19 January 2010

There is spending and then there is Olympic spending

Some juxtapositions in your daily paper leap off the page at you. Such a one did just this in Saturday's Globe and Mail. On Page A5, we find an article discussing spending on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. The total is estimated at a whopping $6-billion. But the number that really caught my eye was the expected $900-million on security. Almost a billion B.C. and federal taxpayer dollars for security at a sports event!

Turn over to Page A6 and you find an article about a lack of funding for cancer studies. Apparently clinical trials that could significantly improve patient care are being stopped or not performed at all because the money isn't there. Michael Wosnick, vice-president of research for the Canadian Cancer Society, observed "... I have no way to know whether the next Nobel Prize winner in cancer research ... doesn't get funded because we just don't have the money," and Ralph Meyer, director of the NCIC Clinical Trials Group, asked "Where does it place Canadian investigators in a global environment, in terms of the competition to be successful in research?"

Lots of money to compete for Olympic medals, not so much to compete for Nobel Prizes in medicine. Is it just me or is there a fundamentally flawed set of priorities at work here?

Of all the records set at the Olympics, spending is the one that more than any other gets the gold.

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