For the first time in my life, I can say that I support Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
This is by no means a universal endorsement, just a simple show of support for what could have been a good idea, struck down prematurely by Canada’s idiotic federal government.
Avowed Harperite and Heritage Minister-in-absentia James Moore, seen here in his pre-government days as a Southern Revivalist preacher, decided to kill two birds with the single proverbial stone. Rob Ford’s dream for a universal exposition in Toronto in 2025 is apparently over. And it isn’t even his fault.
And how you may ask? By cutting funding to the program? By refusing to partner with the city and province? No. By refusing to pay the $30,000 annual membership fee to the Bureau Internationale des Expositions. That’s right. The annual salary of a basic labourer is all it costs to be part of a prestigious international organization that plans and executes mass demonstrations of humanity’s greatest potential. It’s too expensive for Canada, despite Harper’s insistence our economy is robust. The organization that brought Vancouver and Montréal into near instantaneous global significance is not one we can afford to be a part of anymore, despite record-breaking national and individual wealth.
And Moore’s our heritage minister.
You likely won’t be surprised to find out that Canada hasn’t participated much in international expositions since Harper took power. Though we had a minor presence at the 2010 Shanghai Expo, we were absent from Zaragoza 2008, Yeosu 2012 (both environmentally-themed) and won’t be attending Milan 2015 either. How could we? We haven’t paid our dues.
You know who did? Kazakhstan, a leading candidate for 2017 (Astana has bid for a future energy systems expo).
Edmonton wanted to host the 2017 expo, and likely could have won given the city and province’s wealth, wide open spaces ripe for development, and the fact that we’d be celebrating the nation’s sesquicentennial, in addition to Expo 67’s 50th anniversary. But no, no, no time for all that. Harper needs to cut back on ‘frivolous government waste’.
Why is it that culture and an academically-correct, non-political national heritage always seem to be the first to get the axe?
Perhaps it’s because $30,000 can buy one two-hundredth of a tank?
Now to be fair it doesn’t seem as though planning had advanced much on Expo 2025, though it was apparently a big deal for Mr. Ford. Perhaps he visited Expo 86 in Vancouver when he was younger and it left an impression, perhaps he has a secret fascination with Expo 67 and wishes to be his city’s Drapeau. Who knows? All I know is that, if done right, a universal exposition could have been immensely beneficial for the city of Toronto, and Rob Ford clearly knows this too. If the economic gain, via increased tourism and deals signed at the fair, was even half as much as it was for Montréal, it would guarantee at least a decade of economic development post-2025, maybe more. Expo 67 and Expo 86 were both successful primarily because they left legacies, gave the respective city’s an air of worldly sophistication, significance, saw massive infrastructure and urban development. Business was done, and the people profited in the long term. They were moments of national importance, and helped bring this country together while bringing it out onto the world stage.
Harper and his Tories think all this is mere frivolity, ultimately worthless. They can’t see the gains, the long-term benefits, the potential. I don’t know what Ford was planning, but I sure as hell am glad at least he saw the potential of major event of this calibre. You can imagine I want another Expo here in Montréal, and if I were mayor I’d do whatever had to be done to fix this embarrassing decision, up to and including paying the fee myself.
Can Harper and Moore not see how this could benefit the nation’s biggest city, in its biggest province, and one of their staunchest supporters? There was no definite commitment necessary, and the amount is so minute compared to what the government is willing to spend on G8 summits and bombing runs out in Libya. What’s the deal?
I fear there may be darker issues at play, as of course it is well known the Harper clique has been busy rebranding Canada along the fabricated notions we’re a ‘warrior society’. We’re no such thing, it’s a ridiculous farce, but it strokes the short and curly egos of the Nickleback Douchebag caliphate now officially deemed the standard of Canadian identity. It’s sick and twisted. It’s patently false – such as the over-glamourized and anachronistic depictions of a chesty and youthful Laura Secord in those god-awful 1812 infomercials. They ignore our Charter and Constitution, the significance of Confederation, the creation story of a profoundly Métis society, all to finance more guns and ammo, be it on the battlefield or in history books. The Charter, Expo, the Canadian Museum of Civilization – it’s all about our place as a sovereign nation in the world.
James Moore and Stephen Harper believe we’re just a colony, subservient to a foreign monarch that supposedly reigns supreme by the grace of god.
I don’t know what more proof we need Harper and the CPC is not just bad for business, but bad for Canada as well, and I’m curious to see Ford’s reaction. How is it that Harper and his cronies are still in power after all the scandals, cost-overruns, unpopular decisions and cynical political posturing is quite beyond me. We’re either the most patient people in the world or we’re god-damned fools.