Heritage to take over Canada Day, Winterlude from NCC
The National Capital Commission is getting out of the promotion business, turning over events like Canada Day and Winterlude to the Department of Canadian Heritage.
The change, announced as part of the federal government's 2013 budget, comes as the government plans to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.
The government wants to ensure "a broad, national perspective is brought to these celebrations," according to the budget.
Ian Lee from Carleton University's Sprott School of Business is worried about the handover, particularly that Canadian Heritage is more concerned with national identity and history, while the NCC is a caretaker of unique and important spaces.
"I don't mean I think it's a terrible decision but I'm skeptical," said Lee. "The way I like to put it is the NCC has saved us repeatedly from the City of Ottawa, the machinations and the administrative failures from the City of Ottawa, over many, many years."
Mayor welcomes decision
But Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is of the opinion that the Canadian Heritage department is better suited for the task of staging such festivals and events and said he's previously shared this view with federal officials.
"I think that's a positive move. Canadian Heritage certainly has a good background in doing those kinds of projects," Watson said. "Particularly as we head towards Canada 150 … I think it makes sense to have the federal Department of [Canadian] Heritage responsible for those kinds of activities."
The former Ministry of Communications handled the promotion of events in the National Capital Region until 1988, when the Mulroney government handed the duties over to the NCC.
With the move, some 60 to 80 NCC workers will be moved into Canadian Heritage.
The NCC will still act as a landowner in the region, and will continue to be in charge of maintaining the official residences, the Rideau Canal, Gatineau Park and other properties.