We have to ask ourselves the question, Is the average Canadian citizen going to benefit from hosting the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver?
The bid for the games was officially made in 2002 and the games were subsequently awarded to Vancouver. In order to be selected, the bid for the games had to be reflective of that year.
Only a blundering fool would suggest that construction costs could come close to being accurately predicted eight years in advance. We were told at the time, the games would be on time and within projected budget, with no cost overruns requiring a trip to the government trough to bail out construction costs of venues.
Here we are very early into the year 2006. Guess what? The games are still four years away and already the Vancouver Organizing Committee is asking for an additional whopping one hundred and ten million dollars. Only a bigger fool would suggest that they wont be back to ask again at least once before the games begin.
The federal governments financial involvement was to have been in the original bid only, with any additional cost overruns to be supplemented by the province of British Columbia. The provincial government is now ready to cry to Ottawa to help bail it out. In other words, the very agreement that was signed originally to secure the games, is now being broken.
It does not require a whole lot of expertise to put together a bunch of numbers and call it a proposal. It does however, require a whole lot of expertise to put together a bunch of numbers and call it a proposal as a result of factoring in all the variables. Labour costs and material costs will dictate that over the course of eight years.
All one has to do is look at the results of the Montreal Olympics to understand what staggering debts are all about as a result of hosting the Olympic Games. To this day, a true and accurate figure has never been declared.
What are these games about anyway, and why is it so important to host them? Proponents would argue that it is the host country's chance to showcase it's very best, and at the same time, present the host country to the rest of the world.
Have you been entertaining the thoughts of the excitement of attending some of these competitions? If you are, start saving your money. A ticket for one hockey game can cost as much as five hundred dollars, depending on the seat. These games are totally out of reach of most ordinary Canadians. True, some of the less popular sports will cost much less, however, for a couple travelling to Vancouver to see a cross section of Olympic sports, the tickets, coupled with food, lodging, and related expenses will present a very sizable expenditure.
With the cutbacks that we have experienced in British Columbia in regards to health care and services in general, it is disgraceful that we can suddenly find the extra funding to shore up the shortfall of the Olympic construction bid at the expense of those who can afford it the least.