Frequent flying | Sports | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Frequent flying

Members of the Halifax 2014 bid committee were so busy travelling the globe to lobby other Commonwealth Games Associations, work was suffering back in the office. In this companion article to the "Game over" feature, information now coming to light revea

While detailed financial documents still haven’t yet been made public, I have been able to piece together the broad outline of the Halifax 2014 Bid Society’s international travel, and details of some of the trips, through documents obtained from the provincial government.

In March 2006, a group of 11 Halifax 2014 board members and staff attended the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. The attendees were:

—Fred MacGillivray, president of Events Halifax and the World Trade and Convention Centre and chair of 2014 Halifax’s board of directors

—Scott Logan, CEO of the bid committee

—Dan English, chief administrative officer for the Halifax Regional Municipality, who also sat on the Halifax 2014 board

—Dale MacLennan, the Director of Finance for HRM who was “loaned” to Halifax 2014 to become its chief financial officer

—Duff Montgomerie, the deputy minister for the provincial Department of Health Promotion and Protection, who also sat of the Halifax 2014 board

—Tom Jones, Andrew Pipe, Suzanne Coffey, Eric Savard and Joan Duncan, Commonwealth Games Canada representatives who also sat on the Halifax 2014 board

—Ken Bagnell, a Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic rep who sat on the Halifax 2014 board.

The bid committee later revealed that this trip cost $454,228.

From May 17 to 29, 2006, Logan and MacGillivray attended a Pan-American Sport Organization meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Logan left the meeting for two days, May 24 and 25, and visited Nassau, The Bahamas for the Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting. He was joined by Michael Chong, the federal minister of intergovernmental affairs.

On June 7, the Halifax 2014 board of directors adopted the provincial travel policy as its own—including the proviso that all travelers were to fly economy class.

In July, Logan, MacGillivray, Pipe and Jones went back to Melbourne, Australia, to attend the Commonwealth Games Candidate City Seminar. This trip included travel to other countries that were not specified in the documents.

MacGillivray and Kate Randall, the newly hired “director of international relations,” attended the South Asian Games in Sri Lanka from August 18 to 28. They were, according to a bid committee document, “treated extremely well by the Games Organisers—Sri Lanka. They were provided a vehicle and driver, a Protocol Liaison officer, and security officer.”

In Sri Lanka the pair “casually” wined and dined officials from the region’s Commonwealth Games Associations, including those from Pakistan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, a process that culminated with a dinner hosted by the Nova Scotians for all the other delegates. But, “only the Maldives and Sri Lanka attended the dinner because there was a Pakistan soccer game on at the same time, unfortunately.”

Still, after three days in Sri Lanka, Randall and MacGillivray went to the Maldives, where they hosted yet another dinner for the Maldives CGA.

On the return trip, Randall and MacGillivray stopped in Cyprus to “meet briefly” with Cyprus CGA officials.

Logan and Randall visited Caribbean countries in late August and early September, including Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica.

MacGillivray, Holding and Savard attended the Glasgow Sports Conference on September 14 and 15.

In October, Logan and Randall went to attend the Under-17 Games in Lesotho, Africa, as well as a meeting of African National Olympic Committees. “Unfortunately,” notes an October 2006 travel update, “on the day of their departure the Games were cancelled.” Logan and Randall went on to the meeting anyway, even though only five of the 10 countries sent representatives. One of the five was Zimbabwe, which has been suspended from participating in Commonwealth Games because of the oppressive regime of Robert Mugabe.

Logan and Randall were scheduled to go on to Kiribats, but that flight was cancelled, so they went instead to Canberra, Australia, “to meet the Canadian High Commissioner.” From there, the pair went on to the Solomon Islands and Vanuata, famous as location for the Survivor reality TV show.

To this point all travel conformed to the economy class travel policy but, according to a October 13 “Briefing Note” from Tony Holding, Halifax 2014’s “senior director of strategic relations,” the large amount of travel was affecting the health of the travellers. Therefore, the travel policy was amended to allow the travellers to fly Business Class for combined flights over 12 hours and for overnight flights.

There was also apparently concern that the large amount of travel was cutting into productive work time back in Halifax—“there is increasing pressure from internal operations of the Bid Society to have senior executives in the office for as much time as possible,” writes Holding. “Minimal travel times are therefore preferred, but traveller health is also critical.”

The travellers’ health was sufficiently improved by November such that Jones went to Guyana to meet with that country’s CGA. From there he joined Logan and Holding at the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees meeting in the Bahamas.

MacGillivray, Randall and Trevino Betty (another Commonwealth Games Canada rep on the Halifax 2014 board) attended a meeting of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (the same group of officials that met at the aborted U-17 games in October) in Malawi, which was held from November 8 to10. The trio made a single 15-minute presentation to the gathered delegates. After the meeting, MacGillivray and Randall went on to Swaziland, Mozambique and Zambia to meet with those countries’ CGAs.

Later in November, MacGillivray and Randall travelled with Patrick Jarvis, a consultant hired by the bid committee, to Doha for the Asian Games. This trip proved disappointing, according to the report: “A luncheon was hosted on November 30, but unfortunately only 25 percent of the invitees attended.” Most of the dinner invitees had instead opted to attend a party hosted that night by Delhi, so after their ill-attended dinner, the three Canadians went over to that party, where they “managed to informally meet the CGAs attending the Games.”

Through December, 2006 and January, Jones and Randall journeyed through Africa, to Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania, Seychelles, Mauritius, Ghana, the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Kenya and Cameroon.

In January 2007, MacGillivray and Randall travelled through Europe. “This now completes the visits to this region," notes a January travel report, "except for England."

By March 2007, when the plug was pulled, Halifax 2014 representatives had visited at least 54 countries. The full costs of these visits won't be known until more Halifax 2014 financial documents are made public.

Click here to return to "Game Over" the main Feature article in the Commonwealth Games saga.

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