N.B. Liberals, PCs pledge arts support

The campaigning Liberals and Progressive Conservatives made duelling arts announcements Sunday, with PC Leader David Alward's failure to name any Acadian artist reverberating through both.

Acadians figure prominently in Sept. 27 vote

The campaigning Liberals and Progressive Conservatives in New Brunswick made duelling arts announcements Sunday, with PC Leader David Alward's failure to name any Acadian artist reverberating through both.

Both parties pledged support for the 2014 Acadian World Congress, to be held in the province's Madawaska region. The Liberals pledged $2 million for the event, while the Conservatives said they would support the event financially but did not provide a dollar amount.

Statements released by both parties vying for power in the Sept. 27 election prominently mention French-speaking New Brunswick.

But on Thursday, during a Radio-Canada interview conducted in French, Alward was asked what Acadian artist he enjoys. He did not come up with any names.

About one-third of New Brunswick voters speak French as their first language.

Alward, who met with congress organizers Saturday, also said he would develop a youth language and cultural summer camps program that would allow young people to spend time in a community learning a second language.

"As a bilingual province, we are unique in the fact that we provide formal schooling in both official languages, but I believe we can do more to help augment our school-based programs," Alward said in a statement.

He also promised to develop new tax credits for New Brunswick artists.

The Liberals' statement named Acadian and anglophone artists.

"From playwright Antonine Maillet to painters Molly and Bruno Bobak, from writers like David Adams Richards to musicians like 1755 and, of course, Roch Voisine, New Brunswick has produced some world-class talents," the statement said. 

On top of the $2 million, Liberal Leader Shawn Graham pledged 40 more seats in film and theatre arts at the Acadian Peninsula campus of the New Brunswick Community College and promised that the province would market artists more through a revamped tourism policy.

Both parties pledged to revise the province's cultural policy.