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Human Rights museum needs $45-million Add to ...

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, now under construction near downtown Winnipeg, needs another $45-million to complete the building designed by noted U.S. architect Antoine Predock.

Museum officials announced this week that rising construction costs, inflation and fluctuations in currency exchange have pushed the museum's capital budget to $310-million from its earlier $265-million threshold. The museum's board has asked the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to help raise the additional money. To date, the museum has raised $110-million from private sources and $160-million from the Manitoba and federal governments. Established as a Crown corporation and national museum by Prime Minister Stephen Harper two years ago, the museum has been scheduled to open in 2012 near the intersection of the Red and Assiniboia Rivers.

Manitoba Premier Gary Doer said Wednesday his NDP government is prepared to increase the $40-million it's already committed to the project but didn't specify what the increase would be. At the same time, he said he expected the museum to get the bulk of its additional capital funding from private sources. Gail Asper, chair of the museum's national fundraising drive and daughter of the late Izzy Asper, the force behind the original idea for the CMHR, is "good" at finding money, he told reporters. "This is not an insurmountable gap."

The revised construction estimates follow on the heels of a recent decision by the museum to apply for an "adjustment" in the interim funds the federal government committed for the museum's operation from 2008-09 through 2011-12. In a report filed earlier this month in the House of Commons, the museum says it's facing a $5.2-million shortfall in its 2009-2010 operating budget. To cover that, it wants the government to reduce the roughly $21-million committed for 2010-2011 to $15.9-million and advance the difference now. In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the federal government has said it will contribute $21.7-million in operating funds.

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