Inside Politics

Tories set to spend $380 million on 2015 Pan Am Games

Thanks to New Democrat MP Matthew Dube, we now have a better idea of just how much the federal government is prepared to spend on the 2015 Pan American Parapan Games.

Earlier this fall, Dube submitted the following written question to the Commons order paper:

With regard to the funds allocated by the government for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, and the 2012-2016 Host Program Contribution Agreement between Canadian Heritage (Sport Canada) and the Organizing Committee of the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games: (a) how much has been allocated to all the sports venues, including but not limited to the CIBC Athletes' Village, the CIBC Pan Am and Parapan Am Games Athletics Centre and Field House, the Markham Pan Am and Parapan Am Centre, the Welland Flatwater Centre, the Caledon Equestrian Park, and the Hamilton Soccer Stadium; (b) what are the specific details of the amounts allocated to construct new sports infrastructures and those allocated to renovate existing sports infrastructures; (c) for each of the capital projects (especially the sites for test events, training, competitions and support services), what are the specifics of all the interim quarterly activity/results reports describing the status of each project as stipulated in Annex E, Interim and Final Results Reporting Requirements, of the 2012-2016 Hosting Program Contribution Agreement; and (d) the amount allocated to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Contribution Agreement related to official languages and related services provided by the government for the Games?

This week, he got his response, which puts the total federal tab for the upcoming games -- including construction of new venues, renovations to existing facilities and miscellaneous expenses -- at just over $380 million. 

That's a relatively modest figure compared to what the Ontario government is prepared to shell out, which could end up hitting $2.5 billion, more than $700 million of which is expected to go towards housing for athletes.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Ontario sports minister Michael Chan points out that the budget -- which at the moment, is actually $1.4 billion, according to the government -- includes not just the combined federal and provincial contribution, but also "host municipalities and universities," and is not "the sole funding responsibility of the province"

(In fact, the price tag for the not yet constructed but already controversial CIBC Athletes Village is conspicuously absent from the running federal tall; the response notes that it won't be getting one red cent in financial support from Ottawa.)

Unfortunately for Dube, the "specifics" of the mandatory quarterly status reports on all those projects weren't included in the response, as that information is, apparently, "not public," although in theory, at least, those restrictions shouldn't automatically apply to parliamentary questions.

In any case, not surprisingly, the bulk of the federal contribution -- just over $333 million - is earmarked for infrastructure, with just $50 million set aside for"essential federal services," including $16 million for the Canadian Border Services Agency and Citizen and Immigration Canada, $10 million to Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada and just over $7 million to be divvied up amongst the RCMP, CSIS and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

Finally, the response notes that responsibility for "Official Languages obligations" falls under Ontario's jurisdiction, but notes that the feds will be "monitoring" all Games-related activities, including "venue announcements," to ensure compliance with the law.

Here's the full response, which was tabled in the House yesterday: 

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