Expo 2017 bid fizzles

EDMONTON — The federal government will not support Edmonton’s bid to host the world fair in 2017, prompting a stinging rebuke from the mayor, who charged the Tories are taking his city’s electoral support for granted.

EDMONTON — The federal government will not support Edmonton’s bid to host the world fair in 2017, prompting a stinging rebuke from the mayor, who charged the Tories are taking his city’s electoral support for granted.

Federal Heritage Minister James Moore rejected the funding request in a letter to Mayor Stephen Mandel made public Monday.

Moore noted that the $706 million the city wanted from Ottawa didn’t take the full cost of security into account and the true price tag to the federal government could easily have eclipsed $1 billion.

“That is a financial risk we are not prepared to take at this time,” Moore wrote. “Particularly given our government’s most recent budget, where we committed to ’aggressively review all spending to ensure value for money’ with a goal of eliminating the federal deficit by 2015.”

Estimates had pegged the total cost of Expo 2017 at $2.3 billion.

Alberta was supporting Edmonton’s bid. Last week Premier Ed Stelmach said it is in the best interests of Canada to hold the fair in Edmonton and called on Ottawa to give an answer either way so that the city was not left hanging.

The province and the city had agreed that the bid plan would probably fizzle without federal support.

Mandel was incredulous Monday and took aim at Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose, the member of the federal cabinet from Edmonton.

“This decision is frankly wrong and extremely shortsighted,” the mayor said in a statement posted on the city’s Expo 2017 website. “What today communicates is not a failing of a team or of this city or province but simply that this government has no interest in being a federal partner in our ambitions — it is absolutely clear than when it comes to Edmonton’s growth and ambition Ottawa is simply not interested and our own minister has failed us completely here.”

Mandel noted the only immediate federal commitment needed was $10 million to help with costs of the bid. He also pointed out that it was Ottawa who encouraged the bid in the first place. The expo would have fallen in the year Canada turns 150.

“This is a government that has far too easily ignored the needs and aspirations of this province, indicating instead that we are not the political priority,” the mayor’s statement read. “I get it — taking electoral success for granted here has become a habit.”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation praised Ottawa’s decision.

“Citizens of Edmonton and the province of Alberta should be thanking the federal government showing leadership and saying no to a three-month party when governments at all levels are running deficits,” said Alberta director Scott Hennig.

“The federal government is running up debt at a rate of $124 million per day, to say yes to helping fund a $2-$3 billion party would have been reckless.”

The Tories won all but one of Alberta’s 28 seats in the last election. The lone non-Conservative is NDP Linda Duncan, who holds an Edmonton riding.

“Having encouraged cities to put in bids, it is completely unfair that they would not follow up with federal support,” Duncan said in a statement.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nearly five per cent of Alberta businesses did not survive the first 10 months of the pandemic. (Black Press File photo).
Nearly 5% of Alberta businesses closed during 2020 pandemic

Will more closures happen before it’s over?

Red Deer Rebels forward Arshdeep Bains eyes a loose puck in front of the Medicine Hat Tigers net Saturday night in WHL action at the Centrium. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels fall short in 12th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 (Saturday) Tigers 3 Rebels 2 (Monday) The Red… Continue reading

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. announces signage along Alberta border to discourage non-essential travel

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Red Deer property owners will receive their 2019 property assessment notices in the next few days.  (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer awaiting more details on how federal budget impacts city

The City of Red Deer is awaiting more information on how much… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Letters
Letter: Restrictions have nothing to do with religion

Many have framed the closure of GraceLife Church near Edmonton by Alberta… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: Thanking volunteers in Red Deer

National Volunteer Week is April 18 to 24. At the Canadian Cancer… Continue reading

Letter to the editor
Letter: Good on MLAs for speaking out

This is a letter in regard to MLAs not standing united behind… Continue reading

Treena Mielke
Family: Happiness can be found in many ways

I’ve heard it said that necessity is the mother of invention. I… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators' Connor Brown, right, scores on Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during second-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Alta., Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Connor Brown scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 4-2 win over Calgary Flames

Connor Brown scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 4-2 win over Calgary Flames

Canada head coach Bev Priestman reacts during the women's international friendly soccer match between England and Canada at Bet365 stadium in Stoke on Trent, England, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Priestman says her goal is to help Canada move up the Olympic podium after back-to-back bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Games. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rui Vieira
Olympic soccer draw will allow Canadians to start planning on and off the pitch

Olympic soccer draw will allow Canadians to start planning on and off the pitch

Federal government’s extension of CEWS in budget is some good news for CFL franchises

Federal government’s extension of CEWS in budget is some good news for CFL franchises

Canada's Brendan Bottcher dropped a 6-3 decision to Scotland's Bruce Mouat in the men's final of the Humpty's Champions Cup. Bottcher makes a shot against Scotland at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Friday, April 9, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Mixed results for Canadian teams at Champions Cup as Homan wins, Bottcher loses

Mixed results for Canadian teams at Champions Cup as Homan wins, Bottcher loses

Most Read