Thursday January 29, 2015

PQ dreams of podium

Paulin Marois, leader of the pro-independence Parti Quebecois, has continued the province's tradition of delusional politics when she boasted about Quebec's share of the medal count in London.

True enough, athletes from la belle province won the first four bronze medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics in diving, judo and weightlifting. As election fever heated up in late July, Marois couldn't help but tout the success of Quebec's athletes.

"This means, among other things, that it's another example of how Quebec could shine among the brightest . . . as an independent country. We could continue to win our medals, I'm sure of that."

Nice thought, but no.

Canadian athletes aren't swimming in money - not like the U.S., anyway - but they do receive a decent amount of funds to bolster their training demands. Indeed, the Own the Podium program was designed to pour more money - $117 million, initially - into athletic programs.

That's a good chunk of change, and from the perspective of athletic achievement, there's good reason for it. It has been established that the amount of money a country puts into athletics corresponds to success on the podium.

So, if Quebec became its own country, how could it possibly keep up with funding compared to other nations? According to the Department of Finance, Quebec will get $7.4 billion in equalization payments in 2012-13, far outdistancing its provincial counterparts.

Without that money generated from "have provinces," most notably Alberta and its oilsands, Quebec would be at a major loss when it comes to funding sports.

Indeed, in a province that prides itself on $7-a-day daycare and its arts culture, sports would no doubt take a back seat - and so would all those potential Olympic medals.

Marois' political games may work in certain parts of Quebec, but one hopes most voters will have enough common sense to see through her empty rhetoric and dreams of an independent Quebec.

We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.

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