Many local issues are being discussed in this election, but Ottawa’s vibrant arts and culture scene doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. That’s a shame, because Ottawa is a heavy hitter in supporting a strong cultural sector. However, we know that the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the city’s arts scene, and it will take many years to rebound.
The Ottawa Cultural Alliance and Apartment613 are just two of many organizations devoted to fostering Ottawa’s arts and cultural scene. We jointly developed a candidate questionnaire and are publishing all the response we receive prior to Election Day on September 20. Jennifer Purdy, Green Party candidate for Kanata-Carleton, was one of those who took the opportunity to respond. Check out the other candidate responses here.
What are your roots in the riding where you are running for office, and how have you been involved in the community?
I grew up in Kanata, served in the military across the country, and then moved to Dunrobin in 2015. Growing up in Kanata, I played many sports in school and in the community. I was a Brownie, Girl Guide, and Pathfinder. My community involvement has been practising medicine in Kanata, opening my own medical practice in Kanata, mentoring doctors in Kanata and Ottawa. I also have given talks at Veg Ottawa and for the Ottawa Veg Association about healthy eating, health issues, etc.
Why should our readers vote for you?
I am the only candidate in Kanata-Carleton that wants to cancel the TMX pipeline. While I appreciate this questionnaire is about arts and culture, if we don’t take climate change seriously, then it will be more difficult as time goes on to appreciate arts and culture. People will be more stressed, experience more ill health and higher costs of living. Having a greener, cleaner future where arts and culture are better supported equates with having a healthier, more vibrant and equitable community and country.
Cultural resources such as festivals, museums, and galleries play a critical role in the mental health of Ottawans. In fact, seven in 10 residents think cultural venues are important to mental health and well-being. They are places where our most vulnerable citizens can make social connections and be stimulated. Culture is arguably more important than ever as our economy and communities recover from the pandemic. What role do you see culture playing in the city’s reopening and recovery?
I agree that culture is essential to our beings and to our well-being! I believe part of our issue with the pandemic has been the loss of cultural events such as festivals, and being able to access museums and galleries. Being able to access these events and spaces will be a positive, uplifting sign that indeed we are on the road to recovery, nourishing our souls as we reconnect with each other and with creative expression.
What specific investments will you support to assist and grow Ottawa’s cultural sector?
The Greens support stable funding for festivals and events that celebrate Canadian heritage. [We will] encourage accessible digital offerings even post-pandemic reopening [and] increase funding to all of Canada’s arts and culture organizations, including the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada, orchestras, theatres, galleries, and publishers. This will have an impact on Ottawa’s cultural sector. Guaranteed Livable Income: while this is not specific to Ottawa’s cultural sector, having GLI will give artists and creators more freedom to pursue their creative passion and less financial stress.