Skip to content

NEWS: Federal agency looks to corporate sponsors

The Canadian Press reports, “The National Capital Commission is reviewing a proposal to bring in almost $4.5-million in new sponsorship money over the next five years to promote its cultural jewels in the Ottawa area.”

“(A consultant’s report) says the commission could attract corporate cash worth more than a million dollars just to promote Gatineau Park, north of Ottawa, in Quebec. Sponsors would also pony up money for bicycle events, public-art displays and a Christmas lights festival, says the document.”

“Some critics are raising alarms about the creeping corporate takeover of public culture. ‘While I have no problem with a corporate sponsorship of special events, concerts and so on, I have real problems with corporate sponsorships of a Crown corporation, a public agency that is supposed to look out for the public good in our nation’s capital’, says Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians. ‘What will these corporations get in return for supporting Gatineau Park? … Have hills and landmarks named after them?'”

The article notes that Alcatel-Lucent already sponsors a seasonal Sunday bicycling event, American Express sponsors Winterlude and the Rideau Canal Skateway, Manulife Financial sponsors a sound-and-light show projected onto the Parliament Buildings each summer, and the Chicken Farmers of Canada, Loblaws Group of Companies, McDonald’s Canada, Lego Canada and others sponsor Canada Day events on Parliament Hill.

While there is currently a ban on commercial advertising on Parliament Hill, a Canadian Heritage Department spokesperson says, “on an exceptional basis, commercial advertising is permitted to recognize financial sponsors of events organized by a federal department, agency or Crown corporation.”