Mr. Chair, I want to speak first and foremost very quickly about the Department of Canadian Heritage. This department is basically the soul of our country. It defines our values, history and heritage. Within the department, it is multiculturalism, bilingualism, aboriginal culture and language, sports, arts and culture and women's equality. However, I want to focus tonight on arts and culture.
People talk about the arts and culture of a country as its soul, defining us, telling us who we are not only to ourselves but to the world, speaking, especially in Canada, of our diversity, both regionally and in terms of our people. It speaks to our quality of life. Indeed a Decima 2004 poll told us that Canadians believed that it increased the livability of their communities and improved the quality of their lives.
We know that Richard Florida, who has written many books on the bohemian index, speaks of world-class cities as having a very strong arts and cultural component to them. This is what we are looking at when we talk about arts and culture.
We are also talking about cultural diversity not only in terms of our geography. We have people who have come here from every corner of the world, who define us and tell us about the history of the country, how we have built it, where we are going and who we are. That makes a strong statement to the world about our ability to live together in peaceful coexistence, to tolerate and respect each other.
Those are the warm, real soulful things about arts and culture. I want to talk about what arts and culture do to contribute to the economy of this country. The arts and culture last year brought $28 billion into our GDP and $4.5 billion in exports. It also creates just under 800,000 jobs. Statistics Canada has said that those 800,000 jobs created by arts and culture are equal to jobs in agriculture, fishing, mining, oil and gas and utilities combined. We are talking about a huge economic boon to our country in terms of arts and culture.
That does not even include the spinoff in cultural tourism. It is now projected that cultural tourism will grow globally by 15% to the year 2010. In a two year period in Canada, it was estimated that of the 808 million people who came to Canada as tourists, each one of them had at least four cultural or heritage experiences. People come to Canada and pay to see the things we have. With our cultural diversity, I think we can safely say, “Come to Canada and see the world”. We know that aboriginal culture and tourism brought in about $450 million in 2002, employing over 30,000 people.
I want to highlight the economic boon that the arts and cultural industries are to Canada. Then I want to turn to things like music, our place in the world. Factor is a program within Heritage Canada that gives about $8 million to the music industry. It has contributed 60% of the professional Canadian recording artists, 49% of which have been Juno award nominees, groups like Choclair, Nickelback, Blue Rodeo and of course Sara McLaughlin and Alanis Morissette who are known around the world as Canada's world international divas.
These five groups, including Alanis Morissette and Sara McLaughlin, alone have sold 84 million records worldwide, which is a value of $2 billion. We are talking about five groups. We have earned a reputation around the world as having the divas of singers and having a hugely important music industry.
Let us talk about film. Our films tend to win awards at Cannes. They tend to win awards around the world. Let us talk about books in terms of the publishing component of the arts and culture. Authors like Pico Lyer, Rohinton Mistry, Michael Ondaatje, Jane Urquhart got their start in Heritage Canada. Not only that, when people walk around the major airports in the world, they see these authors and one feels proud to be a Canadian because they have earned international stature.
I want to talk also about the fact that healthy and creative communities come out of arts and culture. We talk about community and civic engagement. In 2000, 50 million people volunteered in the arts and cultural industries. We talk about academic assistance for youth at risk. Young people who begin to learn about and become involved in arts and culture do better in math. They tend to have an increased socialization, increased social development, increased self-esteem and increased interpersonal skills. These are things that are really documented.
We now know that most Canadians think that 92% of Canadian artists, and I use the word broadly written, can hold their own in the world stage. These Canadian artists and our own sense of arts and culture have told the world that we are a country that fosters respect, tolerance and inclusion, in terms of our cultural diversity.
In summary, the arts and culture is not just a warm fuzzy and it is not only about creativity, but it is about social inclusion. It is about defining our values, our creativity, our history and our heritage. It is about creating a strong domestic economy that makes us competitive worldwide. It is about looking at the issue of tourism, and the cultural tourism is a growing industry. It is about looking at the creativity and excellence, helping our young people to develop strong, healthy psyches. It is about the well-being of Canada.
This is probably one of the most important departments. Creating cities, building world-class institutions, putting our face to the world, creating a burgeoning economy, a very broad economy that reaches across all sectors are hugely important things.
As a result of all that, and knowing how important arts and culture is to Canada, I would like to ask the minister this. Given the importance of the arts, what is the federal government doing to ensure that they are receiving the funding they deserve and that programs, like Tomorrow Starts Today, will be refunded and will carry on to continue to build cultural spaces and foster this hugely important economic and social program within Canada?