Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A diverse and committed arts community exists in the Northwest Territories, with literally dozens of groups in the areas of dance, theatre, music, film, visual arts, crafts, and many more. Organizations may be small but they are big on hard work, enthusiasm, commitment, and inclusive programs that reach across our communities. Artists understand and acknowledge how the arts function to support our social strengths, our human health and well-being. Hill Strategies Research Reports reveal the link between the arts and student engagement in education, positive economic impact, and cultural tourism, improved quality of life, importance in aboriginal health and well-being, and the lists goes on. Beyond these at a time when social changes and challenges are many, the arts provide a valid way to engage community learning, exploration, idea exchange, and critical dialogue that ground our culture and identity. These same artists are seeing gaps, key gaps that are limiting the role the arts can play in diversifying and strengthening our territorial economy. One is the lack of a properly funded arts hub typically found in every other capital in Canada.
Mr. Speaker, we currently have a surge in vacant space in downtown Yellowknife, the Bellanca Building, and with other government offices being vacated as they move to new buildings. We have an opportunity to now to take action. Many of that space is in Weledeh, an ideal location for an institution.
Wait a minute, Mr. Speaker. I apologize; I just read a statement from my predecessor Bob Bromley from over a decade ago, Mr. Speaker, because nothing has changed in this focus, Mr. Speaker. And now we have released an art strategy and still nothing has changed, Mr. Speaker.
I do not believe this art strategy is taking this issue seriously. I do not believe we are capturing the federal money that is out there. There are numerous funding pots across numerous organizations in the federal government, and if we had a proper art strategy maybe we could actually make some progress on this issue. I will have questions for the Minister of E, C and E. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.