Suddenly there's a new mayor in town. You don't know him and you didn't vote for him. But if his threatened coup comes off, he will be the one giving orders in Toronto for the next decade.Today, we hear from Mayor Aubut in in his own words.
And after handing this new civic potentate supreme power, no pipsqueak council or elected mayor will dare complain as he burdens local taxpayers with grandiose monuments of crippling expense and little use.
All hail Marcel Aubut, chairman of the Canadian Olympic Committee! Desperately seeking attention in a perpetual fit of adolescent insecurity, we salute you. Make us do something other people will notice! Lay on the magic hands.
“There are lots of people...who are there ready to commit to go one step further,” says Marcel Aubut. “But I won’t give you the list.”Well, why the heck would he? He's not answerable to anybody.
It’s “difficult” for Olympic backers to be transparent at such an early stage, Aubut said, but he promised the public would learn more soon.Torontonians may not remember or care about Marcel Aubut, but the people of Quebec City sure do.
Pressed for details, Aubut would only say there will be "momentum" leading up to Sept. 15, the deadline for cities to tell the International Olympic Committee they’re interested in bidding for the 2024 Games.
Aubut was President of the Nordiques when the team was sold to an American communications company and moved to Denver in 1995, becoming the Colorado Avalanche. Maclean's Magazine reported that Aubut personally made $15 million from the sale and that t-shirts reading "Marcel Aubut: Wanted Dead or Alive" were not an uncommon sight in Quebec City at the time.To add insult to the proverbial injury, the team won the Stanley Cup the next year.
And now the "big man -- with the equally large personality" is president of the Canadian Olympic Committee and is pushing to have Toronto sign a blank cheque to host the 2024 Summer Games.
But is that his ultimate goal?
But it would irresponsible not to speculate in light of this (from January 2012).
But where his pro-hockey and Olympic interests happily intersect are in the efforts to finally build Quebec City a new arena. The vision is that the $400-million, 18,000-seat facility would also serve as the centrepiece of a Winter Games bid. But funding for the project—a pastiche of provincial, city, Quebecor and fan money—remains sketchy. And the “target” Olympics is now 2026, which won’t be awarded until 2019.Got that? The man who profited by $15 million on the sale of the old Nordiques wants another team in Quebec City and he's prepared to plunge Toronto and Quebec City too, presumably, into MASSIVE debt to get it.
Aubut, who splits his time between Quebec, Montreal and Toronto, remains an enthusiastic proponent. Quebec, like Winnipeg, is a different city these days, with a more vibrant economy. And it has the capacity to host not just NHL hockey, but the world.
Would there be an element of personal redemption? “You appreciate what you don’t have,” he says.“I really want a team back.”
No matter that every media pundit in Toronto is against it, joined yesterday by noted urbanologist -- and Toronto resident -- Richard Florida.
Mr. Tory posed the issue correctly when he said: “The most important question I have is, ‘Do you think this would be to the benefit of the people of the city of Toronto?’” Based on every shred of evidence, the answer is No.Pundits, urbanologists, academics -- all think it's a very bad deal.
Even City Councillors are getting twitchy.
And then there's us peons who have little recourse but a petition.
But what Big (Unelected) Mayor Aubut wants, he wants.
And we should just trust him?
ADDED: Freedom of Information requests to John Tory's office raise lots more questions.