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Calgary's Olympic Bid: Top 5 Gaffes

April 13, 2018
Calgary's Olympic Bid: Top 5 Gaffes

Over the past year we’ve been hearing more and more about the idea that mysterious forces are pushing an Olympic bid behind the scenes at Calgary’s city hall.

Councillor Farrell tweeted out earlier this year to another councillor: “we’re being managed.”

Councillor Farkas told the media, “The fix is in.”

It’s not clear who is really pushing the bid behind the scenes, but it’s pretty clear the process has been a mess.

Here are the “top 5 gaffes” related to Calgary’s Olympic bid exploration efforts so far:

5) The city often holds open houses before it makes relatively small decisions like painting lines on the road to make a bike lane. Yet, here we are two years into an Olympic bid, the city has spent $6 million and there still hasn’t been a single open house for the public to share their thoughts. By contrast, Vancouver held over 400 consultation sessions

4) Two city reports that were critical of the economic case for hosting the Olympics were kept out of a large package of materials given to council prior to a vote on the Olympics ... and the reports were initially kept away from the public as well. Go figure.

3) The provincial government was told the city agreed with the idea of holding a plebiscite … apparently that wasn’t true. Maybe someone forgot to ask council?

2) Staff confirmed at Tuesday’s council meeting that if the Olympics proceed, the entity that operates the Games would be shielded from the province’s Freedom of Information legislation. What could possibly go wrong with keeping more Olympic info away from the media, the public and watchdog organizations like ours?

1) Cost estimates for hosting the Olympics are already expected to go up, yet Calgary hasn’t even bid yet!

Clearly this process has been a mess. The whole situation makes one wonder – if the city can’t manage a $6 million bid exploration process, how could it manage the $5 billion Olympics if we actually won?


Bonus TidbitSki Canada put out a poll about the Olympics this week. Like the Ipsos poll, this poll also shows that people outside Calgary are more in favour of a bid than those who actually live in Calgary. A survey of CTF supporters earlier this month found the same sentiment.

It seems the more the public learns about the Olympics – and its unaffordable price tag – the less supportive they are of a bid.


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