Friday, August 29, 2008

Governments fund activist WAM festival

As the CTF predicted, Saskatoon's We Are Many Festival turned out to be a very activist event. It was not attended by 50,000 as it hoped (it was more like 9,000), but it did get the government money it was hoping for: $22,500 each from municipal, federal, and provincial governments. Participants signed a WAM pact commiting themselves to environmentally friendly actions, to get others to sign the WAM pact, and evidently to lobby governments. The Star-Phoenix reports:

Many people were signing the pact in order to have their voice heard on a political level.

"I think it's important. The government has its head in the sand when it comes to environmental issues," said Gwen Russell.

"I'm signing the pact to send a message to City Hall," echoed Gerry Burgess.

Others at the festival were free to add their thoughts to an environmental wish-list that would be sent to city officials following the festival.

The list boasted a number of wishes, including lower bus fares, better cycling routes and "ban plastic water bottles and Styrofoam." ...

Political representatives from every party in the province stopped in for a visit, as well as city councillors.
In essence, the City of Saskatoon used taxpayer dollars to look green, fund a lobby and bring Fred Penner to town. On top of all this, they waived their condition that the event have an admission fee. The result: a taxpayer-funded, free advocacy party.

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