Campbell government is pulling figures out of the air when
it comes to quantifying the economic benefits of the 2010
games. The studies involve very long time spans, too long
to be relevant as an economic stimulus for the current recession.
The people who will feel the immediate economic consequences
of the games are those who are being laid off, have yet to
be laid off and who won't be able to get to work due to traffic
and security. Everyone in the Lower Mainland won't have tickets
to Olympic events, but everyone will have their lives disrupted
- some much more so than others.
Leader Carole James blasted the Campbell government for abandoning
workers who are facing layoff because their place of employment
is within security zones. Employees
at the Hastings Park have been told they will be laid
off. Under fire in question period Hansen showed no sympathy
for those 200 workers. He stuck to an irrelevant, misleading
and false song-sheet saying: "When you consider the $10
billion worth of economic activity that will come as a result
of us hosting the games, that's going to produce tax revenue
to British Columbia."
took until February 19, 2009 before the government provided
a more realistic estimate of Olympic
Security costs, but if you believe Finance Minister Colin
Hansen, no one yet knows how many people will be laid off
for a month because of the security plan. Could it be that
they are still working on the plan and therefore neither the
employment impact nor the costs are really known?
2002 no one could have imagined that in 2009 the world would
be in what the World
Bank describes as the worst economic decline since the Great
was January 2002 when what was then called the Ministry of
Competition, Science and Enterprise completed a study on the
economic impact of the 2010 Winter Olympic games. In November
2002 the Campbell government released a study by InterVISTAS
Consulting Inc which updated the economic impact analysis.
Seven years later the Campbell government is still using those
estimates despite worldwide economic crisis.
Minister Colin Hansen has promised an updated economic impact
study before the election, but in an interview with Public
Eye Online's Sean Holman, he said he doesn't think the
economic downturn will reduce the benefits from the games.
InterVISTAS study appears to have been removed from the government
website, but those of us who saved it know that it is a big
stretch to claim $10 billion in benefits from the games. The
economic impact studies originally created three scenarios:
low with 933,838 Olympic induced visits between 2007 and 2014,
moderate with 1,908,389 Olympic induced visits between 2002
and 2015 and high with 3,658,347 Olympic induced visits between
2002 and 2020. Note how both the time span and optimism increased
between the low and high scenario. Also note how they managed
to assume increased visitors down to the last 347 people.
update increased the visitor assumptions to 1,054,851 over
the 7 year period in the low scenario to 4,292,300 over the
18 year period in the high scenario. The high impact scenario
attributed $5.8 billion to the direct, indirect and induced
benefits of the Games over the 14 year period from 2002 to
2020. The difference between that and the $10 billion figure
($10.7 billion in the updated study) is due to the projected
long run benefits from the Convention Centre Expansion. That
was before anyone knew about the cost overruns on the Convention
Centre. Who can say whether the long run forecasts for the
Convention Centre and Olympic tourism generated through to
2020 are anywhere close to accurate? When Hansen and Campbell
talk about $10 billion in benefits, remember they are counting
everything but the kitchen sink between now and 2020 for the
games and beyond for the Convention Centre. Watch for the
next update to count the sink!