Saturday, October 28, 2006

No Fair?

The World's Fair isn't the big show that it used to be, back in the day when man still believed that scientific and technical progress held all the answers to improving his lot, and when showcasing the world's wonders could be done without pandering to all manner of political sensitivities.

But in its quest to become the World Class City (tm) that Toronto feels it has to be, hosting one can't hurt, either.

Which is why the city fathers are panicking over the possibility that it won't go ahead in 2015, because Queen's Park won't pick up the bill:

Senior bureaucrats representing the city, province and Ottawa met yesterday with Expo officials to talk about how the bid could be paid for. Meanwhile, Toronto bid backers were discouraged last night to hear that Milan has entered the race for the 2015 Expo. Toronto's only declared competition for the fair prior to yesterday was Izmir, Turkey. But Toronto Councillor Brian Ashton, the city's chief Expo cheerleader, said last night that Milan jumped in after hearing of the squabbles that have wounded Toronto's bid.

After a day of intense negotiations by senior officials from Ottawa, Queen's Park and the City of Toronto, some officials said they felt they had made progress on the issue of who will financially backstop a Toronto bid. But you wouldn't have known it to hear Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara yesterday.

Speaking yesterday to the Star's editorial board, Sorbara said the province could post deficits of $5.1 billion over the next three years and that means Ontario can't guarantee Expo against deficits and overruns.

And thus Expo 2015 will disappear, along with the 2000 and 2008 Olympic bids.

So much the worse for the city's self-esteem, but so much the better for the taxpayer.

Source: Toronto Star

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