July 11, 2015

Toronto Pan Am 2015: Lack of Oversight or Corruption?

There are many valid negative opinions being expressed over the handling of the Toronto Pan Am games that only began yesterday. Whether the discussions are about the handling of traffic congestion and the HOV lanes, the final estimated costs or the confusing and contradictory advertising, there doesn't seem to be a lot of public excitement for the event. Worse yet, these are manageable issues that seem to have little oversight or leadership involved.

However, there is now some whispering that behind the scene there are questionable practices happening. As one story was relayed there is a lack of oversight on how money is being spent on the ground. More specifically in one region approval was given to purchase four bar fridges to be used by outdoor security areas to store bottled water. An estimate for the four fridges was presented by a member involved with security for a total cost of $800. This estimate was dismissed and the member was explicitly told they had to purchase the four fridges from a specific vendor at a cost of $2400. Arguing the point that that was three times more than their own estimate only got a rebuttal that the member must purchase the fridges from that specific vendor and must spend $2400.

This story may seem small considering that the games' cost is well into the billions of dollars. However, given all the other issues which seem to indicate a lack of oversight, how can anyone be certain that this isn't just one symptom of many? Recent history has shown that other international sporting events and their relative organizers are ripe with corruption. The IOC and FIFA may be massive in comparison with PASO but that doesn't mean it isn't just as corrupt.

Maybe. MAYBE. This has something to do with contractual obligations and it's an issue with providing exclusive supplier contracts. Yet, even in that event isn't it concerning that a supplier would be able to charge three times the normal cost of an item and no one with power is willing to question it? Isn't that in itself a form of corruption; handing out exclusive contracts that force unreasonable costs to incurred?

While the games itself should be concerning to the public for a whole host of reasons, this is an issue that needs to be looked at. Even if it was done as a one-off occurrence, it should still be looked into. Somehow I doubt that is the case as these type of things are often just on the surface of bigger issues whether it be as simple as a person or people taking advantage of the lack in oversight or something much worse.

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)