I’ll admit I was pretty bemused that the BC Liberal Party was a sponsor of WordCamp Whistler last weekend. I’m not big supporter of the BC Liberals. They tend to be a wee to far to the right for my tastes, however while I was surprised they were a sponsor, I wasn’t upset about it.
At the moment there is a bit of controversy over the organizers of NorthernVoice accepting a sponsorship money from the BC Liberals to subsidize the pre-conference dinner Thursday night. Derek makes some good arguments for why he and Airdrie won’t be at the dinner, while Duane makes the point that raising any money for a conference is hard in today’s economy and that the BC Liberals didn’t having anything other than their logo there (I don’t know if anyone from the BC Liberals was even there).
Both posts bring up the important question: Does money from a group mean that you as conference organizers support what that group stands for?
It’s funny, if you’re taking money from a company, I don’t think so. Maybe with the exception of very large companies. Political parties, yeah that’s a tough one. The Government or a Government Ministry, that would be “our tax dollars at work”, but are the BC Liberals trying to curry favour with the social media crowd (who are ironically traditionally left-leaning)? Or do they just think that this is something worth investing in (BC businesses and entrepreneurs)?
Realistically I think it’s a mix of all of that, but I don’t think that whatever the BC Liberal’s rationale is, taking their money means that the organizers are supporters of the BC Liberals. I think the organizers looked at the bottom line and saw that if they wanted to have a nice party the night before, they needed a sponsor. I doubt that they sought out the BC Liberals, I’m betting the BC Liberals came to them.
Yes, I’m splitting some rather grey hairs at this point.
And I support my friends who choose not to go because of where the money is coming from. Personally, I think we have an opportunity to engage with people close to government to maybe have a more transparent, dare I say, social media savvy election this spring.
I think the next question is are the other two major parties in the Province going to step up to the social media table?
Even if they don’t open their wallets to us.