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Cardus Proposal to Restore Auchmar

Cardus Proposal to Restore Auchmar
Statement from Michael Van Pelt, President of Cardus
June 17, 2015

The allegations about Cardus published in the Hamilton Spectator are misleading, inappropriate, and discreditably sourced ("Christian think-tank Cardus considering $6m purchase of historic Auchmar" by Andrew Dreschel, June 12, 2015). The work of our organization has positively contributed to Hamilton and to Canada over the last 15 years. We are proud of the heritage-minded and civic-minded restoration we have proposed for the Auchmar property. We wholeheartedly agree that our City Of Hamilton ought to conduct its due diligence for this important proposal, and expect nothing less.

Cardus publishes research and opinion for the benefit of all Canadians, in all their diversity and plurality of ideas and beliefs. We daily welcome input in an open and transparent manner. We are committed to improving the health of Canadian debate and Canadian leadership. Our cause of renewing Canada's "social architecture" represents a 15-year track record engaging hundreds upon hundreds of authors and contributors, interviews with former Prime Minister Paul Martin and Governor General David Johnston, major events with former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, and public conversations with planners and community activists leading Hamilton's social institutions.

One of our earliest research projects, titled Living on the Streets and freely available even now on our website, argued that the social provisions of Hamilton's 170 religious communities (of all faiths) were economically vital and politically underrepresented. On Locke Street, for example, without St. John the Evangelist, Melrose United, and Stanley Street Baptist, would there have been economic revival? We published that report at Hamilton City Hall a decade ago, in the company of city councillors, police representatives, and staff from Hamilton's Social Planning and Research Council (SPRC). Our research on these lines now extends to cities across Canada, including a successful collaboration with Major Nenshi in making changes to the Calgary City Centre plan.

I am deeply hurt by the hasty labelling of our institution by Mr. Dreschel. We are also concerned that he knowingly sourced the allegations against us, at least in part, from supporters of failed bids for the Auchmar property. Even then, those with "axes to grind" could use against us only what is freely available on our own website. None of our research, or the opinions of our contributors, are hard to find. Cardus is an open and transparent organization: our archive of thousands of articles, by over 1,000 contributors, over nearly 35 years, is published for all to see on our website.

Cardus is a hospitable and enthusiastic citizen of Hamilton's downtown. We already occupy and have actively improved a heritage building in the Corktown neighbourhood. We have repeatedly invited Mr. Dreschel, Hamilton's city councillors, and all of Hamilton to visit our team and tour our shop, including through the Open Doors movement.

We have also repeatedly told the City and its representatives, over several years, that we will gladly step aside to another community organization that could demonstrate the ability to fund and maintain Auchmar—another position we still maintain.

Councillor Johnson told Mr. Dreschel he needed to be reassured of Cardus's good value. The City and its leaders will judge the value—to Hamilton's citizens and heritage advocates—of our proposal to restore Auchmar. And as for Cardus, we are pleased to study and promote a thriving city of Hamilton, and a healthy Canadian society, and we invite fair-minded scrutiny of our mission and accomplishments.

Michael Van Pelt
President, Cardus

Inquiries:
Peter Stockland
Senior Director, Publications and Media
pstockland@cardus.ca
514.654.1742