Supporters of a new downtown SuperHyperHockeyPlex for Edmonton will surely try to downplay this development in the debate. They're a disingenuous lot, in some cases shameless; it won't bother them that Rexall Place's second most important anchor tenant has essentially just stood up and said "You knock down Rexall and we're off to Calgary." But please, at least spare us any more talk of how brilliant the "communications strategy" pursued by the mayor and the pro-arena interests has been. Apparently none of these bright sparks thought to communicate with the CFR before the feasibility report was released. (And any communications strategy that's relying on Scott McKeen not to blow his cool and menstruate all over the city section like he did on Wednesday is destined for failure.)
I hasten to add that various quantitative estimates of "how much the Canadian Finals Rodeo contributes to Edmonton's economy" should be ignored. But the CFR's impact is, by any reckoning, enormous. Most buyers of Edmonton Oiler tickets come from Edmonton and the surrounding area; cash spent by them is merely moving from place to place within the metropolis. The CFR and the FarmFair add real money to Edmonton—money that comes from Calgary, and Rocky Mountain House, and Kindersley, Sask., and Texas and Wyoming and Nevada. For a whole week every year, the city is full of hundred-dollar hats and two-hundred-dollar shitkickers. Losing the CFR would devastate local businesses, and have an annual macro impact that you'd have to think would be equal to at least four or five Oiler home games.