Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Budget Day, a day like no other!

Uncertainties, tweets, and a cold 

Federal Budget Day in Ottawa: this is the most revealing day following our yearlong push for museums. Throughout the year, we are meeting MPs, Senators, hosting our annual Hill Day (where you can participate), and appearing before Parliamentary Committees, but it all cumulates in the Budget speech.

I always attend the budget lockup and despite having a very bad cold, off I went along with our indomitable Audrey Vermette. This was her first time in the lock up. This is one of those events not to miss, rubbing shoulders with famous journalists, lobbyists, consultants, politicians, etc.

When we arrived, there was the usual tension in the air; will we be discovering bad news, or good news? We arrived with draft statements for both scenarios, which had to be rewritten after we poured over some 600 pages of documents. We had to ask skill-testing questions of federal officials who frequently are at evasion.

Our objective is to report to our members, within an hour of the budget speech. We also have to do this in both official languages which in itself is a major feat. Afterwards,  we send it out to members by email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Back in the days when we had reporters devoted to our sector, I was in the unique position of being the only voice interviewed, which was a golden opportunity to get our message out. Today the media is only interested if there is a major story about cuts; good news is not news!

As soon as Mr. Flaherty started his budget speech at 4pm, we were back to the CMA office to finalize our communiqué so you would have the relevant news firsthand within the hour. The communiqué also goes to politicians. This year we quickly heard back from James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage, with congratulations on our accurate work. He even sent our message along on his own Twitter feed.

In actuality, it is his good work we must acknowledge as he once again has been the champion of our sector which survived the 2013-2014 budget intact. You can read our analysis of the federal budget, what is new and what news you need to know on our website at www.museums.ca.

Soon after, I went back to bed to nurse my cold!

John G. McAvity
Executive Director

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