I am writing about the proposal to build a new convention
facility in Sudbury. On the face of it, this is quite a
good idea.  The powers behind the concept seem to
understand the need for diversity in our economy.
That having been said, there are two real concerns that I
hope will be addressed before too much money is committed to
First, the convention market is very lucrative.  But it is also finite.
There are only so many conventions to go around.  To
bring new ones to Sudbury, they will have to be taken away from
other centres that already have entrenched and successful
convention marketing programs.  The new facility, if and
when it comes on stream, will be tricky and costly (but not
impossible) to promote.  Skilled and expensive personnel
will have to be retained to do the job.  The $100,000 club
will undoubtedly expand, this time for good reason.
The second problem that I hope will receive some attention
is the determination of the American government to require
passports to gain entry and re-entry to the United
States.   Only 20 percent of Americans now carry
passports.  If the passport requirement becomes law, the
whole Canadian convention market could be dealt a body
It is highly likely that large American organizations that
periodically hold their conventions outside the United States
will skip the passport hassle and keep their business at
home. Even if the decision is made to accept some sort of
tamper-proof identity card, there is no assurance that it will
be more widely acquired than the traditional passport.
Nevertheless I wish the folks well in this new and exciting
William E. McLeod