Calgary 2026 Olympics: last-minute decision-making prior to plebiscite
By Nathan Woolridge, News Editor
City council almost hit the brakes on Calgary’s Olympic bid after receiving the province and the federal government’s plans to help finance the Olympics.
On Oct. 31, city council met for several hours to discuss and vote on moving forward with the plebiscite on Nov. 13 as planned.
CBC reported on Oct. 26, that the federal government would be pitching in $1.75 billion for a Calgary Games. The provincial government has proposed $700 million and it doesn’t seem their offer will budge.
According to CBC, the federal government’s contribution is based on matching the province’s and the city’s contributions. This means that the city will have to front roughly $1 billion for the Olympics if the provincial government’s funding doesn’t increase.
This was one of the major factors for city council on almost deciding to suspend the Olympic bid. This brought up discussion as to whether the city would take a more democratic approach and continue with the plebiscite, or suspend the bid in the council meeting.
BidCo CEO, Mary Moran, told CBC, “We also told Calgarians that it would be their decision.”
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said in a statement that after many hours of debate, he supports moving towards the plebiscite.
“I wanted Calgarians to have this deal in front of them much sooner. But, I had to put the messiness aside and really consider, does this make sense for Calgary and is this a good deal?” But, he later says his mind was made up. “I will be voting yes on November 13th because I believe this is an incredible opportunity for our city.”
The mayor reminds Calgarians that the decision is in their hands. He encourages Calgarians to do their research.
The council vote to suspend the bid needed 10 votes, which it did not receive. However, the results did reveal how split council members are on pursuing the bid. Council voted 8-7 in favour of stopping the bid, clearly showing a divided council.