June 26, 2023

Remarks at National accessArts Centre Announcement

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Calgary, AB

10:00 A.M. MST

GEORGE CHAHAL, M.P.: Thank you for the warm welcome, Ron.

Ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests, my fellow Calgarians. My name is George Chahal. I am the Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview, in the northeast corner of our beautiful city. I am very excited to have made the trek downtown to spend the morning with each of you. Today marks a significant milestone in the history of Canadian arts. It’s a day that solidifies our belief in equal opportunity and inclusivity. A day that underscores the power of art to transcend and transform.

I am proud to stand in front of you on behalf of the Government of Canada and our Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, to announce a remarkable $400,000 investment into the arts training programs offered by the National accessArts Centre or, as we fondly know it, the NaAC.

This investment is more than just financial support. It is a validation, a vote of confidence, a testament to the artistic excellence of the NaAC and its critical role in our arts community. It's the first time a multidisciplinary disability arts organization has received support through the Canada Arts Training Fund. With this funding, the NaAC becomes only the fifth arts organization in Alberta to receive support through this Fund. Let’s give it up for this amazing accomplishment! (Applause.)

This funding provides a powerful and vital affirmation, not only of the quality and impact of the programs at NaAC but also of the artists whose lives it transforms, one of whom has joined us today. Our Liberal government believes in the talent nurtured here, in the dreams fostered here, in the future that unfolds from here.

So, why is this announcement important? Simply put, it's about recognition and opportunity. It's about celebrating and supporting diversity and inclusivity in our artistic community. This investment signifies that the programs here at NACK have not just met, but exceeded, a high level of artistic excellence, enabling its participants to become bona fide artists, storytellers of their unique narratives, ambassadors of their unmatched talent. Let's reflect on the implications for artists with disabilities, and the arts sector more generally.

Today, we recognize the NaAC's pivotal role in providing the stepping stones to the careers of artists living with disabilities. Thriving with disabilities. We are creating a path to an inclusive arts landscape, where everyone is seen, heard, and celebrated. This investment means there is more potential than ever before to see artists with disabilities become mainstream contributors to our country’s arts and culture sector. Given that more than 1 in 5 Canadians identify as having a disability today, this representation is critically important. The voices, perspectives, and experiences of these individuals bring a richness and diversity to our cultural narrative that is both necessary and enlightening. Our Liberal government's investment today is an investment in this powerful representation.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of one individual in particular, JS Ryu, the President & CEO of the NaAC. JS, your tireless efforts, your boundless passion for inclusivity in the arts, and your steadfast commitment to providing a platform for artists with disabilities to shine is not just commendable, but truly inspirational. You have played a pivotal role in making this day a reality, and on behalf of the Government of Canada, I thank you for your leadership and vision. I’m proud to call you a friend. Let’s hear it for JS. (Applause.)

To close, the announcement we are making today is a testament to the vision of a more inclusive future, a future where everyone, regardless of their abilities, has a fair shot at expressing their creative vision. We look forward to seeing the ripple effects of this investment, in the lives it changes, the careers it builds, and the cultural landscape it enriches. Today, let's celebrate this step forward, as we continue to invest in the creative potential of all Canadians. Thank you.


For more details about the announcement, click here.

Office of George Chahal, M.P.

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