Woof. The watchdog is still on the job.
Is it June already? You know what that means?
It means our annual shaming of the scofflaw, or, as it's also known, how much is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights refusing to pay for its property taxes?
The CMHR has failed to pay its city tax bill for three years running, despite CEO Stu Murray's panicked---and false--- claim when we first exposed their scofflaw status in 2010 that the museum fully intended to pay what was owed. Since then they've made partial payments but still owe more than $300,000 in back taxes, and that's without the penalties that would accrue to anyone else who stiffed the City.
Add to that this year's tax bill---$4.1 million. Yes, you read that right. Four point one million dollars.
We're betting that since they refused to pay a tenth of that, they're going to claim poverty again.
But the only poverty is in the souls of the elitists who can build a $365 million (and counting) white elephant while crying crocodile tears over the "impossible" cost ($2.8 million) of repairing the Sherbrook Pool.
When you add the museum's current tax bill to their arrears you get $4.4 million, which is just what a one percent increase in city property taxes is expected to raise. In other words, one percent of Sam Katz's tax increase on your home is going to subsidize the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Oh, yes, somebody is going to jump in and declare that federal buildings are tax exempt but that the federal government has a policy of making payments in lieu of taxes, so the feds are responsible for any unpaid taxes. That would be a good argument, except that the federal government gives the museum $21.7 million a year in operating funds, which the museum is expected to use to pay its tax bill.
The fact that the CMHR has spent every penny of its annual funding and expects the government to cough up even more for taxes is Stu Murray's problem. If he had a conscience.
But Murray has other problems on his mind. Like, for example, when the museum is going to open.
You remember that six months ago Murray declared that he would have an opening date very soon. But month after month has gone by, with no announcement. The year is half over already. You would think that Murray would give people at least a year's notice as to when the CMHR will open its doors. Does this unexpected delay suggest that the museum won't be opening in 2014 after all?
That raises another question about money management. Remember how, early this year, Murray was all giggly over announcements that the federal and provincial governments had bailed the CMHR out of its $60 million hole? The feds would, ahem, "advance" $35 million (that would allegedly be repaid starting in 2016) to the museum and the province would co-sign a loan for a similar amount so that the CMHR could afford to finish construction and design of its exhibits.
Well, have you heard a word about that alleged loan?
No financial institution has come forward to say they're the proud lenders. The only money the CMHR has received is the profits from the auction of 27 guitars built by students of Ecole Selkirk Junior High School and signed by famous musicians and television celebrities. Organizers were hoping to raise $100,000. A similar fund-raising auction of 55 guitars last year raised $52,000.
A hundred grand is the equivalent of spitting into the wind compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars the CMHR cost to build and operate so far. It's child exploitation of the worst kind to take money from schoolchildren, since the money is wasted on the CMHR when even $52,000 would go a long way to aid small charities instead of the pet project of millionaires.
Maybe that's why the CMHR has become toxic to potential donors, and certainly financial institutions who have to answer to their board of directors as to why they are lending tens of millions of dollars to a "charity" backed by the richest people in the city.
Or maybe those financial institutions don't want to be tarred with the ethnic-hate stench that's emanating out of the "museum for human rights."
Six weeks ago, museum progenitor Gail Asper rekindled the anti-Ukrainian hate campaign she's been championing for years. In doing so she managed to extend the hate attack to virtually every non-Jewish Canadian ethnic organization that's been critical of the CMHR.
The incident was recounted in the online Winnipeg Jewish Review under the headline "GAIL ASPER' S QUESTION TO DEBORAH LIPSTADT RE: HIERARCHY OF SUFFERNG AND THE CMHR by Rhonda Spivak and Simone Cohen Scott , April 30, 2013"
The authors said that at a lecture by Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt, who was appointed by impeached President Bill Clinton to the United States Holocaust memorial council in 1994. Gail Asper asked the last question from the audience.
"Some have put forth the view that study of the Holocaust is wrong, that it promotes a hierarchy of suffering, and ought not to be set apart in museums," she asked in a twisted reference to critics, led by Canada's Ukrainian community, who challenge the decision to dedicate an entire gallery to the Holocaust while addressing every other genocide in history in bits and pieces throughout the museum. At no time has any group ever said that the study of the Holocaust is wrong; that is a poisonous invention by Gail Asper.
Lipstadt took the bait.
“The notion that study of the Holocaust or presentation in galleries promotes hierarchy of suffering is held only by people who don’t want it there."
With that, Lipstadt tarred every critic of the CMHR as anti-semitic and played into the hands of those Jews who are intent on reaffirming that the entire world is against them.
Is this an example of the propaganda that the public will find in the CMHR whenever it opens? Is this what we're paying $21.7 million a year for?