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.


Zebra said...

I heard this guy on the radio today saying that this announcement wouldn't affect opinions on Halifax, bogus!

Halifax is already looked down on and snobbed by many in upper Canada and this just gives them another thing to say "I told you so, Atlantic Canada was incompetent to pull this off"

Yes, Hamilton and the other contenders in have a right to be upset!

Gary Drummond said...

Cowardly? Well as a Nova Scotia taxpayer I beg to differ. We're not exactly rolling in cash down here.

The cost of these games became astronomical, and the taxpayer would have to foot the bill. The likely cost of these games would approach $2,000,000,000. Count the zeros buddy. Finally, we have some political leaders that are exercising common sense.

It sends a message all right. Maybe the cost of these events, like the salaries of professional athletes, have gotten out of hand.

Our roads are full of potholes, our healthcare is underfunded, our taxes too high already. How many MRIs can you buy, or doctors can you hire with $1.7 billion? Remember that Nova Scotia already has a $12 billion dollar debt!

tonnee said...

We in Nigeria welcome the withdrawal from Canada. Canada and indeed many other commonwealth countries should do well to support Nigeria's bid.

Africa has never had a taste of the hosting of the Games that has been a binding force among the 71-member Nations of Commonwealth.

You will also do well to pass on your support to Nigeria as a way of furthering the already existing cordial relations between Nigeria and Scotland. That will be a veritable way to woo us for future support.

It is a manner that God performs his miracles. Could also prevail on Glasgow to give in Abuja and rather join us in 2014 for a centenary celebrations.

Give it to Abuja and you will be proud you did. And more importantly you would have been completing the full circle. Our is inclusiveness.


Tony Nezianya
Head of Media
Nigeria Olympic Committee

28pfds said...

I actually see this a strength for Canada. It takes foresight and financial prudence to know when you should back-away from something that you cannot afford. Is it better for the CGs or any other even to leave behind a legacy of debt that current residents resent for years and future bid cities fear, or to be upfront and honest and say "we do not think we can afford this event at this time."

And Canada has nothing to be embarrased about! Canada will have hosted one summer and two winter Olympic Games in 35 year -- not a bad record for a country with 32 million people and not much influence inside the IOC. AND, despite Montreal 1976's financial issue, those Games consider to be highly regarded as being well organized and very people-friendly. Calgary 1988 was a grand success, and Vancouver 2010 is on-track to duplicate and even better Calgary 1988.

I think it's more mature and worth to say "sorry - can't pay for this" now, and allow another Canadian city to bid again in the future when things are more solid financially.

Having said that the Toronto region and Hamilton have every right to be upset, AND the Canadian CG committee now has some explaining to do.

tour_contact said...

At last a sensible decision. The Games industry is too full of boosters who over estimate the benefits and underestimate the costs of staging Games - look at the London 2012 overall budget now.

Hopefully this will be the start of a movement of cities to fully determine whether hosting Games are truly in their interests.

It should also be a wake up call to the Commonwealth Games Federation that they are creating an event that is far too big and costly for its profile and which will utlimately lead to its demise.