One month after the province nixed plans for a potential 2030 Olympic bid, leaders from the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees are urging British Columbia’s government to keep a flicker of hope alive, especially as questions have emerged around the province’s new Major Events MRDT tool.
Bid proponents sent an open letter addressed to B.C.’s elected officials on Monday, Nov. 21 inviting the province and new Premier David Eby to reconsider and “sit down with all parties and fully explore the potential of this project–together.”
Minister of Tourism, Sport and Culture Lisa Beare’s Oct. 27 announcement that the province would not support efforts to bring the Winter Olympics back to Canada’s West Coast came nearly one year after the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) joined forces with the Lilwat7úl (Lil’wat), xwm 0kw y’m (Musqueam), Sk_wx_wú7mes (Squamish) and s l´ilw´tal (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, alongside the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the City of Vancouver, to explore the feasibility of an Indigenous-led bid to host the 2030 Games.
The letter signed by COC president Tricia Smith and CPC president Marc-André Fabien said the decision took bid proponents by “surprise.”
Considering “the feasibility work completed and a draft proposal submitted, we expected the next step to be a face-to-face meeting with all parties to discuss the costs and benefits, priorities, and possibilities,” it read. “The B.C. government has not yet given any of the parties, despite attempts by us and the Nations, an opportunity to have this discussion.”
In a statement issued Nov. 15, prior to the letter’s release, Lil’wat Nation Chief Dean Nelson told Pique his initial reaction to the province’s refusal of support for a First Nations-led Olympic bid “was one of realization that this is where we are in our relations.”
In Nelson’s view, “there was very little dialogue between the Provincial government and the Four Host Nations about the Olympic bid.” The lack of meaningful discussions with the province prompted Nelson to wonder if there was ever “any intent on entertaining the concept” of an Indigenous-led Games, he continued.
“I felt that if the Province was serious about the relationship there would have been a greater effort and availability to meet right from the beginning. I stated in the beginning of the Olympic talks that we will see where First Nations stand at the end when the decision is made,” said Nelson. “I felt that we could have had clear communication and an even better process of inclusive talks with First Nations and the Provincial government, and all parties included. The legacy could have been one of opportunity for at least one First Nation youth to experience taking part and as a witness from the Lil’wat Nation as one of the Four Host Nations.”
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