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Ward 11 News: 2026 Olympic Bid Update

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Ward 11 official websiteOn Wednesday, October 31, along with a majority of Council, I voted against proceeding with the Olympic bid at this time. Due to a City Hall technicality, the motion required two-thirds of Council to agree, rather than a simple majority.

This means the bid will proceed.

I voted this way because:
 
•  the new tentative agreement is incredibly inadequate and is more about
   making Calgary work for the International Olympic Committee, rather than 
   using the Olympics as a means to achieve Calgary’s goals;  
 
•  Calgarians will not be provided the time and information promised to them
    in advance of the November 13th vote.

 

Concerns about finances and secrecy
 
Calgarians, from athletes to business leaders to everyday citizens, have been led on and let down by this two-year process. What may have seemed like an economic and cultural opportunity for infrastructure renewal has turned into a disappointing and financially nonsensical proposal.
 
The new agreement proposes a budget with major corners cut. The lion’s share of approximately $300 million in cuts come from what I consider to be a dangerous reduction to security funding. The full details of how the security budget has been cut are confidential. Of all aspects of this bid, security should be untouchable. Keeping Calgarians and visitors safe should never be comprised.
 
The proposed funding agreement puts the City’s contribution at an incredibly unrealistic $370 million. The City must also guarantee against cost overruns if we are unable to convince the other levels of government to do so. This means that, were we to host the Games, the virtually-assured security cost overruns would be borne entirely by the City. This means that the City’s contribution is essentially a blank cheque.
 
As elected officials, we have an ethical obligation to ensure that voters are presented with complete, unbiased and factual information as well as a fair electoral process to participate in. At this point, I do not believe voters will have any of this. The problems that plagued the last municipal election have not been resolved, leaving the process extremely vulnerable to fraud, and there is a tremendous amount of classified material relating to financial risks that has not been shared publicly.

 

Concerns about fairness
 
I continue to question the fairness of the process. The City’s engagement team is not holding any more open houses, and the airwaves are dominated by a million dollar taxpayer-funded campaign promoting the “Yes” side. Even at our Council meeting and debate, only pro-Olympic bid speakers were permitted to make presentations.
 
I am disappointed that the City and Bidco have not fulfilled their promise to provide Calgarians with complete information a full month in advance of the plebiscite. Now, we are less than two weeks away from a vote and no opportunities for public input. I have supported your right to vote on this, and unsuccessfully attempted to have the date of the plebiscite moved so that a robust review could happen. I have heard from constituents who have described this as a “bait-and-switch” situation, in which the information that they were given at City open houses has changed only days before they are expected to vote on this issue.
 
I must also continue to question why the City is releasing our “bad news budget” with tax hikes, fee increases, and service reductions the day after the plebiscite. The City is preparing to hike taxes for the tenth year in a row to pay for runaway spending, not including the Olympic bid. Business groups, non-profits, and even the City’s Chief Financial Officer have sounded the alarm bells and raised concerns about our financial sustainability.
 
Without releasing the City’s 4-year budget before the plebiscite, Calgarians will not know the full context of the City’s shaky financial situation and the effect an Olympic bid could have, and has already had on it.
 
For these reasons, I will be voting no.
 
Please make sure that you, your family and your friends vote on November 13th.
 
Please visit www.calgary.ca/elections or contact my office to find your voting station for the advance vote and on vote day. 
 
 
Voting Opportunities:
 
Advance Vote
November 6 and 7 – Advance Vote (11am-7pm) 
 
Special (Mail-in) Ballots
Applications are now open and can be made online, in person or over the phone until November 13, 2018 at noon
 
Voting on Vote Day - November 13, 2018
Time:  8am - 8pm
160 locations across the City
Voters must vote at their designated voting station.
 
Hospital Vote
Foothills, Peter Lougheed, Rockyview, South Health Campus (rotating) 
Time: 10am-7pm
 
 



This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.
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