2010 LegaciesNow was one of three groups that paid for a half-page advertisement in The Vancouver Sun this past Sunday to thank the government for investing in sports. But the society, which has received $170 million in provincial taxpayer funding since 2003, says that ad wasn't connected to the election. "There was an announcement the previous weekend of $5 million invested in the sport system in British Columbia that the province had made," explained society communications director Karen McDonald. And three of the four parties receiving that money - 2010 LegaciesNow, the Canadian Sport Centre Pacific and Sport BC - "felt it was important to first of all recognize that commitment and secondly ensure the public was aware that these investments had been made in sport and that this is a priority for the health and welfare of British Columbians."
But this advertisement was placed two days before the writ was dropped. So did it have anything to do with the election? "No. It had to do with the timing of the funding announcement," replied Ms. McDonald. "The funding announcement happened the previous Saturday. So this was the earliest we could get. As you can imagine, trying to pull an ad together among three parties, it took us a few days to get approvals all around. And we wanted to run it to let the government know and let the public of British Columbia know this investment had happened and it was worthwhile. Had it been Coca Cola or GE or anybody else we would have done the same thing."
Ms. McDonald said cost of the advertisement - $12,000 - was divided between the three parties. She confirmed 2010 LegaciesNow's board - which includes Premier Gordon Campbell's former deputy minister Ken Dobell and former Vancouver city manager Judy Rodgers - had no involvement in the decision to place that ad. The following is a complete copy of its text.
to the Province of British Columbia and the Ministry of Health Living and Sport
Your recent investment of $5 million into the B.C. sport system shows your commitment to healthy, active living in the province. We believe, as you believe, that participating in sport builds healthier lives and communities.
On behalf of:
* 700,000 amateur sport participants
* 160,000 volunteers in sport
* 65 provincial sport organizations
* 1,400 high performance athletes and over 100 high performance coaches
We look forward to building a culture of sport and healthy living in the province with your support.
The BC Sport Alliance is made up of organizations who believe sport and physical activity are the foundations for healthy living. Together, we are working to reposition the sport system by maximizing strengths that currently exist and showing the impact of sport on health outcomes and other important areas. Through the BC Sport Alliance and its partner organizations, sport programs for all ages are delivered in B.C. communities through leagues and clubs, and performance sport opportunities are delivered for regional, provincial and national level athletes.