I don’t know what planet Mayor Stephen Mandel of Edmonton lives on, but in his world there is apparently no global recession.
A few hundred million from the feds would have launched his Expo 2017 dream — and I agree it would have been nice, but something drastically changed between three years ago when the feds suggested Edmonton put in a bid and now.
Global recession is the first thing.
Billions and trillions of dollars are being loaned and printed and magically created out of thin air in an effort to maintain some kind of viable economies in the world’s democracies.
The alternative is a Great Depression like the 1930s, where people were happy to earn $5 a month or would shovel crap all day on the promise of a hot meal at the end.
Alberta is doing OK, actually — so we don’t really feel the terrible threat of staggering unemployment. A recent item I read indicated that something like 42 million people in the U.S. are on food stamps; in some places, foreclosed houses are being given to the poor to live in, so that someone will keep the places up and save them from random vandalism.
This is happening just over the border from us.
In fact, we are the ones who are supporting the U.S. economy at the moment with the oilsands. According to a power point on the CAPP website, much of the equipment for developing the oilsands comes from the U.S., employing millions of people there. Without that income-earning manufacturing, along with the stable supply of bitumen from here, the U.S. would be in worse shape.
Part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government’s stated reason for not funding Edmonton’s Expo was security. There’s no doubt that trying to provide security for a year-long Expo, situated so close to refinery row and the oilsands, would be an invitation that would delight every global green or black anarchist or terrorist.
When I look at the Shanghai 2010 Expo site, they boast 78 million visitors to date. Admittedly many are from China and it is unlikely we would have the same volume of traffic here — but even a 10th of that would be a tremendous strain on the possible security team that Canada could assemble.
First, there would be all the venues to patrol — then all the outside high-risk areas. The stacks at refinery row could attract illegal rappellers like moths to a flame. They are highly accessible; an open invitation for determined anarchists or terrorists — the area is unpatrollable.
Security tab? Take the Vancouver Olympics security bill and multiply it by 12 months, or the G-20 security budget and multiply it by 360.
In terms of risk versus opportunity, there’s no contest in my mind. Huge risk. Big expense. Nominal return.
Global attitudes toward environmentalism, anarchy and terrorism have changed dramatically in the past three years, too. Environmentalists, like the 10:10 org out of Britain, have created video clips where they blow up those who don’t agree with theories of human-caused global warming (http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/tag/1010/).
The Tides group out of the U.S. has a lot of money and is undermining democratic processes in this country through funding a myriad of environmental groups (http://www.nationalpost.com).
And we keep discovering homegrown terrorists in our midst who are intent on destroying what so many of us have worked hard to create: Canada, a modern, vibrant country.
The edge of the environmental movement has grown violent and fascist now, where once it was Birkenstocks, bikes and backyard gardens.
The entire population of Canada would not be sufficient security for such an event, over such a long time, in an area where oilsands and refinery processes are already a hyperbolic target of global self-righteousness (calling it ridiculous names like the ‘most destructive project on the planet’. . . yeah right). Let’s see what the oilsands really looks like from outer space: http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEM340NKPZD_index_0.html. Compared to Europe, the U.S. and Asia, it looks pretty good to me.
Kudos to the Harper government for having common sense and saving us an Expo-nential bundle in taxes, possibly saving a lot of lives and certainly a lot of headaches.
Besides, we haven’t finished paying for Vancouver 2010 yet have we? Or Expo 67?
Michelle Stirling-Anosh is a freelance writer from Ponoka.