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No federal support for Edmonton's bid to host Expo
Published Monday, November 22, 2010 6:41PM MST
Mayor Stephen Mandel is livid after learning the federal government will not support Edmonton's bid to host the 2017 World Expo.
Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore informed Mandel that the federal government will not financially support the city's bid to host the World Fair. Moore told CTV the decision was based upon unknown future costs of security.
The minister noted the $706 million Edmonton had asked for didn't take everything into account and the final cost to Ottawa could have totalled $1 billion, a risk the federal government wasn't prepared to take at this point.
"We know from the G8 and G20 summit, and from the Vancouver Olympics, that security for this event would be hundreds of millions of dollars and this is just too expensive and it's too much of a financial risk for taxpayers -- and so we're not gonna go forward with the bid," said Moore.
Mandel was quick to express his fury over the decision as he stood before Edmonton media Monday afternoon.
"I've never been as mad at anything...just so disappointed at the lack of vision at the government. This was something seven years down the road that was a game-changer for our city, our province," said Mandel.
Mandel has placed the blame for the failed support on area MP Rona Ambrose.
"It's her fault, her responsibility. Every single MP I talked to said, 'if your minister wants this, it will happen'. Didn't happen," said Mandel.
Just last week, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach said he believed it is in the best interest of Canada to hold the fair here in Edmonton.
The federal government said they wouldn't have supported an Expo bid from any Canadian city even though they have pledged to back the Toronto-Hamilton bid for the Pan American Games, which is estimated to cost $2.4 billion.
"It seems the fiscal responsibility of the federal government only applies when it comes to Western Canada," said Mandel.
Mandel had previously said that without federal support, the city's chance to place a bid will fizzle.
The mayor said Ottawa is turning down billions in economic impact for our country.
"This is a tremendous loss of a unique opportunity not just for Edmonton. It really is for Alberta and mostly for Canada."
CTV News was told the city has already spent about $3 million preparing the bid.
With files from Bill Fortier
Mayor Stephen Mandel addresses the media on Nov. 22, 2010.