Laval dead-last in arts, culture funding

Catch-up initiative open to all, regardless of origin

By Robert Frank

Quebec government statistics show that—among the province’s cities—Laval spends the least—by far—on arts and culture.

According to the Quebec Statistics Institute, Laval spends just $12.95 a year per citizen on culture. The average Quebec municipality spends $122.34 a year.

Though it is the province’s third-largest city, Laval’s spending is infinitesimal, compared to the only two more-populous cities.

Montreal devotes more than double the provincial average, $281.64, to culture, and the provincial capital of Quebec City leads municipal culture spending at $342.01 per capita—almost 25 times Laval’s commitment.

“We’re definitely aware of the situation and are quite distressed by it,” Mayor Marc Demers’ spokesman François Brochu told The Suburban.

The city has already taken significant steps to redress the situation, and plans to take more, he said in an interview.

“Age, origin no barrier”

Last month, Laval announced that it has made a commitment to subsidize the Quebec Arts and Letters Council (CALQ) to the tune of $50,000 a year for the next three years to develop and promote art and literature in Laval.

“Laval has made an unwavering commitment to support artistic expression here,” Mayor Demers said at the time. “Our artists help give a soul to our city and drive our sense of identity.”

Quebec Culture Minister Hélène David, who is also responsible for the Office québécois de la langue française, agreed to match the city’s $50,000 annual subsidy, bringing the total municipal and provincial government commitment for the three-year project to $300,000.

The province and the city agreed that the project will “contribute to the growth and promotion of artists and writers of all ages and origin.”

They have until Oct. 5 to propose projects to CALQ. Information about how to go about doing so is available on a helpful English-language web page at:

Nowhere to go but up

This is just the beginning, Brochu vowed.

He said that Laval has committed to ramp up support for writers and artists and their professional organizations.

He declined though to specify how much more the city will allocate to culture initiatives this Fall, when it council tables the 2016 municipal budget.


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