Friday, November 14, 2008

Charest Makes Olympic-Sized Pitch

Charest pledges to bring Winter Olympics to Quebec City

In a bid to round up support for his party in Quebec City, Premier Jean Charest has pledged to help the city put together a successful bid for a future Winter Olympics.

"It's just common sense," Charest said of his "build it and they will come" approach.

The announcement comes coupled with $124 million in new spending in Quebec City, including $50 million towards a new hockey arena. He also wants to upgrade the Le Massif ski centre and improve the Gaetan Boucher speedskating ring.

To a certain extent, Charest's approach makes a lot of sense. Building facilities ahead of time would help prevent last-minute rushes to try to finish them on time -- something that has proven all too typical of far too many recent Olympics.

But at the same time, this pledge makes for deeply fickle politics -- fickle politics that Canadians have seen before.

Many Canadians likely still remember Manitoba Progressive Conservative leader Hugh McFadyen's promises to bring NHL hockey back to Winnipeg. It didn't work for McFadyen, and it's unlikely that Charest's Olympic gambit will win him any more seats in the Quebec City area.

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