Governments urged to start planning Canada 150 parties now
Need to plan, budget for 2017 sesquicentennial of Confederation
Two years ago, when the Institute of Public Administration of Canada organized a conference on how to mark and plan for the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, the group’s recommendations included a simple command: “Start now.”
“Our 150th anniversary excites Canadians. People want to talk about the country and its future, but there isn’t time to waste. Organizers spent a decade preparing for the Centennial. The time to get started is now,” their report said. That was 2010. As of December 2012, it isn’t clear what the federal government thinks the sesquicentennial will look like. And many provinces haven’t started planning for 2017, with some indicating they’re waiting on federal funding announcements and others saying it’s too early.
Parks Canada and the Royal Canadian Mint said there were no specific plans afoot. Canadian Heritage said it was “currently in the planning stages” and details “will be announced in the months ahead,” according to Jessica Fletcher, a spokeswoman for Heritage Minister James Moore.
But experts and those planning local or provincial Canada 150 commemorations suggest, if the federal government is serious about marking the sesquicentennial, it needs to show its hand now.
The Commons heritage committee made a similar recommendation in September, telling the federal government it should inform Canadians as soon as possible what it has in mind for 2017, to help with planning.
“To a lot of people, it seems as though 2017 is practically a half-century away still, but in planning terms, we’re probably behind the ball on where we should be,” said Peter MacLeod with Toronto-based consulting group MASS LBP, which helped organize the 2010 conference in Ottawa.
A huge part of the planning is about deciding on the budget, experts agree, adding governments should be ready to budget big after previous celebrations cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
The budget is based on the scope of the celebrations, says Andrea Shaw, the former vicepresident of sponsorship and marketing for the Vancouver Olympics.