Questions remain as New Brunswick officially withdraws Francophonie Games bid
It’s been a couple days of meeting with delegates and stakeholders in Paris for New Brunswick’s deputy premier.
Robert Gauvin, the minister responsible for La Francophonie, tourism, heritage and culture, formally withdrew the province’s bid to host the 2021 Francophonie Games Thursday.
“I wish to assure you of our government’s full cooperation during the coming transition period to allow another member state or government to host the games,” Gauvin said.
Representatives of Comité international des Jeux de la Francophonie made a call on Twitter Thursday for bids to host the Games, saying they will work on an accelerated timeline to find a new host.
Sherbrooke, Que., has shown cautious interest in hosting the Games, but much like New Brunswick, it appears there would still be a shortfall of millions of dollars.
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Nadine Girault, Quebec’s minister of international relations and la Francophonie, says her government was ready to contribute $17 million to efforts to host the Games in Sherbrooke.
The total cost for the big event is expected to run more than $80 million. The community says it will cap its contribution at $5.5 million, leaving a roughly $57.5-million shortfall for the federal government to make up.
No matter where the games will be, there are still uncertainties about what type of possible penalty New Brunswick could face for backing out after winning the bid.
While Gauvin said the province will continue to work with the organizing committee during the transition period, it’s not clear if taxpayers could be on the hook for the forfeited bid.
Global News requested a phone interview with Gauvin, but he wasn’t made available.
In an emailed response Wednesday, a spokesperson for the former Moncton-Dieppe Games committee said, “We’re pleased to see the interest of the other cities to host the games and we are looking forward to the end results. In regards to the Paris meeting, that would be more of a question for the government of NB.”
— With files from The Canadian Press
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