03 February 2011

BC Liberal Leadership - Community Gaming Grants

Non profits throughout British Columbia rely on the province's Community Gaming Grants program for their funding. For many, it's their sole source of desperately needed dollars.

The important work that these non profits do toward addressing social needs in their communities cannot be overstated. They deliver far more for the tax dollars they receive than do the majority of government agencies.*

Three BC Liberal leadership candidates have proposed changes to the Community Grants program. Christy Clark would boost the current money allotted ($120 million) by 12.5 percent, or $15 million. Kevin Falcon has just announced increasing the program to $159 million, a 32.5 percent jump.

The third proposal, made by leadership hopeful Ed Mayne, would see the "politically-motivated" Community Grants program junked entirely. In its place, he proposes that two percent of the HST go directly to municipalities.

By a long way, I prefer Mayne's proposal. It gives communities the autonomy and freedom to address their own needs, build on their own strengths and devise their own solutions. It also eliminates the perpetual problem of non-profits having to fit their funding needs, and hence their community needs, to the demands and economic needs of a far-off funder. By 'far-off', I mean in all of these senses: geographical distance, ideological distance and hierarchical distance.

*One such non-profit is the internally-recognized Providence Farm, right here in the Cowichan Valley. Go take a look; it's truly a community wonder.

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