Since we are starting up our Advocacy Blog in earnest again, I thought it behooved me to lead the charge this time as the Chair/Head/Grand Poobah of the Advocacy Committee.
It was last June that I took over from the indomitable Bonnie Green. Whether I have begun to fill her boots is questionable but it has certainly been an ambitious and fascinating nine months.
Along with Boomer, Mirette and our friends at Global Public Affairs, we have attempted to tackle or assist on a number of fronts including our annual federal pre-budget submission, speaking as witnesses at the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee on the Canada Council, working with the Council on issues such as peer assessment, sector demographics and current challenges for some of our TYA members, as well as a touch-and-go federal election.
Perhaps, though, the most interesting thing on a personal level that I think is truly germane to our blog is the fact that I am finally beginning to feel a sense of, dare I say, ease when it comes to getting out there and meeting with MPs, bureaucrats and ministry staffers. I am the first to admit that when I started getting involved in Advocacy, I had my share of worries – what am I going to do when they ask me A, B or C? I’m not good at stats – what if they want numbers? At the end of the day, I have learned that meetings will come and meetings will go. Sometimes MPs will be engaged – and sometimes they won’t. But how will you know unless you make that connection in the first place?
Other sectors may come with ample charts and stats – and certainly theatre has its share too. The fact of the matter is, though, that no one can speak more eloquently about our industry than we can. If you’re wondering about starting an email or picking up the phone to reach out to an elected official – don’t hesitate – just do it. All of us on the Advocacy Committee are here to offer support so please reach out to us.
At the end of the day, though, you know your art and, more importantly, why it is so vital to your community better than anyone else. That is more than enough to make you an arts advocate, par excellence!
Chair of the Advocacy Committee