Olympic Games in Quebec: “it just ended here”, says Régis Labeaume

Despite the categorical refusal of the City of Quebec to support the file, the businessman Mark Charest felt that a golden opportunity presented itself for the city of Champlain to present its candidacy to host the Olympic Winter Games of 2030 and still had hope, Monday noon, during our interview, to turn the tide at the town hall.

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However, his hopes went up in smoke at the end of the day when Régis Labeaume rejected any possibility that Quebec would present a candidate. The mayor of Quebec has not changed his mind since his meeting with the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, in 2016, in Lausanne, which Le Journal de Quebec attended. On the sidelines of the budget meetings that took place on Monday, colleague Jean-Luc Lavallée, who was present in Switzerland in 2016, gathered comments from the city’s chief magistrate.

“I’ll get you sorted out right away,” he said. We’re not there and then we won’t be. It just ended here. I’m sure if I called the IOC President and then told him that we are going to think about it, he would be happy there … But we hired Patrice [Drouin]. I saw Patrice last week, we made a plan to ask ourselves how we can go and find new events […], but the Olympics, no, forget that. ”

“Agenda 2020, I do not see in which city they have applied it to date,” continued the mayor of Quebec. There are some who are deluding themselves about Agenda 2020. We are in 2020 and I haven’t seen the difference yet. ”

Aware of the sales work he should have done, Charest believes that Mayor Labeaume is living in the past. “The reforms of the International Olympic Committee [CIO] which aim to present small and scattered Games in different cities play in our favor, he said. We must make this reform of the IOC known to the population. There are still prejudices regarding the allocation of the Games. Some, including Mayor Labeaume, think only of corruption and the votes bought from the past. We have a big sales job to do with the population. ”

Charest and his group have been working on this project since 2018. People have made their occasional contribution to produce the 22-page working document that was released on Monday. “People like Charles Huot, who was present during the Quebec City bid in 2002, François Bilodeau, Bernard Thiboutot, Georges Bertrand helped us, as did Walter Sieber and the Canadian Olympic Committee.”

Charest wanted to find between 50 and 100 sponsors from the business community in order to push the project and form a board of directors.

In light of Calgary’s efforts, which wanted to present the 2026 Winter Games and whose project was rejected in a referendum in November 2018, Charest said he wanted to take the opposite path. “The cornerstone of our project is to gain the support of the population. We are looking for a mobilizing project. In Calgary, they had spent several millions before consulting the population. ”

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) does not intend to support Quebec’s bid for the 2030 Olympic Games.

Mayor Labeaume’s words echoed in the COC offices. “The Olympic Charter gives the COC the exclusive authority to determine whether or not a city can be a candidate to host an Olympic Games in Canada,” COC CEO and Secretary General David Shoemaker said by email. A long-time supporter of sport and sporting events in Quebec City, the mayor of Quebec recently said the time was not right for the city to submit a nomination and we share that opinion. The Canadian Olympic Committee communicated this decision to the local group, which earlier today made a unilateral announcement on the preparation of a bid package. ”

During an interview on Monday, promoter Mark Charest confirmed that he had received a letter from the COC. “I asked them to give Quebec a chance before looking elsewhere and to give us the opportunity to turn around the situation on board.” The message was not heard.

If the COC judges that the moment is not favorable, it says not to close the door to Quebec in the event of a later candidacy. “Hosting the Olympic Games in Canada represents a tremendous opportunity for our country and it is a responsibility we take seriously,” said Shoemaker. Thus, the Canadian Olympic Committee wishes to present a candidacy to host the Summer or Winter Olympic Games during the 2030s. Quebec City has a long and solid history in the development of sport and Olympic athletes. The COC believes in Quebec’s potential as a possible candidate for the future, but not at this time. ”

Even though Calgary is no longer in the background, the COC has another card up its sleeve for a potential bid in 2030. Vancouver has recently shown interest in hosting the Olympic Games in the winter of 2030. In 2010, Vancouver had been preferred in Quebec for the Canadian bid and had ultimately hosted the Games.

Contacted about the discussions he had with Mark Charest and his group, Walter Sieber preferred to play the card of discretion. “For the moment, I prefer not to take a position, letting the people who live in this beautiful city of Quebec express themselves”, replied the one who promoted the candidacies of Toronto (1996) and Quebec (2002) as vice-president. sports president.


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