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Last fall, delegations of federal and Quebec politicians jetted to Europe and Asia in a bid to cajole the World Anti-Doping Agency into maintaining its international headquarters in Montreal. It worked.

Less than 12 months later, in the wake of the organization’s incomprehensible decision to reinstate Russia’s doping-control agency and laboratory, we are left to wonder whether it was worth the trouble.

When a regulatory body is unwilling to meaningfully crack down on the kind of industrial-scale cheating carried out by Russia’s state-directed performance-enhancing program, it is appropriate to ask whether it still has a raison d'être.

WADA suspended Russia in November, 2015, and set two main conditions for reinstatement: acknowledge the findings of a damning investigation by Western University law professor Richard McLaren; and allow access to labs, samples and records.

Instead, the agency has accepted a vague admission of “failings” and a promise to let investigators in at some point within six months. WADA officials are playing this as a necessary compromise, but no one is buying it.

According to Mr. McLaren and whistle-blower Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s testing facility, the state-run doping program helped more than 1,000 athletes in 30 sports fudge their doping tests. A lawyer for Mr. Rodchenkov, who now lives in hiding, called WADA’s move “the greatest treachery against clean athletes in Olympic history.”

Howls of protest have arisen around the globe, including here. Retired Canadian Olympic champion Beckie Scott, who chairs the WADA athletes’ panel, called the decision “a devastating blow to clean sport" and quit the agency’s compliance-review committee.

It’s not clear the outcry will matter. The International Olympic Committee, whose membership includes WADA’s current president, has a history of overlooking the transgressions of influential member nations.

Still, calls are mounting for countries to pull their funding to force a reform of WADA. Canadian governments support the agency to the tune of $1.9-million annually. They should think twice before signing any more cheques.

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