Commonwealth shames

Halifax's competition rubs hands, licks lips

The good news is that Halifax is considered a serious contender for hosting the Commonwealth Games. The bad news, as reported yesterday in The Scotsman, Scotland's national paper: "Glascow's bid to win the Commonwealth Games in 2014 has been handed a massive boost by its main rival, whose campaign is on the brink of imploding… With the other contender, Abuja in Nigeria, conceding that Glasgow is ahead in the race, Scotland's biggest city now appears to be warm favourite to win the 2014 Games."

What's amazing about the story is how accurately Martin Hannan, an observer in old Scotland, portrays the petty squabbling going on between all three levels of government in New Scotland. Here's the crux of the article, starting with premier Rodney MacDonald carping about city councillors' carping:

"These types of discussions are better behind closed doors," said MacDonald. "We have to make sure through this whole process, that we don't hurt the bid process by being out there with too much talking about it, talking about numbers that may or may not be accurate." MacDonald was speaking after councillors openly speculated that the Halifax bidding process — itself costed at $14.3m — would be cancelled if the final projected cost of the Games rises to more than $1.3 billion, as has been widely reported in Canada. But Premier MacDonald himself sparked a row when he was reported as saying: "I'm not willing to break the bank to host ," and both he and Halifax's Mayor Peter Kelly called on the Canadian federal government to increase their promised contribution of $400m. That prompted Canada's federal secretary of state for sport, Helena Guergis, to issue a stinging reply: "To be all of a sudden asked to be increasing that amount when the province and the city haven't put their financial contribution on the table is rather strange." (Full story here.)

Serves as a reminder to all concerned — from loudmouth city councillors to hypocritical premiers — how the world is shrinking. But if the internet is making the idea of a backwater disappear, what's your excuse now, Nova Scotia?

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