Convention organizers often seek sponsors willing to pay to curry favour with attendees.
But the country's premiers shouldn't be asking corporations to subsidize their meetings.
When provincial and territorial premiers meet in Vancouver this week, the events will be subsidized by business donors, commentator David Schreck notes.
The Insurance Brokers Association of Canada, lobby group for that industry, is the platinum sponsor. Amgen, campaigning for public funding for an expensive cancer drug, is a gold sponsor, along with CN and the major beer companies.
Encana, a major player in Alberta and B.C. gas fields, and a beneficiary from government decisions on royalty rates, is a silver sponsor. So is the lobby group for research-based pharmaceutical companies and Borealis Infrastructure, a player in public-private partnerships.
Licia Corbella, in a column on this page on similar sponsorships for a federal-provincial energy ministers' conference in Alberta, notes the damage done.
The companies are spending money in the interests of shareholders. They must feel they will gain special access to the premiers, or favourable consideration in future. Even if they don't, the perception will exist.
Corporations who choose not to pay up will wonder if that will be held against them, by the politicians or the conference organizers.
And ordinary citizens, or businesses that can't pay, must worry that their concerns will come second to the interests of the corporations that donated.