Let the ‘games’ begin: CRD transparency lacking on Commonwealth Games 2022 bid
Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria has filed a formal complaint with the BC Ombudsperson calling for the CRD to release information on Victoria’s bid for the Commonwealth Games 2022.
Support from the CRD board of directors – voted on at a last-minute closed special meeting June 28 just before a summer long weekend – gave only qualified support to the Victoria bid in a secret vote that wasn’t unanimous.
To their credit, the CRD wisely worded its motion, “We support in principle, the hosting of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, subject to a proper business plan being presented and approved by local governments and institutions, in public.”
Grumpy Taxpayer$ supports the Commonwealth Games bid if an independent third party such as a recognized financial management firm examines the business case to ensure taxpayer protection and if there’s transparent discussions and decision-making.
“The decision to go in-camera and close the doors to discuss and vote on supporting this bid makes it difficult for the public to assess the risk of this mega-sports event,” says John Treleaven, vice-chairperson of Grumpy Taxpayer$.
“This decision process is less than an inspiring example of accountability and transparency.”
The Games will involve a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars and have a considerable impact on our community, yet we don’t know which municipalities or CRD director supported or opposed the bid motion, Treleaven says.
Did our CRD directors consult their council, administration and the electorate prior to voting to support the Games to ask them how they stand on this spectacle and the potential risk to taxpayers? he asks.
While it appears the CRD may have followed the letter-of-the-law around a closed door meeting and secret vote, Grumpy Taxpayer$ is arguing with the BC Ombudsperson that they didn’t follow the spirit of the law under the principles of municipal governance of the Community Charter, the legislation governing the CRD.
Grumpy Taxpayer$ also calls for the CRD to ensure taxpayer protection by at least using in-house financial capability to vigorously examine any bid.
Initially, there were only two bids, one of which dropped out leaving Durban, South Africa, as the only bid for the 2022 Games out of 70 member countries of the Commonwealth. But Durban was disqualified because of financial issues opening up the bid process again: Subsequently, Toronto and Edmonton applied, but both withdrew bids because of financial issues. Victoria is the only Canadian city bidding.
Calgary, do you really want the Olympic Games? Again? Globe and Mail editorial, June 25, 2017.
Five Ring Circus: Myths and Realities of the Olympic Games by Dr. Chris Shaw of Victoria, New Society Publishers, 2008.
The economic gamble behind hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Column by Grumpy Taxpayers, June 22, 2017.
Calgary 2026 Olympics decision needs careful consideration, Calgary Herald, June 23, 2017.
Available for Media Interviews:
Stan Bartlett, Chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$
250-477-9907John Treleaven, 1st Vice-chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$
250.656.7899, cell 250.588.7899