Culture can thrive without tax dollars

Artists will find venues and the means to express themselves regardless of whether or not their efforts are subsidized by taxpayers.

To the Editor,

Re: Arts support a lasting gift, Letters, Nov. 25.

The author espouses the supposedly “legitimate and time-honoured” tradition of cultivating (read funding) culture through taxation in order to provide a lasting gift for generations to come.

I feel it’s my civic duty to respond and temper those lofty aims with a little reality.

Firstly, I believe the arts are part of our culture, and that artists will find venues and the means to express themselves regardless of whether or not their efforts are subsidized by taxpayers.

While expanding an already great theatre would surely make a wonderful gift for future generations, I think a far better gift would be a city without debt, and a balanced budget that doesn’t demand tax hikes year after year. Such a city would flourish, and then future generations can have children and raise families without the crushing ever-present fear of debt and bankruptcy. Because when you quell those fears, the people and their culture thrive.

If we are smart about money and how we spend it, or don’t spend it, we can help create the conditions where the arts and our culture will grow.

Brendan MillbankNanaimo