April 04, 2018

Taxpayer watchdog group puts the brakes on Calgary City Hall’s Olympic ambitions (Guest: William MacBeath)

Sheila Gunn ReidRebel Host | The Gunn Show


Calgary city council wants Calgary to be an Olympic City again in 2026 - but first they have to talk about being an Olympic host City again.

And like all things Olympic, even talking about being an Olympic host city can be very, very expensive.

Alberta taxpayers are set to fund $30M across three levels of government - municipal, federal and provincial - to form an exploratory corporation to examine what it will take for Calgary to make a successful Olympic bid.

And that doesn’t include the cost of a bid. That’s just the cost of pondering the decision.

Where do taxpayers fit into all of this? The city of Calgary hasn’t bothered to ask them yet.

The going rate of a winter Olympics is around $10B. Even disregarding the debt ridden money pits that most Olympic games become, that’s a lot of money for a city to commit to without asking the people who will cover the bill.

In stepped Save Calgary, the grassroots municipal watchdog group, with a petition to council forcing a plebiscite on Calgary’s Olympic aspirations, and it looks like they might have actually succeeded.

Joining me tonight to discuss the expensive proposition of hosting the Winter Olympics one more time, along with a lot of other expensive craziness happening down at Calgary City Hall, is William MacBeath from Save Calgary.

You must be logged in to comment. Click here to log in.
commented 2018-04-05 21:22:37 -0400
I like the term “vanity project” for the olympics. Prestige is nice if it doesn’t cost our children’s children a fortune in debt. Let’s hope that the push-back from cities will make the OIC blink. We can’t afford this vanity signaling anymore.
commented 2018-04-05 19:59:03 -0400
Keep Montreal Expo in mind. It took them decades to pay that debt off and now it’s a no-go zone. Maybe this is the plan for Calgary too
commented 2018-04-05 17:53:00 -0400
[this is a tough one for me. love the winter olympics considering canada does so well[nhl scum better be there though]. but costs are getting completely out of hand. maybe these sporting organizations should contribute way more than they are making to the games. ripping countries off to host their games[soccer, football, and the olympics] does not help their cause.
commented 2018-04-05 15:46:13 -0400
Excellent report Sheila.

Kudos to Save Calgary!
commented 2018-04-05 11:06:03 -0400
Deborah —

We did it!

We said we wanted a voice, and now we’ve got one.

After trying to force Calgary to bid on the 2026 Olympics without doing any meaningful consultation with Calgarians, Calgary’s City Council was told point blank that if it wanted money from the Alberta government, they would first have to hold a plebiscite and get the endorsement of everyday Calgary voters.

Many media, including QR77’s Danielle Smith, credited Save Calgary’s recent petition campaign with the fact that our provincial government is forcing City Council to do what it should have done in the first place. More than 1,300 supporters signed our petition in just under one week – and those voices were loudly heard in the corridors of power.

Here’s what Danielle Smith had to say about Save Calgary, and your outpouring of support for a plebiscite:

“I believe the province made this decision [to hold a plebiscite] was because of the efforts this group [Save Calgary] to put pressure on every Council member…”

You can listen to Save Calgary’s interview with Danielle Smith here.

However, even with this important victory under our belts, we still have a lot of work to do.

Already, some City Councillors are trying to euthanize the plebiscite by suggesting it might not be binding, merely “consultative”, and not making the plebiscite a simple, direct, yes/no question.

It’s absolutely critical that we keep up the pressure on our City Council to hold a binding, clearly-worded plebiscite that directly asks Calgarians whether or not they want to proceed with a bid for the 2026 Olympics.

We cannot allow our City Council to weasel out of this plebiscite by making it either entirely meaningless, or so confusing that Calgarians don’t know what they’re really voting for.

City Council will be meeting on April 10, 2018 to decide whether or not to pursue a plebiscite. We can’t let up on demanding that our City Council hold a binding, clearly-worded question on whether or not to pursue a bid for the 2026 Olympics.

Contact your local City Councillor and tell them that anything else is completely unacceptable.

When the plebiscite campaign starts, Save Calgary will be pushing to ensure that full, accurate, and detailed information about the real costs of these Olympics are made available to Calgarians.

We remain very concerned about the huge economic costs associated with holding a modern Olympic games, the potential risks for Calgary, and the level of debt Calgarians can expect to shoulder should the Olympics come to pass.

As a city struggling with a sluggish economy, high unemployment, high taxes, and sub-par city services, we do not believe that committing billions of dollars to the 2026 Olympics is a responsible or prudent choice for Calgary.

Moreover, the haphazard and – frankly – incompetent way information about Calgary’s bid and process has been released to date does not instil confidence in Calgary voters about our City Administration’s ability to effectively execute on this massive undertaking.

