The federal government announced yesterday that it will not to provide an estimated $700 million to support Edmonton’s bid for the 2017 Expo. Many people saw this bid as an opportunity to invest more federal and provincial funding for transportation and public infrastructure in Edmonton.
In response, Mayor Stephen Mandel was livid when delivering a speech lambasting the federal government for taking Edmonton for granted. Mayor Mandel also singled out Edmonton-Spruce Grove MP and Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose, accusing her of not supporting the bid.
But as much as Alberta could see the potential, our Federal partner is not there. Our own Minister Ambrose completely failed to stand up for this City and Province. And in the end, her lack of support cost us this opportunity.
I stand somewhat incredulous at this result.
This is a Government that has far too easily ignored the needs and aspirations of this Province, indicating instead that we are not the political priority.
And I get it – taking electoral success for granted here has become a habit.
I have a lot of respect for many of the people involved in the bid to host the 2017 Expo and I understand why they would be angry about the denial of federal funding, but I have to admit that I have remained very indifferent towards the project. While it would have been great to have the extra infusion of infrastructure funding, I have been skeptical why it needed to be camouflaged under the guise of a mega-event.
Also, as furious as Mayor Mandel may be, I have a difficult time believing that the death of Edmonton’s 2017 Expo bid will be a catalyst for a major change in Edmonton’s representation in the House of Commons.