The Aspers just can’t catch a break

Izzy’s dream—a Canadian Museum for Human Rights—is getting more expensive by the day


Before he passed away, CanWest founder Israel Asper had a dream: to build an international human rights museum in his hometown of Winnipe. But amid all the financial calculations and all the political lobbying, he and his underlings neglected to notice one not-so-hidden cost: municipal property taxes. According to a progress report tabled in the House of Commons, the museum is on the hook for an annual $5-million tax bill that nobody realized until now. “Unlike private museums, national museums, under the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act, are required to pay to municipalities an amount equivalent to municipal and school taxes,” the report says. Angela Cassie, a spokeswoman for the museum, said the board and operating officers are having “really dynamic conversations” about the issue and are “in ongoing discussions with the provincial and federal governments to manage it.” Don’t bet on CanWest forking over the cash. The media giant is facing possible bankruptcy protection.

Winnipeg Free Press

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The Aspers just can’t catch a break

  1. What mega-project, public or private, actually comes in within budget? Even much-needed infrastructure upgrades end up coming in well above budget more often than not. The reason for that is simple. If the accountants strive for accuracy and realism when estimating costs, sticker shock would prevent most projects from ever getting off the ground. You want to kill a mega-project dead, just turn in an honest accounting of its probable costs, with realistic allowances for “unforeseen” expenses.

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