Analysis: British Columbia’s bid for the 2030 Olympics on thin ice, facing a blizzard of challenges


Bob Mackin

There couldn’t be a worse time to sell British Columbians a bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics, and not just because it’s the middle of summer.

The only thin ice or blizzard in these areas at this time are metaphors that can be used to describe where the Canadian Olympic Committee’s blessed Four Host First Nations stand and the sheer volume of challenges it faces.

Prime Minister Gordon Campbell and Prime Minister Stephen Harper at Victoria International Airport on October 30, 2009 (Bob Mackin)

Vancouver Deputy Director Karen Levitt advises city councilors to do nothing until senior governments do something to support the bid. BC NDP Tourism and Sport Minister Melanie Mark wants a mini business plan on her desk by August 15 before Victoria decides to sign up for yet another mega-event of $4 billion.

July 2022 is a time of political, economic, social and environmental vulnerability. This is the flip side of July 2001, when BC’s new Liberal premier, Gordon Campbell, seized on Beijing’s choice of the International Olympic Committee and Toronto’s rejection of the 2008 Olympics. lawn mower and tape cutter, Campbell went all-in to bring the Winter Olympics to Vancouver in 2010 and won two more elections.

You could say there were too many reasons to say yes to 2010 and there are too many reasons to say no to 2030. Here are a few.

Can you save a billion?

It took Prime Minister John Horgan a full 40 days to backtrack on the Royal BC Museum project, which is expected to cost $1 billion to complete by 2030. It could still happen, but it will be on the desk of someone else. Meanwhile, Olympic bidders say they need at least $1 billion from taxpayers, but admit they’re unsure how much they’ll need due to the long list of ‘essential services’ that governments should provide in 2030.

Health before the Olympics

Do you remember that bumper sticker from 2003? He could come back. In 2022, some 900,000 British Columbians do not have a family doctor. (Compare that with the 1.8 million tickets distributed for the 2010 Games.) People across the province are complaining about long wait times for ambulances and emergency room treatment. The system is collapsing under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic, the overdose epidemic and an aging population. Horgan failed to convince Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to bring cash to the Victoria Premiers’ Summit earlier this month.

Emergency, in more ways than one, at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.


The 33,000 civil servants of the BC General Employees’ Union could go on strike this summer. With B.C. inflation at 8.1%, the highest in Canada, they are demanding a cost of living adjustment and have already taken a cold swipe at the government’s offer of an 11% increase over three years and $2,500 signing bonus. They represent just a fraction of the 400,000 public sector workers whose contracts expire in 2022. For every 1% increase in BC’s total public sector payroll, the cost to taxpayers increases by $386 million. of dollars.

revolving door

The municipal elections will take place on October 15. The NDP must choose a new leader to replace Horgan by December 3. he was one of the biggest critics of Vancouver 2010 when he was with the BC Civil Liberties Association. And could there be another federal election, after the opposition Conservatives appoint a new leader on September 10? A lack of stability in senior office will not help the cause of anyone knocking on the doors of Ottawa or Victoria in search of billion plus dollars and deficit insurance.

let’s vote

Greece gave us the Olympics and democracy. Com. Colleen Hardwick says they should go together, like they did in 2003 when nearly two-thirds of Vancouver voters said yes to the 2010 candidacy. Mayor Kennedy Stewart thwarted Hardwick’s first motion when he falsely claimed that a plebiscite in the October 15 ballot would violate a non-binding agreement with Whistler and the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Lil’wat nations. What’s really going on? The COC has privately told all six parties that any referendum this year would result in the IOC rejecting a Canadian 2030 bid. The COC is still licking its wounds after voters in 1988 host city Calgary rejected the 2018 bid for the 2026 Winter Games.

Vladimir Putin (left) and Xi Jinping during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics (PRC)


Vladimir Putin has a habit of starting wars during the Olympic years. In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia. In 2014, it was Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. In 2022, he decides to tackle the rest of Ukraine. This follows his visit with Xi Jinping to the Winter Olympics in Beijing, where the dictators renewed their bromance with a ‘no limits’ deal. Food and fuel shortages and inflation are causing upheaval around the world. Canada has imposed sanctions on Russia, which is sidelined by many international sports federations, but not the IOC. Meanwhile, Xi has rejected Hong Kong’s one-country/two-system commitment and covets Taiwan.

BC’s mega-project madness

The NDP is building or expanding hospitals in False Creek Flats ($2.174 billion), Cloverdale ($1.72 billion), Burnaby ($1.3 billion) and Richmond ($860 million). A new Pattullo Bridge is underway ($1.37 billion) and a new Massey Tunnel later ($4.15 billion) is on the drawing board. Meanwhile, the Broadway Metro Happens ($2.83 billion) and Langley to Surrey SkyTrain ($3.94 billion) has the green light. The $16 billion Site C is halfway done. Metro Vancouver plans to build a new sewage treatment plant on Iona Island for $10 billion, but must first complete the $1.06 billion project in North Vancouver. These total $45.4 billion, but will cost more due to the rising cost of borrowing. Then there’s building better levees around Abbotsford, completing flood and landslide repairs on the Coquihalla Highway, and rebuilding the burnt-out town of Lytton.

Sports city

Vancouver was supposed to host its first Formula E race around Eastern False Creek on July 2. It has been canceled and, for now, will not take place in 2023 either. But the “dance card” looks pretty full. The Laver Cup tennis tournament will take place in 2023 and there will likely be a Gray Cup week in 2024. Prince Harry’s Invictus Games will be co-hosted by Vancouver and Whistler in 2025 and Vancouver is one of 16 host cities for World Cup matches in 2026. .

Game Misconduct

After a disappointing end to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, athletes demanded change at the top of Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton (COC)

The Canadian sport system experienced a boom after Vancouver 2010, where the men’s hockey team won the 14th and final gold medal in spectacular fashion. Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, Gymnastics Canada and Canadian Soccer Association athletes have since spoken out about abuse and governance issues. The biggest scandal involves the nation’s flagship, Hockey Canada, which has settled a woman who sued for $3.5 million after an alleged sexual assault by members of the 2018 National Junior Team. organization with a secret account for misconduct complaints has had its federal funding frozen and faces an NHL audit and investigation. Sponsors Canadian Tire, Esso, Scotiabank, Telus and Tim Hortons have requested a time out.

Where is the 2010 bill?

The total all-inclusive cost of building and hosting the 2010 Games has been estimated at $8 billion. The largest operational item was RCMP-led security at nearly $1 billion. City taxpayers spent $554.3 million, not including the $1.1 billion Olympic Village bailout, which was eventually repaid in 2014. BC’s Auditor General did not perform post-Games audit and the 2010 organizing committee, known as VANOC, was not governed by the Freedom of Information Act. VANOC has moved its board minutes and financial records to the City of Vancouver Archives under a contract that says you can’t see them until fall 2025 – more than two years after the IOC wanted to name the host of 2030.

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