Ontario’s Liberals and New Democrats are promising to increase spending on the arts sector, which they say was already undercut before the COVID-19 pandemic closed galleries and canceled shows. gigs.

The NDP platform pledges to “stabilize annual funding for the Ontario Arts Council and the Ontario Media Development Corporation,” while the Liberals have said they will “restore funding” to the arts, music and culture.

“The arts sector really gives a lot of our communities their sense of character, the kind of things we love,” Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said Saturday during a campaign stop in Milton, Ont.

“Having a government in place that doesn’t abandon the sector, that wants to partner with the sector, that’s why we included that specific cost in our plan.”

The Liberals set the cost of restoring funding at $25 million each year starting in 2023-24, in addition to $5 million for the Indigenous Culture Fund, which Doug Ford’s government cut in 2019.

The president and founder of the Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada says the $5 million cut hurts.

“When that funding was cut off from Indigenous peoples, Indigenous culture, it was really a blow because at that point we felt a little more confident and a little more secure. And so this funding has really helped us share our culture with Canadians,” said Dawn Iehstoseranón:nha, also known as Dawn Setford.

Iehstoseranón:nha said his organization and Indigenous artists more broadly “have somehow gotten away with it,” despite funding cuts and lost revenue due to the pandemic, but it would be a huge boost if she was reinstated.

“It would be absolutely wonderful if that funding was put back in place so more people could access it,” she said.

Andrew Cash, president of the Canadian Independent Music Association, said his group would also like to see $7 million returned to the Ontario Music Fund.

The Conservatives halved $15 million in 2019 as they sought to cut an $11.7 billion deficit.

“It made the fallout from COVID worse,” said Cash, a former federal NDP MP.

“This has affected the ability of music labels to invest in new talent to bring to what is today essentially a global music market.”

The New Democrats have yet to release the costs of their plans, but their platform says the party would create a five-year, $50 million fund to “match investments from the television and media industry.” cinema in new studios”.

The NDP platform also touts its social supports as beneficial to artists and other cultural workers, saying drug and dental coverage will make a career in the arts more viable.

A spokeswoman for the Progressive Conservatives said in an emailed statement that the party’s infrastructure investments include “community, cultural and recreational initiatives.”

“Doug Ford and PC Ontario also invested nearly $1 million to expand on-the-job training for 350 young people in creative industries like film, music, games and animation” , said Gillian Sloggett. “The initiative focuses on young people over the age of 16 with disabilities who are newcomers to Ontario, Aboriginal or Black.