An Update on Calgary’s Potential Olympic Bid

It has been a busy week in Olympics news with new funding information coming from the Federal government. On Wednesday Council was asked to reconsider the decision that we made on September 11, 2018 as set out in report C2018-1005:

“1. In accordance with their decision of 2018 July 30, confirm that the vote of the electors on the matter of whether Calgary should host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be held on 2018 November 13.”

As it states above, all we were really voting on was whether to let the Plebiscite go forward or take away the chance for Calgarians to vote.

I have received hundreds of emails, phone calls and messages on social media about whether Calgary should make a bid for the 2026 Olympics. And I’m hearing three positions:

  1. Just let the people vote in the Plebiscite
  2. Vote ‘no’ to Calgary hosting the Olympics
  3. Vote ‘yes’ to Calgary hosting the Olympics

So I have to say that I’m at a bit of a loss when I try to understand those who have literally insulted me, stated their disappointment, and said that they will never vote for me again. The reason that I voted against a reconsideration is so that you and all Calgarians will have a chance to vote; that and only that reason.

My position all along has been that we have to know the facts and I want to know what Calgarians think. There has been a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to a potential Olympic Bid and so I asked a number of questions during Council on Wednesday to try and get down to the facts. Here’s what I asked:

I was also able to ask about what funds have already been dedicated to the Plebiscite. First, I should clarify that the Province is paying for the Plebiscite. On Wednesday we found out that we have already spent or committed funds to staff training, rentals, salaries, supplies, tech support, printing ballots, and advertising. The total that we’ve already spent or committed is approximately $1.8M. The Plebiscite has a $2M budget so in simple terms there would only be a $200,000 savings if we cancelled the Plebiscite. For such a relatively small amount I feel that the residents of Calgary should be given the chance to have their say.

At the end of the day I want to know what Calgarians’ think when they have the correct information in front of them. On Wednesday we were able to clarify a lot of the misinformation that is out there. We were also able to find out that a lot of the resources that we dedicated to a plebiscite have already been spent or committed in the preparation. So my thought is to let Calgarians have their say. And that is how I voted. I didn’t vote ‘yes’ to the Olympics and I didn’t vote ‘no’ to the Olympics. I voted for us to follow through on holding a Plebiscite.

This is why I have been surprised at some of the feedback that I have been receiving since Wednesday from those that have expressed that they do not want Calgary to host the Olympics. What we were being asked to do would have suspended the Plebiscite and taken away your opportunity to vote. With the decision that Council made you will have an opportunity to make your voice heard in the Plebiscite on November 13th.

As we move closer and closer to the Plebiscite I hope that Calgarians will take the time to get down to the facts and not get distracted by the misinformation that is out there. I think that my Council Colleague, Ward Sutherland, did a fantastic job when he raised this point in Council on Wednesday:

If you have questions between now and the Plebiscite my office is always happy to chat.