October 14, 2006

Chris Cochrane on the Commonwealth Games

There have been woefully few comments around here lately. It must be time to write another post about the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Unfortunately, there isn't a lot new to say. There has recently been a big increase in visibility for the bid here in HRM, with an extensive marketing campaign on billboards, buses, and newspapers throughout the city. It's been very well done but doesn't do anything to address the anti-Games crowd's most significant sole point of contention.

Today the Herald ran a piece on the subject by Chris Cochrane, and as usual he makes a lot of sense:

Without the facts and figures about costs, cost-sharing and the return on investment, it’s arrogant of anyone to say with certainty that the Games will be good or bad for us.

Why are we in this situation?

One reason is the international bidding war, a time-honoured battle based on a covenant of secrecy that not only keeps bidders in the dark, but taxpayers as well. One would think that in these supposedly more enlightened times, such cloak-and-dagger methods would be dropped in favour of a more open and predictable process. Why not one in which specific regions would host the Games in designated years, reducing the bulk of the international courting?

The other culprit is a Canadian one, that being the game played by our federal government. Like a practised gambler, Ottawa is keeping its cost-sharing cards close to its vest, forcing the host city to make a wager without knowing for certain whether there’s enough money in the bank to cover its bet.

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