Arif Virani

Your member of parliament for

Parkdale-High Park

Arif Virani

Your member of parliament for

Parkdale-High Park


Budget 2017: Arts and Culture By the Numbers

When I took on my new portfolio as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage in January 2017, I was proud to take on, as part of my official mandate, the important role of supporting and promoting arts and culture across Canada. My riding of Parkdale-High Park is comprised of neighbourhoods with vibrant arts and cultural scenes, and home to many talented local artists and creators.

As one example, in February of this year, the Parkdale Village BIA launched a call to all local artists to participate in a unique creative opportunity: the Parkdale Neighbourhood Murals 2017 Project. In partnership with the 2017 Bell Box Murals Project, Parkdale launched its own community-based challenge. I can’t wait to see what our talented artists come up with when eight Bell Canada outdoor utility boxes are painted May 1 to 8, 2017!

I also had the honour to be invited to the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards on March 12, 2017. Among the well-deserved recognition of Canadian talent, it was Paul Sun-Hyung Lee’s acceptance speech that stole the show. Winner of the best actor in a comedy series award, Paul delivered a powerful speech that highlighted the need, now more than ever, for more diverse voices in television and media. A CBC sitcom, Kim’s Convenience is breaking down barriers and delivering a more representative model that mirrors life in Canada today.

In Budget 2016, we invested an unprecedented $675 million in CBC/Radio-Canada to support Canadian content and to provide Canadians with better access to programs and services in the digital era. I am proud of our Government’s mandate to support the CBC, and of CBC’s commitment to represent the diversity and multiculturalism we see in cities and towns around the country.

I am proud that Budget 2017 builds on our commitment to arts and culture – a commitment that needed to be renewed following the previous government’s budget cuts and outright neglect. Collectively, Canada’s cultural industries employ nearly 650,000 Canadians, and account for approximately 3% of Canada’s GDP. Our cultural industries provide good, well-paying jobs to Canadians, and showcase our unique identity.

In Budget 2016, we invested $1.9 billion over five years to support key national cultural institutions – including $168.2 million over two years for the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. Budget 2017 builds on that investment with additional funds of $1.8 billion over 10 years – more than $1.3 billion of this amount will be provided to provinces and territories through integrated bilateral agreements.

For the Canada Cultural Spaces fund, we are providing $300 million over 10 years to construct, renovate, and better equip the creative spaces and hubs that will be home to the next generation of artists and innovators. Our investments not only help to develop Canadian talent, but they support entrepreneurialism within the arts and culture communities. I’m delighted that one of these Canadian Cultural Spaces fund investments will be right here in the Junction! On February 8, 2017, Minister Joly announced $5.1 million in federal government funding for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).

As the Parliamentary Secretary, and an ardent francophile, I am also committed to support the preservation of Canada’s linguistic diversity. To celebrate and promote this diversity, $80 million over 10 years will be invested to support the construction of community educational infrastructure in official language minority communities. In partnership with provinces and territories, these funds may help invest in projects such as early childhood education centres, community centres, and cultural centres.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my Budget 2017 series tomorrow! Next up: funding for mental health and addictions.

“The Budget Plan reinforces Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly’s plan to outline ‘a new approach’ for the creative sector, ‘one that is focused on the future.’”

The Arts Advocate

“These welcoming cultural spaces are community hubs that truly represent an investment in inclusive, sustainable development. We look forward to continue to work with the federal government on improving social infrastructure in arts and culture.”

Kate Cornell, Co-Chair, Canadian Arts Coalition and Executive Director of the Canadian Dance Assembly

Yours truly,

Arif Virani
MP for Parkdale-High Park
Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism