Anyone wondering why Canada’s only truly high-profile international sporting event of the summer is NOT coming to Toronto?
You may be saying, “what about the Pan Am Games, dummy?” That would make you…a Liberal. The Pan Am Games, bid for and won in 2010 in a joint venture between former Toronto spendaholic Mayor David Miller, and former Ontario spendaholic Premier Dalton McGuinty, is many things: tax-dollar-sucking, bureaucrat-fluffing, anarchist-protestor-attracting, and Olympic-pretending, are but a few.
But high-profile and international, they are not. Interest is primarily limited to the families of the athletes, and the authoritarian thug leaders of certain Latin American socialist republics. They are the games only a mother can love – and the mother of these games is the Ontario Liberal Party, who are adding at least another $2.5 billion onto the debt owed by us and our legitimate children, in an attempt to force us to love this bastard child of “legacy” and crony-capitalism. It’s no wonder many Ontario residents long ago nicknamed this event the Pan Scam Games.
The truly big-time event coming to Canada this year is kicking off in just nine days – the FIFA Women’s World Cup of Soccer, being held in Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver from June 6-July 5. It’s not nearly at the hype level of the men’s World Cup, and it is administered by an alleged criminal cabal, but for sheer sporting interest it is an event that is seeing some serious buzz, particularly in the US and Canada.
After Canada’s exciting performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games, hopes are very high here for a home-country victory. Star players like Christine Sinclair and Diana Matheson have become household names across Canada, while American star Alex Morgan is a crossover pop-culture icon thanks to her soccer prowess and her swimsuit modelling. Tens of millions of people worldwide will indeed have their eyes on Canada this spring and summer.
In contrast, star power will be hard to find at the Pan Am venues this summer. Michael Phelps has taken a pass. Hope of an appearance from the world’s fastest man, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, are a pipe-dream. Soccer will be a U-22 yawner. The entire basketball tournament will likely have no more than a handful of NBA journeymen.
I hear all the top 10-pin bowlers will be here, though.
Financially, the WWC is a bargain. It is costing us just $15 million in federal tax dollars, $2 million each from the six provincial governments involved, and small subsidies from each of the six host cities. Contrast that with the Pan Scam boondoggle, which is taking $86 million from the City of Toronto property tax rolls alone. I think we’d all rather have seen that money poured into a hole in the ground – as long as that hole was being dug as part of a new subway system expansion.
So why was Toronto left out of the Women’s World Cup, despite the fact that Toronto’s BMO Field is Soccer Canada’s official National Soccer Stadium? We have one of the Pan Am Games’ chief villains to blame for this one, too.
Despite the fact that the Pan Am Games don’t even begin until the WWC will be over, former Pan Am Games CEO Ian Troop successfully lobbied the City of Toronto to reject Soccer Canada’s request for Toronto to be part of the event. What was going through the disgraced Troop’s mind? Was he worried his event would be shown up by sellouts and real excitement? Worried it would take away sponsorship dollars from his graft-a-thon? Cost him his bonus? Most likely, it just came down to pure jealousy.
So, as we Torontonians bask in the horror of a second-rate sporting spectacle that will leave our summer traffic patterns in disarray, and our future more impoverished, we can sit back and watch on TV as Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver rock it out.
Speaking of Winnipeg – host of the 1999 Pan Am Games - at least Toronto will always have that “Pan Am legacy”…right? Uh oh…in the words of legendary Winnipeg sportswriter Scott Taylor, "I don’t get what the whole Pan Am Games was other than a legacy for politicians."
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