By Valerie Dittrich
A sponsor of Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC), Mattamy Homes, made
The conservative political advocacy group has gained over 425,000 followers on Facebook. Last year, the group was responsible for creating memes and viral videos on the social media platform to mock the Ontario Liberals during the provincial elections.
According to CBC News, Ontario Proud amassed over $460,000 in corporate donations to fund its campaign efforts, with Toronto-based company Mattamy Homes topping the list with a $100,000 donation issued to the organization back in May.
Mattamy Homes has donated over $61,000 to the PC party and its candidates between 2014 and 2016, giving the Liberals over $32,000 in those same years.
In a statement issued last month on their website, Mattamy Homes defended their $100k donation to Ontario Proud, saying it was to advance their “housing agenda during the provincial election campaign,” and that “further awareness needed to be built regarding the lack of housing availability in Ontario, the regulatory framework that is causing the shortage, and the resulting impact on affordability.”
Mattamy Homes said they “do not share Ontario Proud’s views on other issues…[or]other aspects of their platform” and “will refrain from making these types of contributions to political advocacy groups in the future.”
The building and housing company sponsored the MAC with a $15 million donation to the university back in 2011. In an interview published on the Ryerson Rams website, Peter Gilgan, CEO of Mattamy Homes, said the building would “play a role in the health and well-being of so many people by making great facilities more accessible to Ryerson students and the community.”
Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi said he recognizes the great contribution Mattamy Homes made to the school, however he stresses the company has “no part in the day-to-day operations of the MAC or Ryerson University.”
The policies on naming a building or a school after someone or a company who made a contribution to the school is only to “recognize people for their generosity and their support,” but it should not influence the university or what it stands for, he continued.
“Our policy states that no naming should infringe on academic integrity or deemed to implement any kind of of endorsement,” he said. “I have not seen in my years at Ryerson any of the donors asking us to adopt a political position.”
He adds that Ryerson remains “fully committed” to ensuring equity and diversity.