Yesterday I posted on Bill Nye, the so-called science guy…..or would that now be “science person” in Justin Trudeau’s world?
Anyway, my post asked who paid for Nye to come to Ottawa and hold what was billed as an “armchair discussion” between Nye and Trudeau. The reported purpose was to discuss the investment in science in the 2018 budget.
Is it just me or is it weird that the government would invite a man who is not a scientist, Nye is a mechanical engineer who hosted a science oriented show aimed at young kids, to discuss the importance of science in the federal budget? Let’s be frank, this was not a non-partisan event, this was an event to generate buzz on a Liberal friendly university campus and boost the prime minister by using an American TV celebrity.
So my question yesterday was who paid?
Nye’s speaking fee ranges from $50-75,000 USD or $64,497 to $96,746 in Canadian dollars. That is steep and I can tell you that often the people that charge big speaking fees also charge travel and expenses on top of their big fee.
I wanted to know if this was an event that the PMO paid for or if it was the University of Ottawa.
The PMO assured me that they did not pay for any of Bill Nye’s speaking fees or expenses. When I asked the University of Ottawa, they told me that they were simply the host and told me to check with back with the PMO and a woman named Eleanore Catenaro.
Ms. Catenaro assured me that not only did the PMO not pay for anything but neither did any other government department or agency.
“The government did not cover any of his expenses, and there was no speaking or appearance fee,” Catenaro said.
So who paid?
Either a third party picked up Nye’s fee or he waived it. Both of which are problematic.
As I said earlier, this was essentially a partisan event, a pep rally for the PM and his budget. He knew that bringing a former TV star to a university campus full of students that had watched Nye growing up would help him politically. He knew that he would get a media boost.
So did a donor or Liberal friendly group pick up Nye’s fee and expenses? If so will that be counted as a donation to the Liberal Party of Canada?
Did Nye waive his fee to help a prime minister that he likes? If so will that be counted as a foreign donation to the Liberal Party? Foreign donations are illegal.
With Nye campaigning with Trudeau and Al Gore campaigning with Kathleen Wynne in Ontario, it is beyond time that more in the media started asking questions about these sorts of events.