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Sherbrooke Consider Hosting Francophonie Games After New Brunswick Backs Out

Image: file photo/The Canadian Press.

SHERBROOKE, Que. — After losing out to New Brunswick in the race to hold the 2021 Francophonie Games and then seeing the winner withdraw last week, Sherbrooke, Que. is contemplating a pinch-hitting role.

Sherbrooke Mayor Steve Lussier, who had initially ruled out filling in as host over concerns about the cost, announced at a meeting Monday night that council will take another look.

Lussier said the council has asked a committee to review the financial implications to ensure taxpayers are not left with a hefty bill. The quadrennial event brings together 3,000 athletes and artists from more than 50 member states that have French as a common language.

In New Brunswick, where Moncton and Dieppe were going to share hosting duties, Premier Blaine Higgs blamed the province’s decision to withdraw on the growing cost and a lack of financial support from Ottawa. The province said the budget had ballooned to $130 million from an original bid of $17 million.

Lussier said his city has been approached by the federal and provincial governments about staging the Games and will continue discussions.

Marie−Claude Bibeau, the federal minister of international development and an MP in the Sherbrooke region, said Monday the federal government would support Sherbrooke if it decides to welcome the Games.

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The Canadian Press