01/31/2013 02:24 EST | Updated 04/02/2013 05:12 EDT

B.C. Liberals announce $6.25M to support 'creative minds'

The ministry responsible for cultural development in B.C. has announced $6.25 million in funding for young people involved in artistic ventures.

Community, Sport, and Cultural Development Minister Bill Bennett said Thursday the funding is the first part of BC Creative Futures, a three-part strategy to grow B.C.'s creative sector.

The funding is meant to encourage young British Columbians to engage in the arts and support emerging innovative thinkers.

"There is a natural resource more important than any other: creative minds," he said.

The ministry describes the package as a mix of new and existing programs, which includes a scholarship program, a co-op placement program, and other initiatives to bring arts and artists into education.

The ministry said $1 million will go towards after-school sports and arts, while the BC Arts Council will distribute the other $5.25 million.

Other ministers, local politicians and members of the arts industry attended the announcement at the Vancouver Art Gallery, but not everyone present was satisfied with the program.

As Bennett finished speaking, an out-of-work film worker yelled out: "This won't save 25,000 jobs."

Members of B.C's struggling film industry want better tax incentives to keep film work in B.C. Many worry better incentives in Ontario are pulling jobs east.

"Can we immediately match the tax film credits available in Ontario? The cost to the taxpayer in B.C. would be $100 million to do that and so — as I've said in the many, many meetings that I'm having and will continue to have with the industry — we can't do that," Bennett said.

But he did say BC Creative Futures, which goes into effect in April, is modeled after a similar program in Ontario.

He also said the funding would be secure for the next three years.

"It's in the base budget," Bennett said.

Thursday's announcement tops up recent B.C. Liberal-supported arts funding to $24 million for 2013-14, up from $16.8 million in 2012-2013, the ministry said.

Last week, Premier Christy Clark announced the province is investing $113 million in a new campus for Emily Carr University.

The announcement comes as British Columbians gear up to head to the polls in May. The latest Angus Reid poll shows 46 per cent of those surveyed would vote NDP, while 31 per cent said they would vote Liberal.