Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
New Stadium - Walk On, Fear the Boot
The stadium was approved by council using a method that the mayor says he disagrees with: the walk on. The vote ultimately was 14-2.
It is most likely that if the details of the price of this stadium were revealed before the election, that there might have been a lot more pressure on councillors to balk. Instead we have the traditional rush through council with the inevitable threats that things will only get more expensive if the decision is out off even one day.
The province is on the hook for the bulk of money. Some NDP supporters will say that this money well spent. Then problem is that there are a lot of these brilliant spending initiatives and few ones where the government is showing restraint. The city and province have limits to their liability. The province has none. There is no end to how much they are willing to spend.
The next provincial election will likely focus on fiscal responsibility. A big deficit and some huge projects and promises is going to give a number of people the jitters especially if interest rates are rising. The provincial NDP should fear the boot. Greg Selinger is showing little restraint and no matter how many times we hear that we need these projects, the question of how to control spending will not go away. So many worthy causes, none worth cutting leads to unimaginable deficits.
As far as city councillors and the mayor go, they should fear the nightmare at Polo Park from their development plans and realize it is likely to cost them a lot more to fix traffic problems than they think. Fear the boot. Sam Katz should be particularly ashamed by the last minute walk on for a critical vote.
To the federal Conservative government who made everyone dance to their tune by not approving any plan except one that put the stadium in a federal seat represented by their party, hope that no one notices just how bad the deficit is come election time next year. Fear the boot.