Thursday, July 21, 2011

Corporate sponsors and special access to the premiers

An editorial today in the Times Colonist:

The unseemly premiers

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.


DPL said...

We are getting worn down by the actions of this present government. So folks have simply tuned out to the goings on, which is just the way the Liberal operatives like it. sad state of affairs, when a company is funding meeting of government leaders which leaves the opening for: You scratch by back and I'll do yours". And some of those folks sure know how to get their money worth

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing attention to the (under-reported) cozy relationships between our politicians and corporate lobbyists.