to support presenting in the communities throughout the province. The loss of funding in BC also weakens the entire Canadian touring and presenting sector.

Funding support to the BC Touring Council from Canadian Heritage is vital and essential and we believe continues to meet the CAPF program objective which is to give Canadians access to a variety of professional artistic experiences in their communities. We ask that you reconsider our application and to restore Canadian Heritage funding to the BC Touring Council so that we can continue to support the work of artists across Canada and presenters in communities in British Columbia.

Sincere regards,

Margo Gram
Chair, BC Touring Council
Manager, Centennial Theatre North Vancouver

We, the undersigned, request that The Honourable James Moore reinstate Canadian Heritage's financial support to the BC Touring Council.

The BCTC Open Letter to Canadian Heritage Minister Moore petition to The Honourable James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages was written by Joanna Maratta and is in the category Culture at GoPetition.