Events

Economic downturn in Alberta results in two military organizations cancelling annual fundraising events

Recent economic uncertainties in the province of Alberta have caused some military charities to cancel their fundraising events this year. Among the charities to make that decision include Calgary’s Loops For The Troops and Breakfast on the Bridge.

Loops For The Troops is an annual race that consisted of a five kilometre and 10-kilometre run and raised funds for Canada’s military members, first responders, and their families.

The race was started in 2008 by Michael Hornburg, in memory of his son Cpl. Nathan Hornburg, who was killed in combat while in Afghanistan, in September of 2007.

At its best, the race has attracted close to 1400 runners, raising around $80,000. However, last year’s event saw a major decline in both participants and funds raised.

The decreased support was a major factor behind cancelling this year’s event, but it wasn’t the only one.

“Another reason we cancelled the race is the current economic situation in Alberta and in the country in general. Our city council just about doubled everybody’s household taxes, our provincial government just instituted an increased education tax and is now putting in a carbon tax and our federal government is talking about putting in a carbon tax. As a result of all that, corporate donations have gone down dramatically,” said retired Lt-Col. Bill Schultz, race director of Loops For the Troops.

Schultz believes that the public’s decreased attention towards the military also has led to the decrease in support.

“When we were at war in Afghanistan the military was on the television sets every night. The public was right behind supporting the military. We had support our troops t-shirts, we had support our troops bumper stickers. Now that we are not actively engaged, especially since the active government withdrew CF-18 from the war in Syria against ISIS, the public has put the military back on the back burner again. It’s not in their day to day thinking,” stated Schultz.

According to Schultz, the organizers will reassess later this year whether next year’s event will be cancelled as well.

Breakfast on the Bridge, held in support of the Calgary MFRC, also made the decision to cancel this year’s event. Held annually since 2014, the event is held on Calgary’s Peace Bridge. The event honours military families and has also commemorated the First and Second World Wars in the past.

Breakfast on the Bridge released a statement last month explaining their decision to cancel this year:

“After two incredible annual morning breakfasts on the Peace Bridge, our entire committee had been looking forward to holding our Third Annual Breakfast this coming June. However, sometimes things just do not work out the way you might like; in light of the current economic situation in Alberta and in Calgary especially, we decided to take a serious look at the 2016 Breakfast on the Bridge.

“It is with a true sense of regret that we have decided not to hold a Breakfast on the Bridge this year, and to instead work together to make the 2017 Breakfast on the Bridge even better than ever.”

Schultz says the military is not the only one feeling the effects of the economic situation, many other charities are also losing funds. Global News reports that organizations like The Salvation Army, United Way and other organizations of Alberta are feeling the pinch and are losing corporate sponsorships.

“It’s not just Loops For The Troops and the military seeing a downturn in charitable donations from corporations and businesses, it’s pretty well across the board due to the current economic situations and some of the decisions the various levels of government have made in terms of taxation,” observed Schultz.

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MIshall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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