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Vancouver Maritime Museum’s lobbyists aim to convince feds to fund an exhibit

Lobbyists Vancouver Maritime Museum
The Vancouver Maritime Museum is inside  a mid-century modern A-frame shelter.  Photo by Ccyyrree.

The Vancouver Maritime Museum is working with a very experienced government-relations consultant in Ottawa to secure federal funding. Capital Hill Group president David Angus registered on August 9 with the Registry of Lobbyists as part of his efforts to persuade government agencies to fund one of the museum’s exhibits.

Angus was caucus liaison to former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney from 1985 to 1987. The Registry of Lobbyists website reveals that he’s engaging in oral and written communication for his client with five institutions.

Angus aims to generate funding from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, Canadian Tourism Commission, Natural Resources Canada, Pacific Economic Development Canada, and Parks Canada. Moreover, through a monthly report, Angus added the Public Service Commission of Canada to the list.

“The lobbyist has arranged or expects to arrange one or more meetings on behalf of the client between a public office holder and any other person in the course of this undertaking,” the Registry of Lobbyists document states.

The registry does not name the exhibit. According to the Vancouver Maritime Museum website, its “most popular exhibition is the RCMP Vessel St. Roch, which is inside  a mid-century modern A-frame shelter”.

Two more lobbyists advocate for museum

Meanwhile, the Capital Hill Group’s senior adviser is Richard Fadden. He’s a longtime former civil servant who was national security adviser to two prime ministers—Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau. Fadden also served as a former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Another member of the Capital Hill Group, Sonya Moore, registered as a consultant lobbyist for the Vancouver Maritime Museum on August 10. Like Angus, she disclosed that she will approach the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, Canadian Tourism Commission, Natural Resources Canada, Pacific Economic Development Canada, and Parks Canada regarding funding one of the museum’s exhibits.

On October 5, a third Capital Hill Group lobbyist, Amber Irwin, registered to lobby the same five federal institutions on behalf of the museum for the same purpose.

Moore’s registration has been renewed twice, most recently on November 15. It now lists the House of Commons as another government institution being approached.

Lobbyists Vancouver Maritime Museum
David Angus’s lobbyist filing states that his client received no government funding over the previous year.

Furthermore, all of these lobbyists’ filings related to the museum in 2023 make this declaration: “No government funding was received during the last completed financial year.”

According to its T3010 registered charity return, the Vancouver Maritime Museum Society received $235,295 from the federal government for the fiscal year from January 1 to December 31, 2022. Another $242,336 came from provincial and territorial governments. And $438,920 came from municipal and regional governments.

Lobbyists Vancouver Maritime Museum
The Vancouver Maritime Museum Society’s most recent financial disclosure to the Canada Revenue Agency discloses more than $900,000 in government funding.

The Vancouver Maritime Museum Society generated $1,763,987 in revenues, including the government contributions, and listed total expenditures of $1,860,658 in its last fiscal year. The society is a registered charity with prominent community members on its board of trustees

Lobbyists hired by other cultural groups

It’s not unprecedented for cultural groups to retain consultant lobbyists to approach the federal government.

For example, a former Vancouver Symphony Orchestra consultant lobbyist, Andrea Beltran of Global Public Affairs, tried to persuade Canadian Heritage and Finance Canada in 2019 to boost funding for the Canada Cultural Investment Fund. The previous year, Tara Mazurk and Sean Casey from the same firm did this work on behalf of the VSO.

In addition, Mazurk and Casey lobbied the federal government on behalf of the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2020 and 2021. They registered to try to obtain federal funding for a new Vancouver Art Gallery.

Last year, the Vancouver Art Gallery retained Catherine McCauley as a consultant lobbyist. This was to “ensure that new elements of the project are known to the federal government, including 100 new childcare spaces, Passive House standard design and architectural elements co-designed by indigenous artists”.

“These elements were unveiled in November 2021 and were not part of original discussions with the  federal government dating back to the original design in 2019,” the lobbyist registry document states.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.