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The Globe and Mail

Human rights museum hits fundraising milestone with $130-million in private funds

In a museum theatre Gail Asper (L), national campaign chair of friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights leads a tour of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg Monday, Sept. 26, 2011.

John Woods for The Globe and Mail

The developers of the controversial Canadian Museum for Human Rights say they have hit a fundraising milestone by raising $130-million from the private sector.

"This shows that we have an incredible amount of support from across the country," said Dav Cvitkovic, chief executive officer of the museum. "We're on the rise, we're growing as an organization and donors are coming on board at all levels."

The museum, scheduled to open in Winnipeg next year, has been controversial since its inception. Some Ukrainian and genocide-awareness groups object to the museum's plan to establish a large, permanent space highlighting the Holocaust and a separate one for other atrocities, such as 3.3 million Ukrainians who starved to death under Stalin in 1932-33 and the 1915 Armenian genocide.

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A Nanos Research poll commissioned by Canadians for Genocide Education and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association last spring found that of 1,216 respondents, just over 60 per cent, said they want the CMHR to have one exhibit for all genocides.

Ms. Cvitkovic said an Ipsos-Reid poll of 1,000 people commissioned for the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights found that although most Canadians are not aware of the project, 83 per cent support it once they understand its goals.

Ottawa has agreed to pay the museum's operating and infrastructure costs, but about 45 per cent of capital costs must come from the private sector.

Ms. Cvitkovic said that the $130-million raised so far is more than the total amount of private sector funds raised for Canada's four other national museums. Its goal is to raise $150-million.


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