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Blogspot | 23Dec2011 | blackrod
Another tax break can't
save the CMHR from drowning in red ink.
Neither can the MSM.
As if you need
more proof that the laws for the peasants don't apply to millionaires
like Gail Asper and her pet project the Canadian Museum for Human
Rights --- but here's some more.
We told you this
week that some unknown Fairy Godmother at City Hall secretly wiped out
$118,000 from the museum's property tax bill. That act saved the museum
which won't, or can't, pay its taxes from being put up for tax sale in
the event it fails to pay in 2012 for the third year in a row.
We've since learned that
the CMHR is getting even more special treatment from the Winnipeg tax
The museum is the only property in the entire city that is exempt from
penalties for non-payment of property taxes.
More than $50,000 in penalties should have been added to the museum's
outstanding tax arrears last year, but wasn't.
The City of Winnipeg website clearly states that penalties of 1.25
percent are charged on unpaid taxes.
Plus 7.5 percent in the current year in September.
They'll have to add an amendment: except for millionaires who expect
the little people to pay their share.
But a present of forty thousand dollars is next to worthless compared
to the deep, deep,deep financial pit the CMHR finds itself in.
Make no mistake --- the finances of the CMHR are out of control.
The museum trustees confessed Thursday that the project is another $41
million over budget. That's on top of the $45 million cost overrun they
admitted to in 2009. And that's also not counting the other millions
they need that they're not counting. (No, honest, we're not making that
up. That's what they said.)
Winnipeg's mainstream media continues its tradition of running
interference for the Asper family of moochers. No news outlet has yet pointed
out that the $41 million shortfall is ON TOP of the $20 million the
museum backers have failed to raise on the previous overrun.
That brings the black hole up to $61
And here's how the Winnipeg Free Press, the propaganda arm of the CMHR,
described the museum's faulty and deceptive bookkeeping being used to
keep even more costs off the books:
"This revised project
budget still does not allocate funds to complete the museum's temporary
gallery and theatre. These elements were not included in the $310
million budget, either."
The temporary gallery is in addition to the museum's 12 permanent
zones. It was to be used for temporary and traveling exhibits which
could run from 3 to 6 months and would "examine particular events,
themes or issues" according to communications director Angela Cassie.
The 350-seat theatre is being promoted by Tourism Winnipeg as having
And don't forget that while the Friends of the CMHR claims to have
raised $130 million in private donations --- they now acknowledge that
much of that sum is pledges over years and not cash-in-hand. That means
that as much as half of that claim is in the form of IOU's that have no
value until, and if, they are paid out.
In other words, add
another $65 million to the money still needed to finish
building the museum.
total in that case: $126
Plus the cost of the temporary gallery and theatre.
The Friends of the CMHR managed to raise a paltry $5 million in cash
IOU's in the year 2011. At
that rate it will only another 25 years to build the museum.
And after it's built, they now say its going to sit empty for a year or
two, at least, until they can find the money to install the fancy
interactive electronic devices that are the literal guts of the place.
Remember, it's an "ideas" museum with next to no artifacts of any sort.
So the "ideas" are words and pictures that will be displayed
electronically to people. (We're not making this up.)
But the Museum has a plan. Its going after corporate sponsorships. In
fact, you too can be a piece of the museum if you're rich enough. They
literally have a price list. Check it out:
Donation Amount Years for Naming of Space Years for Recognition (i.e.
on donor 'wall')
Tower of Hope $10
million Reserved Perpetuity
Great Hall $6 million Reserved Perpetuity
Garden of Contemplation $5 million 25 Perpetuity
Theatre $5 million 25 Perpetuity
Floors 2,3 & 4 (3) $5 million 25 Perpetuity
Temporary Gallery $4 million 25 Perpetuity
Exhibition Rooms (4-L,3-Med, 2-Sm) $2 - 4 million 25 Perpetuity
Glass Elevators (2) $3 million 25 Perpetuity
Wetlands $3 million 25 Perpetuity
Lobby / ticketing $3 million 25 Perpetuity
Restaurant $2 million 25 Perpetuity
Retail store $2 million 25 Perpetuity
Lower theatre level $2 million 25 Perpetuity
Library $2 million 25 Perpetuity
Stairs in Tower (to Observatory) $2 million 25 Perpetuity
Amphitheatre -- exterior $2 million 25 Perpetuity
Bridge over entrance -- interior $2 million 25 Perpetuity
Upper theatre level $1.5 million 25 Perpetuity
Universal access entrance $1.5 million 25 Perpetuity
Group entrance -- exterior plaza $1.5 million 25 Perpetuity
Group entrance -- interior $1.5 million 25 Perpetuity
Café patio -- exterior $1.5 million 25 Perpetuity
Elevator lobby areas (5) $1.5 million 25 Perpetuity
Classrooms (3) $1.5 million 25 Perpetuity
Programs various Perpetuity Perpetuity
The following is a list of naming opportunities available to
$1 million donors.
The naming of the space will be for a period of up to 25
years with recognition (i.e. on the donor ‘wall’) in perpetuity.
Artifact preparation area
Boardroom -- Reserved
Exterior pathway segments (6-10)
Lounges & terraces - interior & exterior (5)
Native grass areas (9)
Office floor levels (3)
Ramp segments (approx. 25)
VIP waiting room
opportunities for endowed funds will be offered in perpetuity.
