SHOULD CANADA SPEND MORE ON OLYMPIC ATHLETES?

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SHOULD CANADA SPEND MORE ON OLYMPIC ATHLETES?

As this is being written Canada has not won a single medal at the Bejing Olympics. Australia, with a much smaller population, has won several. Even Togo, Algeria and poor old Georgia have made it to the medal podium. Canada – not a one.

What’s the matter with us? The critics’ answers are coming in fast. Canada doesn’t take the Olympics seriously enough. The Canadian government does not spend enough money on Olympic sports. Canadian taxpayers must shell out more, much more, on elite sports programs to identify, develop and fine-tune athletes who can make us proud at the Olympics. If Australia can do, so should we, the critics say.

Let’s look at the money argument. Ottawa now spends some $166 million a year on sports in general. In addition to that Ottawa doles out more than $40 million a year to support high-performance-international-grade athletes. Canadian taxpayers routinely give annual subsidies of as much as $18,000 to registered Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls.

So should we spend more money on Olympic athletes? Not according to the Montreal Gazette we shouldn’t . Instead of spending another dime on Olympic athletes, the government should spend any extra money on general participation sports and build a few basketball courts in places like Montreal North where police killed the young black man. The Gazette asks whether perfecting a few specialists to win medals is really a worthy national goal.

Instead the Gazette argues that taxpayers’ money should be spent on sports in ways which will more directly affect the well-being of large numbers of Canadians.

Should more money go to elite or participation sports?

Are you embarrassed that on the seventh day of the Olympics Canada has not won a single medal?

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