We’re on the cusp, Hamilton. Frankly, this is a turning-point, game changer, silver bullet victory snatched-from-the-jaws-of-defeat kind of election.
Over the past decade, the creative and cultural community in Hamilton has shown its prowess on a number of fronts. We’ve emerged as an economic and social force by shaping neighbourhoods, expressing and articulating our identity, creating jobs and garnering media attention, paying taxes, generating ideas and motivating our citizenry.
We deserve the support and attention we’ve cultivated.
Cobalt Connects and the Hamilton Arts Council formed a swift partnership with the aim of gathering information from our Mayoral and Council Candidates in this upcoming election on October 27th. We’re excited to bring you these results to further inform your own decisions.
With upwards of 12,000 cultural and creative sector workers in Hamilton, we’re a significant sector that makes numerous impacts every day, and it’s time to make an impact politically.
Cobalt Connects works closely with many municipalities throughout Ontario. We understand their abilities and challenges, resources and opportunities. While our municipality has made strong steps forward in recent years in playing a role in local culture, we still see plenty of room for commitment and improvement, specifically from Council and our Mayor.
What we’ve provided for you are the verbatim responses to a survey. The questions were crafted based on some input from the members of HAC and Cobalt Connects. We feel the questions give candidates the opportunity to show their strengths without being overly prescriptive or academic. We don’t need them to be artists, just to understand and respect the contributions of the arts.
Cobalt Connects is not here to tell you how to vote. Based on our experience, however, we want to give you some points to keep in mind as you digest the responses provided.
When reading the responses, please keep in mind:
- No candidate can promise you anything firm. So, you’ll note that their language floats to words such as “try,” “encourage,” or “endeavor.” This is the reality of their position: promises cannot be made as even the mayor only has a single vote at the table. Using less committed language also gives candidates leeway after the election, since nothing firm has actually been offered.
- The cultural and creative sectors are one of the few that can provide layers of benefit (social, economic, identity, notoriety, connectedness) to a community. So, be aware of instances where a candidate is reducing those sectors to only a single benefit. The arts is not simply an added nicety – and it’s not just a factor that needs to be in place before condo developers arrive and generate the “real” money.
- Search and replace: For the fun of it, take a few answers and replace the words “arts” or “culture” with manufacturing or health care terms. If the answers are just as meaningless, you’ve got a stock response in front of you. If the response can be read as dismissive or belittling to those sectors, consider whether it’s belittling to you.
- Only 27 of 80 candidates responded.
- Governments set lots of deadlines. So did we. Cobalt Connects’s chart only includes those candidates who submitted on time.
We at Cobalt Connects and HAC are really doing our level-headed best to not influence, but inform, your decision. As non-profit organizations, it’s risky for us to take positions on political tides because when they change, our primary funders go with them. In Cobalt’s case, we presently receive no financial support from the City of Hamilton, and we haven’t for many years.
We respect our Mayor, Council and so many City staff who make this great city chug along. More so, we respect you, our members and creative sector partners, who deserve to be afforded the same opportunities as other sectors in Hamilton. Artists and creatives come in all political stripes – we don’t care which one you are – just be politically engaged and make an informed decision on October 27th.
Now, on to the responses!