Please continue to talk with your family, friends, and neighbours about your concerns with Calgary bidding for the 2026 Olympics.

Tell your local City Councillor that you demand a binding, clearly-worded plebiscite on whether or not to proceed with bidding for the 2026 Olympics before any more tax dollars are spent on this potential billion dollar boondoggle.

You can find contact information for your local City Councillor here.

We’ve won the first battle in forcing our City Council to go ahead with a plebiscite, but we still have a long way to go to make sure that Calgarians aren’t stuck paying for an Olympics that our City elites and insiders desperately want, but that everyday Calgarians are far from sold on.


Save Calgary
commented 2018-04-05 10:26:00 -0400
Great informative show SHEILA, as always
commented 2018-04-05 10:12:33 -0400
I suspect that Alberta’s Municipal Act has something to say about the sort of expenditure required to pursue an Olympic bid. Most Municipal Acts in Canada are fairly rigid concerning budgets, reporting and extraordinary spending. It also probably has something to say about the in-camera meetings Mr. McBeath mentioned. There are very few acceptable reasons for a council to hold in-camera meetings. Legal, land and personnel issues are the only ones I can think of.
commented 2018-04-05 10:10:45 -0400
Every Canadian taxpayer will be stuck with the costs so why the hell does a municipality or province have the sole right to spend our money ? And besides , the elitists want a Global Government so why are they promoting a nation based competition when they don’t want Nations?
The socialist liberals always use the if we can save one child argument .Well as long as there are starving children in Canada ,even one, then spend the money on them instead of filling the pockets of these snotty elitists.
commented 2018-04-05 09:52:00 -0400
I don’t consider a $450K blue bird perch art, or those iron wracks with slabs of cement on them, or the sewer rat neon art that should have been free. I think these so called “art projects” are just a way of passing taxpayer money to the friends of Nenshi. They will do anything to steal from the taxpayer. And the only reason Nenshi is in is because Notley and friends helped him. They also mysteriously ran out of ballots on election day. So always vote in the advanced polls, because this has happened too many times to be a coincidental.
commented 2018-04-05 09:44:41 -0400
In raw language the elites that travel in this circle are just leaches that want to continue flying around the world in private jets, stay at exclusive hotels and golf courses and order thirty dollar glasses of orange juice .
Let the billionaire club pay for Olympics.
And I can’t even imagine what Canada will look like in ten years or the world. The security costs alone are staggering.and the corruption and waste inestimable.
Screw the Olympics and everyone associated with them .
commented 2018-04-05 02:35:34 -0400
That’s more logic than Nenshi can take. Isn’t it time for a change ? What is he still doing there.?

Sheila you are so right about municipal politics. If people showed up at voting time maybe we could actually get some conservatives on board.

I have to agree about Calgary’s public art. It is outrageously ugly and such a waste of money. There are quality artists out there, why can’t Calgary seem to find them? Where is the Bill Reid quality and some of the fantastic bronze rodeo artists?

I can’t imagine why Calgary would be in the mood to host an Olympics or spend money they don’t have on public art these days. Notley and Nenshi blew any Calgarian spirit right out of the province.
commented 2018-04-04 23:40:41 -0400
Thank you Sheila for the good show and guest.
Deborah is correct. There isn’t the private sector push that created the successful games in ’88. Just more socialists leading taxpayers into another bloody financial quagmire – just like the art.
commented 2018-04-04 23:31:21 -0400
There is only one possible reason why our elected City Council would want to deny us the opportunity to vote in a referendum on hosting the Olympics. Because they already know that they would certainly get a big fat NO.
But what can you do when your friends and neighbors elect a Mayor who is always the Smartest Guy in the Room, no matter what happens?
commented 2018-04-04 23:21:15 -0400
Deborah Graupner—Its nice to hear that citizens can vote for what’s done with their taxpayers dollars.
With Trudeau forcing illegals from the 3rd world on us, I forgot we live in a Democracy. I wish we could stop him one way or another.
commented 2018-04-04 22:04:41 -0400
The 2004 Olympics were the straw that broke the economic camel’s back for Greece. Is Calgary swimming in money? The IOC is a very corrupt organization. You can spend a fortune trying to sway them, not knowing that they already decided to award it to someone else. Kick out the NDP, fix the economy, then decide if you want to bid for the Olympics. To quote Paul Joseph Watson “modern art is absolute crap”. From what I’ve seen it’s made by people with no talent & sold to people with no taste (& too often by using other people’s money).
commented 2018-04-04 21:20:44 -0400
There aren’t many in Calgary that are in mood to host another Olympics, especially since we are in a recession caused by all the levels of our communist governments. We had our run with Ralph in 88, and I don’t think we can even come close to being that successful under our bully mayor Nenshi. Nenshi and Notley just want to bleed taxpayer money for their union friends. I will definitely vote against this.