So the Games Begin Again...
A massive international sporting event. A secret group preparing a bid. An untold cost to taxpayers during these tough economic times.
But we're not talking about Calgary's dead on arrival 2026 Olympics bid.
Despite being told by Calgarians that now is definitely not the time to pursue another lofty and expensive bid for an international sports event that we just can't afford, efforts are now underway to prepare a bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
It seems like the games are beginning again.
Mayor Nenshi wouldn't disclose the identity of the individuals preparing the big, except to say that "they are people who know what they're doing."
Well, doesn't that just allay all of our worries.
After all, Calgary's Olympics bid was prepared by so-called experts, who despite spending millions of tax dollars first preparing and then shilling the bid to skeptical voters, couldn't answer even some of the most basic questions Calgarians had - like where the funding would come from.
The Mayor said that he's not certain that there would be funding available from other levels of government for a bid - I think we can clear that up pretty quickly.
Alberta is broke. The provincial government is making across the board cuts to try and get our province's finances back in order, and every one of those cuts is being fought against by big public sector unions who don't think they need to sacrifice like other Albertans.
The province can't and won't put more money into these sorts of last-minute bids.
As for the federal government - who is also broke - they've made it clear that their priority isn't either Calgary or Alberta.
Perhaps if there were a Climate Change Sportsfest then the Trudeau Liberals might write a cheque for that.
But back to this new secret bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games - just what is it that makes these folks think that doing in things in secret and behind closed doors will win over support from everyday Calgarians?
It was one of the biggest criticisms we had about the Olympic bid - not enough information, too many decisions being made in secret, and the concerns of voters being completely ignored.
Now, this new group seems to following this same doomed path.
To be clear, we aren't opposed to Calgary hosting large events - our city has a track record of success when it comes to welcoming the world to our doors.
Our concern is that there isn't a willingness to share with everyday Calgarians, from the beginning, the details about these events. Opinions aren'y solicited early on, support isn't built from the ground up, and fair questions about cost and funding are brushed aside instead of answered.
These major events cost billions of dollars. Those dollars will come from taxpayers. Taxpayers are already struggling to pay their outrageous property tax bills and keep their lights on.
They don't want to take on a project that might put them at risk for billions of dollars.
Just what does City Hall and those who pursue these projects in secret find so hard to understand here?
There are so many more pressing issues than chasing yet another international event.
If you believe like we do that this is just another attempt for City politicians \ to build a legacy for themselves by spending money we don't have - with decisions and discussions happening behind closed doors - then we hope you consider donating to Save Calgary.
We commit to pushing back against this latest boondoggle as we did against the 2026 Olympics bid, and we'll demand real transparency right from the beginning of the process.
In the meantime, we'll see if we can learn more about this secret bid committee who is plotting to put taxpayers on the hook for billions.
PS. If City Hall is really wants to host a competition, it should invite Calgarians to submit ideas for the best ways to save our tax dollars - with City Council promising to implement the ten best ideas within the next year. You know who would win if we hosted a competition like that? All of us. All of us would win.