But you have to act fast. Some prime spots are already spoken for.
John & Bonnie
Buhler Hall - Museum's grand hall with an estimated capacity of 650
Stuart Clark Garden of
Contemplation with towering glass walls, basalt columns and gently
flowing streams -- ideal for cocktail gatherings
We're going for The Black Rod doorknob to the Exit.
Professional Reporters At Work
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights carefully orchestrated the release
of the news that is another $41 million in the hole. As predicted, they waited until just before
Christmas weekend to provide the figure knowing that all city newsrooms
are decimated by staff taking time off for the holidays.
They needn't have bothered being sneaky. The mainstream reporters in
the city did, as usual, as little as possible to report the news.
A comment left on a news website Thursday said Premier Greg Selinger told CBC
Radio that morning that he was prepared to channel more money into the
CMHR. We watched the television news for that clip, in
But host Janet Stewart did say they did a year-end interview with
Selinger, but it was too long to play and viewers should see the whole
thing on their website. Yeah, that'll happen.
CTV didn't have a word about the museum's wonky budgetting. What's a
third of a billion dollars wasted, eh, Gord?
The Winnipeg Free Press, official museum touters, promoted the museum
story on Page One with the Headline "Museum vows to find cash".
The blurb read: "A day after Ottawa said no bailout is coming, the new
interim chair is confident national donors and corporate sponsorships
will help make up the shortfall." No
mention of a $41 million cost overrun.
If you turned to the story, on Page Five, you would see a big headline
"Museum's new cash strategy" and the lead "The new interim chairman of
the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is confident the institution can
make up a funding shortfall without receiving another dime from
paragraphs in you read that "It's been speculated the
CMHR.. .may need another $45 million to complete."
The newspaper never actually spelled it out, that the cost of
construction had risen by $41 million. In a sidebar to the main story
they danced around the figure. The lead to that story was how the
museum was encouraging fundraising. They said the total cost of
"building and contents" had risen to $351 million.
Wrong. That number is for building alone. But the FP never lets facts
get in the way of their stories.
They then used smaller
figures to hide the $41 million shock.
* "Unanticipated challenges" increased the base building budget to $25
* The cost of exhibit design was up $9 million.
* An additional $7 million "associated with creating software programs"
are now included. "Those costs were previously captured within the
Talk about burying the
The CMHR was hiding $7
million in costs in the operating budget? When was that
known? Was that even legal? Don't count on the Winnipeg Free Press to
answer those questions.
None of this was revealed at the annual public meeting the museum was
obligated by law to hold at the beginning of December. Front and centre
at that meeting was Arni Thorsteinson, chairman of the museum's board
of trustees. He never said a word about the $41 million shortfall. He
did, though, resign almost immediately after the meeting and by now
he's run halfway across Saskatchewan to avoid questions.
Also at that meeting was museum CEO Stu Murray who was equally silent
about the out of control finances.
Murray appeared on CJOB's Richard Cloutier show Friday. For the first
time ever when discussing the CMHR, Cloutier set aside his usual
obsequiousness and put on his "I'm a tough reporter" voice.
He then proceeded to conduct an interview about as tough as Kermit the
Frog interviewing Miss Piggy.
Stu Murray, who was once a thinking, feeling human being, answered
robotically, spewing the party line in neatly practised and memorized
clumps of blather.
Why did he once say that the final budget for the CMHR would be $310
million? "At that time
the number was accurate." Huh? It was right before it was wrong? That's
your answer for misleading the public, Stu? Cloutier didn't press him.
Should people believe the new number? "The board feels it's a number
that's not going to move." Not until they add the cost of the temporary
gallery and theatre, which were never mentioned by Cloutier.
Cloutier raised the point that to the public it looks like elites
spending tax money. Murray said the CMHR got used furniture from
Manitoba Hydro when the utility moved into it's new downtown building.
No, honest, that was his answer. We're not making this up or
CJOB then took calls, sort of. Cloutier proceeded to condescend, then
insult anyone who was against spending more on the museum. "Turn up
your hearing aid," he sneered at one caller, telling him to watch
Teletoons on TV. "Perhaps that's where you should be."
When one caller told Cloutier he got "snowed" by Murray, there was dead
silence on air before Cloutier defensively and contemptuously changed
the subject and cut the caller off. Talk about elitism. No wonder OB's
audience is dropping like a stone. Perhaps the management should
consider that Cloutier is bored with his job and a change of hosts is
"Mickey and Goofy could have done a better interview" one caller
managed to say before anyone could hit the kill switch.
as they say, leave 'em laughing.
We've been saving this comment off the Free Press website following the
public meeting held by the CMHR. It puts the slap in kneeslapping
funny. Best comment of the year. And it ties in because it refers,
obliquely, to the unfunded theatre planned for the rights museum.
8:57 AM on 12/7/2011
"Museum CEO Stuart
Murray said they have plans for live, interactive exhibits. He conjured
up an example -- an actor portraying Louis Riel giving his last speech
in a Regina courtroom before he was hanged."
---------------------------- I hate to nitpick, but if I'm watching an
actor give a speech it's not interactive, it's passive. Or will I be
allowed to operate the gallows?
Labels: boondoggle, CBC,
CTV, Free Press, Hydro,