Saturday, July 10, 2010

Were They Worth It?

So the numbers are in, and apparently the little wingding Vancouver threw for the world this past February cost close to $1 billion--$925 million, to be exact. That is, if you go by the government's internal accounting--which is, shall we say, rather creative.

Gary Mason, in the Globe, thinks all of this was a small price to pay for the pride and confidence and overall warm, fuzzy feeling Vancouverites have been left with as a result of the Olympics.

Vaughn Palmer, in the Sun, is a bit more sober in his assessment of the figures, wondering how Finance Minister Colin Hansen can get away with saying that the $325 million extra on top of the $600 million the BC Liberals (and Premier Campbell, in particular) kept repeating the Games would cost doesn't represent an overrun of 50%.

Apparently because that $600 million, according to Hansen, was just for a specific list of projects. And none of those projects, nor any of those covered by the additional $325 million taxpayers are on the hook for, includes the Canada Line from YVR to downtown ($2 billion extra), the new convention centre ($900 million extra), or the expansion of the Sea-to-Sky Highway ($800 million extra).

Indeed, if the government were honest, and factored in all Olympics-related costs, we're looking at a price-tag of at least $5-6 billion--and that's a conservative estimate.

But then this government is not honest. Witness the HST. And as anyone working in the arts in this province well knows, there definitely won't be any attempt to connect the dots between Olympic cost overruns and the decimation of funding to cultural industries and social programs.

That would require the sort of audit Mr. Hansen is unprepared to authorize.


No comments: