What the duck
By Chad Ingram
Published June 8, 2017
Some serious waves were created last week when it was announced a $120,000 provincial grant would be used to help rent a giant rubber duck to be brought to Toronto’s Redpath Waterfront Festival in celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary.
And by giant, we’re talking about a six-storey rubber duck. A rubber duck taller than any building in Haliburton County and apparently weighing in at more than 13,000 kilograms.
The move certainly ruffled some feathers and raised a number of questions.
Such as, what, for instance, does a giant rubber duck have to do with Canada’s 150th anniversary?
Did the giant rubber duck belong to Sir John A. Macdonald? Was it discovered in a B.C. cave by archeologists?
And, of course, why a rubber duck? If you’re going to rent six-storey waterfowl to celebrate the country, surely a Canadian goose or loon would be a more obvious choice.
The Opposition had a field day with the situation, lobbing questions about the duck’s link to Canadian heritage and calling it a massive waste of taxpayers’ money.
And that’s the real problem with this whole rubber duck ordeal. It makes it appear the government is not keeping a very close eye on how public money is being spent.
This in a province with a debt of more than $300 billion, where Hydro One bills have soared out of control for years and where a disconcerting portion of the population subsists on minimum wage.
The giant rubber duck has become a shining, yellow symbol of wastefulness, a beacon loudly proclaiming that when it comes to spending, perhaps the government’s priorities are heading down the drain.
The latest news in the giant rubber duck saga is that the Dutch artist who created the enormous inflatable duck, called, aptly, Rubber Duck in 2007 is claiming the duck that has been rented in Ontario is a counterfeit; another giant rubber duck, made in the image of the first one.
The artist responsible for Rubber Duck says his creation was never meant to be used for profit.
So, this whole situation may yet become a lame duck.
Still, it highlights, in bright, yellow, that greater attention must be paid to the types of projects that are receiving provincial grant money.