Regina city councillor Mike O’Donnell said the city expects to pay over $6,000 for the cancelling a controversial speaker for the city’s Reimagine Conference.
O’Donnell, who is co-chair of the sustainability focused conference along with Councillor Joel Murray, said the city paid a non-refundable $5,700 deposit in December to book Patrick Moore.
Moore is an out-spoken skeptic of man-made climate change, whose booking drew criticism from members of the public.
“The one thing I can’t tell you for sure is the amount, because there’s going to be a tax that we have to pay. We’ve tried in the last couple of days to firm that up. We haven’t gotten a response from the National Speakers’ Bureau, but I’m guessing we’re talking another $500 or $600.”
When Moore was initially cut from the agenda, O’Donnell said the city may have still been on the hook for upwards of $10,000. The city was able to avoid extra fees due to a termination clause in the contract with Moore.
In the contract, Moore’s speech topic is listed as “energy and sustainability – debunk of climate change,” O’Donnell said.
“We had correspondence with the Speaker’s Bureau to make sure we were talking about a change in energy and how we move forward,” O’Donnell said.
“I want to be clear that the word debunk was also in there. We looked past that because that was not the topic we were looking for.”
However, O’Donnell acknowledged Moore would have had the right to talk about debunking climate change as it was in the contract.
Moore will still present in Regina. Right-wing media outlet Rebel Media booked the Conexus Arts Centre for Moore to give a presentation on May 19, the night before the Reimagine Conference.
Despite requesting a review of Moore’s booking, Mayor Michael Fougere is opposed to Reimagine cancelling Moore’s booking.
“I do not support that. I felt he should remain on the agenda. It’s about free speech, and having some issues that are interesting to talk about,” Fougere said in an interview with Global News Morning last week.
“I supported having him on there, and want people to know the decision was by the co-chairs, and by council.”
O’Donnell said he will not be attending Moore’s event at the Conexus Arts Centre. He said he will be at a welcome reception for Reimagine that night.
A replacement speaker will not be booked. O’Donnell said they plan on giving other topics on the conference’s agenda more time to be discussed. The two-day conference begins on May 20.
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