Highlights from the ArtsVOTE 2010 Survey of Municipal Candidates

The final tallies of scores are in and 113 candidates for election in the Region of Niagara have been graded on their knowledge and support of the cultural sector.

Candidates for Mayors, municipal councils, regional council and school boards participated in the multiple-choice survey and the results are available online at www.artsvoteniagara.ca.  The survey is meant to educate candidates as well as test their general knowledge of the cultural sector, their respect for artists and local arts expertise, their dedication to informed decision-making processes and their inclination toward collaborative governance.

General questions relating to the cultural sector are asked of all the candidates and specific questions are asked of St. Catharines, regional and school board candidates.  This year, in the St. Catharines section, there were questions about the role of the ten-year-old Cultural Services Office and particular emphasis on questions related to the development of a performing arts centre in the downtown.

“Performing arts centres are highly specialized buildings,” noted ArtsVOTE Niagara Executive Committee Chair Janis Barlow, “and the arts community here is eager to share its expertise with the City’s project task forces to ensure a successful project.”

With one exception there was unanimous support from candidates for St. Catharines City Council to:

  • Direct resources toward a ten year review of services provided by the Cultural Services Office and its future role (16 out of 17 surveyed agreed)
  • Allocate resources to examine funding trends in other municipalities to ensure that St. Catharines’ programs are competitive and appropriate to meeting this community’s needs
  • Support the principal of collaboration with City Cultural staff and the local cultural sector on development proposals and other issues that directly affect this sector
  • Appoint at least one mutually agreed upon performing art centre expert from the local community to the Joint Executive Committee governing the development of the Performing Arts Centre

On the issue of allocating resources to implement the Region of Niagara’s new cultural plan, only 19 out of 36 Regional candidates voted in favour of further support.

St. Patrick’s Ward candidate Mark Elliott achieved the highest marks of all the St. Catharines incumbents with a score of A+.   Dave Augustyn, Mayor of Pelham, wins the title of the most improved candidate.  He received a “D” in 2006 and an “A” in 2010.

“Not only are more candidates participating in the survey, there are an increasing number of candidates earning an A on the survey.  It bodes well for informed decision-making,” says Barlow. “Now, we just have to watch and see who walks the walk.”


For further information, members of the media may contact:

Odette Yazbeck
Director, Public Relations
Shaw Festival
1-800-657-1106 ext 222