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BC: Lottery Corp Wasting Money on Conference - Again

December 12, 2016
BC: Lottery Corp Wasting Money on Conference - Again

It’s ba-a-a-ack and dumber than ever.

The BC Lottery Corporation is hosting its annual buntoss, er, pissup, er, party, er, New Horizons in Responsible Gaming Conference in February at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Last year, CTV News reported that this conference cost taxpayers $138,000 and delivered nothing for the gambling addicts it purports to help. From CTV:

As delegates arrive for this year’s New Horizons in Responsible Gaming Conference in Vancouver this week, Freedom of Information documents show last year’s conference cost almost $100,000 more than planned.

Costs include big ticket items such as $91,000 spent on audio-visual work, $115,000 spent on the conference venue, $430 spent on a flavoured popcorn bar and $1,600 on fruit skewers.

“I think it’s a complete waste of money, a big schmoozefest,” said Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, who added the partial guest list disclosed through FOI included mostly industry players and experts studying gambling addiction, but didn’t include support workers dealing with addicted gamblers in B.C.

“You don’t see groups dealing with people who have lost everything because of gambling. This is really about a big organization feeling good about paying lip service to responsibility,” he said.

Documents show the cost of the 2014 conference was $247,000, with the B.C. Lottery Corporation paying $57,000 and sponsors making up the difference.

In 2015, officials estimated the cost would be $209,000, but that rose to $303,000. Sponsorship revenue dropped, and BCLC ended up paying $138,000.

Well, the Lottery Corp hasn’t learned. This year’s conference is set for Feb. 20-22 (while the entire provincial government and media is conveniently focused on the BC Liberals’ final budget of their mandate).

Most startling is the keynote speaker – not an expert in gambling addiction, or a head of gambling addiction charity or a lotto corp or anyone else involved in the industry.

No, the keynote speaker is “Celebrated Canadian” Margaret Trudeau. From her bio on the site:

Margaret Trudeau is a Canadian icon, celebrated both for her role in the public eye and as a respected mental-health issues advocate. From becoming a prime minister’s wife at a young age, to the loss of both her son and her former husband, to living with bi-polar disorder, Margaret tirelessly shares her personal stories to remind others of the importance of nurturing the body, mind, and spirit.

Margaret is the author of four books, including her bestselling title, Changing My Mind, which charts her life’s ups and downs, and her latest title, The Time of Your Life, which offers women an inspirational and practical approach to creating a healthy, happy, secure and satisfying future.

Margaret sits on the Executive Advisory Board of the UBC Mental Health Institute as a community advocate, and she is the Honorary President of WaterAid, a charitable Canadian non-governmental agency that is dedicated to helping poor communities in developing countries build sustainable water-supply and sanitation services.

She is also the proud mother to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

We’re pretty sure that last line is all that matters to the Lottery Corp.

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