Ottawa, Quebec work to secure Montreal's anti-doping headquarters
Christine St-Pierre, Marc Garneau head to Paris to meet with IOC officials
Officials from both the federal and Quebec government are heading to Paris this weekend in an effort to ensure the World Anti-Doping Agency stays in Montreal.
Quebec International Relations Minister Christine St-Pierre and federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau are part of a delegation who will meet with European officials.
WADA is committed to staying in the city until at least 2021. There is speculation, however, that at that point the office could move to Europe, closer to the International Olympic Committee, which is based in Switzerland.
Marc Roy, Garneau's spokesperson, confirmed in an email Friday that he will make the trip to meet with officials on Sunday to "make the case for Montreal."
WADA's executive committee is slated to meet Sunday in Paris.
WADA was established in Montreal in 1999 with the help of Dick Pound, a former Canadian Olympic swimmer and the agency's first president.
Agency has downplayed potential move
The stated goal of the organization is to "preserve the integrity of sport and uphold the values of fair play." It has a staff of 74 in Montreal and 88 worldwide.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has repeatedly expressed concern about the potential of losing WADA.
On Friday, Coderre said he won't be able to make the trip to Paris himself, due to the launch of the municipal election, but stressed it's crucial to keep the office in the city.
Olivier Niggli, WADA's Director General, told Radio-Canada last March that there were no plans "moving the headquarters of the agency."
"Nothing is official about our situation after 2021, but reports about a move after that date are pure speculation," WADA spokesperson Ben Nichols said at the time.
With files from The Canadian Press