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Son of Just trust us, we're from the government

So we, the Nova Scotia taxpayers, should not hold our breaths expecting to find out how much hosting the Commonwealth Games is likely to cost us because, get this, it will only embolden our enemy.

Yes, you read that right.

Last week in city hall we had our councillors bowing in deference and trust before the expertise and good-heartedness of the bid committee telling us that we have to just trust these fine people with what will likely be hundreds of millions of our dollars. Then yesterday, facing questions about the potential financial costs from NDP MLA Maureen MacDonald, Health Promotion Minister Barry Barnet responded thusly:

What I fail to understand is why it is that we need to focus on issues that will actually weaken our position. And I really believe that if we provide too much information to our competition, it will weaken our position.
Do the people in government actually think that the cost of hosting the games is going to affect the bidding from the other two countries? Is the bid committee simply going to look at how much each group is going to spend and pick the shiniest number? (With the list of perks that the Commonwealth Games Federation demands, I wouldn't be all that surprised if this was at least partly true, actually.)

What is being asked for is a guestimate of the actual cost of hosting the Games to the taxpayers of Canada, Nova Scotia, and Halifax, not a breakdown of where that money is being spent and what facilities will be constructed. I understand that a detailed list of facilities provided could affect competing bid preparation, but that is not what is being asked for.

Unless of course, the Games backers are worried that the number itself is so high that it is not sustainable in a province that is as badly in debt as this one. If that is the case, then perhaps the bid would be at risk not to defeat by competing countries, but by a taxpayer revolt here. That would indeed put the onus on the provincial and municipal governments, not to mention the bid committee, to get out and sell the process to us, the people that are actually going to pay for it.

We the taxpayers should be able to weigh the likely costs with the potential benefit in an open debate on the topic. If the risk is worth it, it is up to us, not the government to make that decision.

Oh, and we wouldn't want that now, would we?

[Edited for typos]

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