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CBC News | 09Mar2012 | CBC

Human Rights Museum needs another $50M

A group raising money for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights says it needs about another $50 million to meet the most recent construction estimate for the Winnipeg building.

The group has already raised $130 million for the capital campaign.

Dav Cvitkovic, CEO of the Friends of the CMHR, said Manitobans have been donating to the campaign, but the group needs more.

Cvitkovic added that fundraising will extend outside of the province. “Our job is to get the rest of Canada involved in backing the project," she said.

The group is considering borrowing money from a bank.

The building costs have been steadily rising. The estimated cost of construction rose in 2009, to $310 million. That figure rose again in 2011 to $351 million.

In addition to money raised by donations, the federal government has contributed $100 million, the province is in for $40 million and the city of Winnipeg is providing $20 million.

If the current construction estimate holds, the fundraising effort will need another $50 to $60 million to finish the building, which is now scheduled to open in 2014.

Meanwhile, a Manitoba opposition MP -- New Democrat Pat Martin -- said he does not believe the federal government will earmark more money for the museum in the upcoming budget. Martin said he discussed the museum with James Moore, the federal minister of Canadian Heritage.

Martin noted that when costs soared for the Natural History Museum in Ottawa, the federal government stepped up. He said the Human Rights Museum deserves the same kind of support.

"Nobody asked them to have a bake sale to pay for it," Martin said of the Natural History museum renovation. "The federal government paid for the cost overruns."

Martin said Vic Toews, a Conservative member of the federal cabinet from Manitoba, should be promoting the Winnipeg museum.

Toews said the federal government has invested enough money in the Winnipeg project.

Martin also pointed to a recent federal contribution of some $93 million for a provincial museum in Edmonton, suggesting Manitoba is losing out.

"We have a senior political minister from Manitoba and he is supposed to bring home the bacon," Martin said. "But somebody's got to advocate on behalf of our museum because otherwise it will be a great big beautiful empty shell."

[W.Z. "Bringing home the bacon" is an excellent characterisation of the mentality promoting the CMHR.]