Ottawa Citizen

Gov­ern­ments urged to start plan­ning Canada 150 par­ties now

Need to plan, bud­get for 2017 sesqui­cen­ten­nial of Con­fed­er­a­tion

- JOR­DAN PRESS AND NATALIE STECHYSON Canada News · Politics · Parks Canada · Department of Canadian Heritage · James Moore · British House of Commons · Toronto · Ottawa · Vancouver · Institute of Public Administration of Canada · Royal Canadian Mint Building

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.

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