Thursday, March 08, 2007

Halifax's Scrapped Commonwealth Games Bid Another Canadian Failure

As I write this, the news of Halifax's scrapping of their bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games is very fresh, but the implications are already huge.

I can already feel the anger resonating from Hamilton, Ottawa and Toronto area York Region who were defeated by Halifax as the choice to represent Canada in this bid. The reaction is justified as the three rejected bids were all viable and potentially formidable foes to Glasgow and Abuja - the remaining two cities who will now fight for the hosting privilege. It is now too late for the Canadian Commonwealth Games Committee to submit a new candidate for 2014, a year widely believed to be Canada's turn to host the Games.

This turn of events will likely leave a black mark on Canada and future bids for various international events. Canada will host the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010, but that might be the last big event in Canada for some time.

The Canadian City of Toronto failed in two attempts to host the Olympic Games before Vancouver won the privilege - but since then the leadership in Toronto has changed and the current Mayor couldn't even create a rally behind an intended bid for the 2015 World's Fair and elaborate plans were dropped just a day before the submission deadline.

Now Halifax, after already investing millions of dollars in their bid, has cowardly backed out after the City and the Province of Nova Scotia shied away from committing to increased costs for the project. This sets a very dangerous precedent in Canada that will likely be referenced by other potential city bids for international events in the Country for years to come.

The door may now be shut to Canada for other Commonwealth Games in the near future. The next bid will be for 2018 but will Commonwealth Games Committee voters still have confidence in a Canadian city then? That might not even be an issue should the Games spread to other continents such as Africa and the informal continental rotation rule continue leaving Canada's turn behind.

There will be much more on this issue to come and bid organizers will have many questions to answer. But I'm sure celebrations have erupted in Glasgow - now the odds on favourite to defeat Abuja in the November vote making the remaining 2014 Commonwealth Games race a non-story.