Forum Research asked 755 residents on Sunday, as the successful Pan Am Games wrapped up, “Do you support or oppose Toronto making a bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games?”
Some 61 per cent said they support a bid. Thirty per cent were opposed and 9 per cent said they didn’t know.
The Pan Am games just ended here in Toronto. It turned out to be monstrously expensive, but it wasn't a complete disaster. There's that, I guess.
However, a good chunk of the city wants to bring about the apocalypse in the form of an Olympic bid for the summer games in nine years.
Not only should there be no bid, anyone who supports one should be euthanized, sterilized or both. They have no idea what the Olympics costs, what it involves and the physical and financial limitations of the city. The ignorance is stunning, and the fact that over half the people share it makes me question the fundamental underpinnings of democracy itself.
As someone who has lived here his entire life, I'm a fan of Toronto. It's pretty much everything you could want in a city, and it's the nerve center of the country. That most of you don't like that fact doesn't make it any less true.
Having said that, we're decades behind where we'd need to be to host something like the Olympics. Major infrastructure expansion essentially stopped in the early 1970s when the proposed Spadina Expressway was killed by NIMBYism.
More than in any other city I'm aware of, subway construction has become a tool of populists and morons, specifically Mel Lastman, Greg Sobara and Rob Ford, with financially unsustainable lines that go nowhere and represent little more than vainglorious political monuments to self. That we're feeding more traffic onto a Yonge line that's overburdened almost to the point of collapse because "Downtown gets everything" tells you everything you need to know about the state of municipal democracy here.
Then there's the legacy of Mike Harris, who I should tell you, I voted for three times.
Harris decided that he was going to balance the books the same way that Jean Chretien and Paul Martin did, by dumping the costs downward. To do that, he amalgamated the municipalities against their will, downloaded provincial expenses onto them, and denied them the power to raise revenue under the Municipalities Act and the City of Toronto Act. This all occurred during a population explosion, so it worked out about as well as you would imagine it would.
It is in the middle of this that some people are thinking of dumping the Olympics - a greater metropolitan area of roughly five million people that was designed to comfortably accommodate and move around maybe half that many, and which hasn't had useful improvements in 40 years. We're supposed to somehow dump an estimated million more people into this.
Because of the city's size, that's important. The 2024 summer games wouldn't be limited to just the Rogers Center, the Air Canada Center and BMO Field. It would also need the University of Toronto and York University campuses, and several other new stadium sized structures that we'd never have a use for again.
If you live in the city, try getting from the ACC to York right now. I'll wait while you spend a few hours in traffic. Now think about how much more difficult it’s going to be with a few hundred thousand folks making the same trip at the same time.
And this might seem like a small matter, but no one has thought about how we're going to pay for all of this. Because Rob Ford just had to have his welfare choo-choo in the wasteland of Scarborough, Toronto is already facing thirty years of residential property tax hikes, and John Tory's SmartTrack line is going to cost billions more. The provincial Liberals are throwing away billions on gas plants that never get built, and Stephen Harper is busy turning the tax code into a full employment program for babysitters.
Where is the money going to come from? Remember, we're talking tens of billions of dollars at a minimum. Consider also that Montreal didn't finally pay off the friggin' 1976 games until 2006.
Do we really want Montreal laughing at us?
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