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Liberals defend $7-million in bonuses for Pan Am execs if games on budget

Michael Chan, Ontario Minister of Tourism and Culture, speaks before the Hot Docs opening night screening of POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Move Ever Sold by Morgan Spurlock at the Winter Garden Theatre on Thursday.

Joseph Michael Photography/The Globe and Mail

Ontario's Liberal government is defending a $7-million bonus package for officials with the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games committee.

Games CEO Ian Troop, who was paid $477,000 last year, will be eligible for a $780,000 bonus if the games come in on budget and on time.

There are 63 Pan Am executives earning between $190,000 and $250,000 who will be eligible for bonuses of up to 50 per cent of their annual pay when the games are over.

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The opposition parties say it's ridiculous to pay people just to complete the job they were hired to do, but the government says it's standard procedure to avoid losing key personnel close to the actual games.

Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister Michael Chan says the bonus structure adopted by TO2015 is similar to other multi-sport event organizations like the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.

Chan says the Pan Am Games will be even bigger than the Vancouver Olympics, with more than 10,000 athletes and officials from 41 nations, who will compete in 51 sports.

The government ordered TO2015 to tighten its expense rules earlier this week after it was learned some of the well-paid executives, including Troop, had billed taxpayers for things like a 91-cent parking ticket and $1.89 cup of tea.

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