Re: Draft speech
To: International Olympic Committee technical evaluation commission
ladies and gentlemen of the ioc, welcome to the greatest city in the world.
Before I begin, I want to send best wishes to your president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, who I understand also can't retire fast enough.
But seriously, after a couple of days in our vibrant, multicultural city, I'm sure you'll agree Toronto is ready to host the world.
Take it from me, except for a few wackos like that dingbat city councillor Michael Walker or those bleeding-heart activists who are always going on about open and democratic process, blah, blah, blah, everybody in Toronto loves the Olympics.
When I talk to the ordinary citizens in my office or at the Toronto Star editorial board, they say, "Curly, go get the rings. Enough kvetching about libraries, public transit and shelter beds for the homeless." Spring's almost here anyway, and they can go camp out. But not in the parks, OK? Fantino would have a cow.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. I desperately want the Olympics. Nothing is more important -- for my political legacy or even this city.
Look, without the Olympics there will be no fantasy waterfront development. No new public transit. No affordable housing. No Curly.
You may have heard that Toronto is skirting bankruptcy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, those bastards -- excuse me -- up at Queen's Park stole our money. They stole it! I shouldn't say any more. When I mouth off, Harris gets pissed and doesn't return my calls.
But look, Harris can just pay for the whole damn Olympic ticket himself if he wants. And if the province tries to download the cost overruns from the Games back onto the city, they can come down to my West Palm Beach condo and kiss my tanned fanny.
But enough technical detail.
I know the lakefront doesn't look like much now, but we're going to build the best Olympic stadium ever. Honestly, we may not be Beijing or Paris, but when it comes to overspending taxpayers' money on lavish stadiums, frankly, we beat the pants off those commies. You can bank on it.
We're also going to build the best athletes' village ever.
Normally, we can't find a dime for affordable housing, but I guarantee that for three weeks in 2008 the athletes will have the swankiest digs on the planet.
Look, I'm on my knees here. I didn't even get on my knees for the pope, and he's booked 2 million Catholics for 2002. Hallelujah!
Toronto begs you. I beg you. I, we, need the Olympics.
Damn it, if Salt Lake City hadn't ruined it for everybody, we could really demonstrate the depths of our sincerity.
Come to think of it, with the headaches my extramarital exploits have caused lately, sometimes I wish I were a Mormon.
Oh, well, please know our hearts are in the right place. And maybe I can pull a few rabbits out of my hat, sleeve, weave -- whatever -- before you go.
Marilyn and I enjoyed meeting you on our Sydney junket last fall.
If you didn't get a moose key chain, call Jim Warren in my office and he'll take care of it.
Thank you. See you in 2008. *
no play for games foe
Sometimes being a loudmouth can be lonely. Lefties on council weren't exactly lining up this week to second city councillor Michael Walker's motion to scrap the Olympic bid.
The lone Olympic opponent on council was working behind the scenes in vain to find a single councillor to back his call to "abandon the bid" and "direct all energies to managing the current (budget) crisis and maintaining the city's social structure."
Walker says this was a perfect opportunity for future lefty mayoral contenders like David Miller and Michael Prue to show that they have an alternative vision of the city.
"They're all afraid to do it," says Walker of his colleagues.
Progressive councillors were brought onside last year by assurances that there will be some affordable housing at the end of the Olympic circus.
critics wait for IOC Meet
So far, Bread Not Circuses has no demonstrations planned for the IOC evaluation crew's visit. That's largely due to the fact that the Toronto bid committee has tentatively slotted the anti-Olympics group in for a face-to-face with the IOC reps on Friday (March 9) at 1:30 pm. (At press time, the meeting location had not yet been set, and it was unclear whether it would be open to the media or the public.)
Olympic opponents say they intend to address the city's homelessness crisis, the chronic shortage of affordable housing, the exorbitant cost of the Olympics to cities, and the lack of accountability and public participation in Toronto's current bid.
Says Bread Not Circuses steering committee member Jon Alexander, "At some point we'll have to say, "Look, if you guys try to bring the Games to town, you're in for a fight.'"