Thursday, April 02, 2009

Friends of Soccer Objects to NDP Anti-Soccer Stadium Ads

On Wednesday, April 1, the BC New Democratic Party ran a series of internet ads on several soccer-related websites condemning the renovation of BC Place, and falsely suggesting that the cost of the renovation is coming at the expense of healthcare and the homeless. We at Friends of Soccer find these ads extremely misleading and inappropriate. We call on the NDP to immediately back away from this irresponsible threat to the future of soccer in our province.

The claim in the ad that BC citizens must choose between a soccer-friendly stadium and social services is both false and offensive. The NDP is well aware that the BC Place renovations are to be financed by the future sale and development of the lands surrounding the stadium, along with future sponsorship funds surrounding naming rights. Neither source is drawn from the general revenue tax base that fund social programs. To suggest otherwise is alarmist to say the least.

The NDP is also aware that the BC Place renovations are crucial to the development of soccer in the province. Only two weeks ago, Vancouver was awarded a Major League Soccer team for 2011. The BC Place renovations promised by the current provincial government were overwhelmingly the deciding factor in the bid process. The threat made by Carole James to revoke the renovations could place the future of professional soccer in BC in doubt, and has the potential to choke soccer projects being undertaken in other parts of BC as well.

Carole James should also recognize that BC Place is a major economic engine for the citizens of BC. Every event held there pumps millions of dollars into the BC Tourism, Hospitality and Retail industries. It is BC's largest trade and exposition centre, hosting over 200 events every year. And it is also home to the BC Lions, a football team loved by people throughout the province. Without these renovations, it is unlikely British Columbia would be hosting the Grey Cup game in 2011. The global exposure this facility provides for BC is unsurpassed.

As citizens, we expect governments to be able to address a host of issues. We expect our governments to provide sustainable healthcare, while still encouraging economic growth in our cities and towns. We expect our governments to help those who are downtrodden, but we also insist that governments allow its working citizens the freedom to build a good quality of life for their families. To say we must choose between these priorities is a false choice, and any party who forces that choice is not capable of governing this province.

Friends of Soccer has always been, and continues to be, a non-partisan grassroots movement. We have always supported the efforts of those who help the game in BC, and we've fiercely opposed those who threaten the development of soccer in our province. I'm pleased to say that we've done this regardless of party affiliation. But in this election campaign, we cannot allow the future of soccer in BC to be once again cast into doubt for cheap political gain.

It is now up the BC New Democratic Party to make a clear statement committing their party to the BC Place renovations without modification of the current plans or budget.

Otherwise, they can be certain that we will not stand idly by in this election campaign.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hear hear! Hey NDP - sports fans vote you union-loving bastards.