John Horgan, leader of the B.C. NDP is hoping to form a majority government after the October 24 election.
Last September, Horgan dissolved the legislative assembly, triggering an election that ended his NDP minority government.
With polls showing Horgan and the B.C. NDP leading, his gamble may pay off.
As part of his party’s platform, the B.C. NDP promises to “support the creation of dedicated arts and culture spaces”
“Under our Recovery Investment Fund, we will expand our new $2 million Arts Infrastructure Program to help communities build new cultural spaces and renovate existing ones,” the platform reads.
When Horgan held an online media conference with ethnic media on October 7, the ReyFort Media Group asked the B.C. premier about this particular pledge.
We asked what the Filipino community can expect from the province in the development of a cultural centre in Metro Vancouver.
Horgan responded by saying that a B.C. NDP government will add $9 billion in the capital budget of the province.
The capital budget will be used for new infrastructure projects, which include recreational facilities, schools, and transportation.
Horgan also shared what his party thinks about the importance of culture in diverse communities in B.C.
“We believe that at the core of every community is the cultural components that make it up,” Horgan said.
This is why, according to him, they talk about a Chinese Canadian museum and moves to create a South Asian museum.
“We want to make sure that communities and the Filipino community are a very dynamic and significant community largely in the Lower Mainland but dispersed around British Columbia should have a centre,” Horgan said.
According to Horgan, such a centre should be “supported by governments and community so that cultural activities and social interaction can continue”.
As an aside, Horgan recalled that he has done a bit of dancing his colleague Vancouver-Kensington MLA Mable Elmore in Filipino events.
“I know that the bigger the hall, the more people will come,” Horgan said.
In short, “I fully understand the importance of cultural centres to new communities.”
Horgan also noted that other cultural centres have been supported by various levels of government, including federal and provincial.
“Diverse communities also need that support,” Horgan said.
According to Horgan, the ministry of municipal affairs led by Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson is where applications for grants can be made.
Horgan also said that the Filipino community can work with municipal governments for such things like the acquisition of land for a cultural centre.
“I’m very happy to support those initiatives,” Horgan said.
The Fil-Can Cultural Heritage Society is an organization that hopes to see a cultural centre built.
The President of FCCHS is Primarosa Roine and Vice-Presidents are Roldan Robles (1st VP) and Rey Fortaleza (2nd VP).
The FCCHS group is based in Surrey and has extensive connections with different Filipino organizations across Metro Vancouver.
The FCCHS intends to build a future Filipino centre that will serve as a cultural home for Filipinos in Surrey and beyond.
By Rey Fortaleza, Publisher