IN THE NEWS ~ Burnaby MP wants funding for local Games

Burnaby MP wants funding for local Games

Christina Myers
Burnaby Now

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Burnaby-New Westminter MP Peter Julian says he's baffled as to why his efforts to get additional federal funding for the 2009 World Police and Fire Games have been met with silence.

Julian brought a motion to the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday, calling on the government to match the funding it has provided to previous World Police and Fire Games.

But, he says, it was denied unanimous consent by Conservative house leader Jay Hill, which prevented additional debate or discussion on it.

"There's been a real push-back, a real refusal from the Conservatives to provide funding," he said.

"I think it's appalling. I don't get it, and I don't think the Games organizers get it. There is just no reason why the federal government would deny the funding."

Julian said past Games have received an average of $1.5 million in federal funding. The last Police and Fire Games, held in Quebec City in 2005, was given $1.7 million.

"This is the kind of thing that, if you put it to a referendum, you'd get 97 or 98 per cent support for it. It's a small amount of money, but it has important ramifications."

The Games, set to run in Burnaby from July 31 to Aug. 29, are expected to draw 14,000 athletes and visitors from around the world. In all, 26 events are scheduled, all to be held in local facilities.

Events are free to the public.

"Thousands of police officers and firefighters are coming in from around the world," Julian said.

"We've had some incredibly dedicated individuals, a huge amount of volunteer effort.

"The Games are coming together marvellously.

"But not a single Conservative MP has raised a peep about this (funding)," he said.

Organizers with the Games could not be reached for comment by Burnaby NOW press deadlines.

However, organizers told the NOW last year, when they learned the 2008 federal budget contained no funding for the event, that some aspects of the Games would have to be scaled back.