Taxpayer Logo

Official site of the
CANADIAN TAXPAYERS FEDERATION
a citizens advocacy group dedicated to lower taxes,
less waste and accountable government.

AB: No tax dollars for pro sports arenas

February 20, 2013
AB: No tax dollars for pro sports arenas

The owners of the Calgary Flames want to build a new NHL arena and sports complex for their teams. Unfortunately they want taxpayers to foot a big chunk of the bill. Though the Edmonton NHL arena development hit taxpayers hard, many NHL arenas built in Canada over the past two decades (Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver) were built with virtually 100% private funds.The owners of the teams, or other private sector interests in Calgary, should do the same.

The billionaire owners of the Calgary Flames and Calgary Stampeders are proposing they spend only $200 million of their own money, while Calgary taxpayers are expected to front up to $690 million. And that’s only part of the pie.

The land identified for the proposed site is heavily contaminated with creosote, and the costs for clean up are unknown – but could be hundreds of millions of dollars.

These owners are the ones who stand to profit off the development. Taxpayers are expected to take public money away from services we all need and use, and instead pay for a sportsplex with all the bells and whistles, that will generate private profit for the owners, who won’t front the costs themselves.

The Calgary Flames and Stamps should have great facilities. And there’s no question, Calgarians would welcome this development with open arms if the billionaires behind it decided to pay for it. The bottom line is: simply isn’t what we pay taxes for. Pro sports arenas should be paid for with tickets, not taxes.

Sign our petition: No Tax Dollars for Pro Sports Arena

Read more on this issue in the Globe and Mail, the Calgary Sun, and the Calgary Herald.

Take action now by signing our petition to tell Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley: No tax dollars for pro sports arenas!

DONATE
NOW
News Releases

AB: A Taxpayer-Friendly Opposition Leader?

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) today released responses from three of the five Alberta Liberal Party leadership candidates to ten key questions posed by the CTF.

Related: A Fiscally Conservative Premier?

 

View More

AB: A Fiscally Conservative Premier?

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) today released responses from all six PC Party leadership candidates to ten key questions posed by the CTF.

View More

CTF releases Edmonton candidate survey responses

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released today the results of a six question survey sent to each Edmonton candidate running for civic office in the October 18th municipal election.

View More

CTF releases Calgary candidate survey responses

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation released the results of a five question survey sent to each Calgary and Edmonton candidate running for civic office in the October 18th municipal election.

View More

Council must reject “Revitalization Levy”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is calling on Edmonton city council to reject the proposal to fund a new downtown NHL arena using a little-known tax-trick called a Community Revitalization Levy (CRL). View More

Oilers and Flames owners told to ‘puck off’

CTF applauds Premier Stelmach and Calgary Mayor Bronconnier for their commitment not to spend tax dollars on new NHL arenas

EDMONTON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) thanked both Premier Stelmach and Calgary Mayor Bronconnier for their firm commitments not to put taxpayer dollars into building new NHL arenas in Edmonton and Calgary.

View More

Draft Arena Reports Reveal New Taxes for Edmonton

  • Documents also reveal pro-taxpayer funding bias for new NHL arena in Edmonton

EDMONTON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) today released earlier drafts of the City Shaping report authored by Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel's Leadership Committee for a New Sports/Entertainment Facility. The drafts reveal the committee's request for new taxi and hotel taxes in Edmonton to pay for a new arena, among other pro-tax funding suggestions.

View More

CTF releases survey responses for Edmonton candidates

Edmonton candidates say NO to new taxes, YES to limiting tax increases, NO to taxpayer funding of a replacement Rexall Place, YES to reversing the 21% council pay hike and YES to pre-election disclosure of campaign contributions. View More

CTF releases Calgary candidate survey responses

Calgary candidates say NO to new taxes, YES to limiting tax increases, NO to taxpayer funding of a replacement Saddledome, and YES to pre-election disclosure of campaign contributions


CTF Survey Results - Calgary

EDMONTON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released today the results of a six question survey sent to each Calgary candidate running for civic office in the October 15th municipal election.
View More

Commentaries

Arena situation is bizarre

Does anyone else find the arena situation bizarre? Stand back and think about the big picture for a second. View More

AB: Revitalization Levy sleight of hand

“Lose weight while you sleep.” “Congratulations UK Lottery Winner!” “Enlarge your…” well, you get the picture. Every day e-mail inboxes are bombarded with outrageous claims from spammers around the world looking to bilk Canadians out of their life savings. However, closer to home it’s too often governments working hand-in-hand with legitimate businesses to pilfer money from the public ... View More
Blog

CTF Tax Talk Podcast #5 - Government Ads and Hockey Subsidies

Episode 5 of the CTF Tax Talk podcast with Jordan Bateman and special guest Vince Dimanno talking about government ads and hockey subsidies.

View More

Tax Talk: The CTF Podcast Episode 2 - Should Taxes Pay For NHL Arenas?

Tax Talk podcast #2: Jordan Bateman and Scott Hennig tlak about the Edmonton arena deal, where billionaire Oilers owner Darryl Katz is trying to get as much tax money out of Albertans' pockets as possible.

View More

Why Canadian NHL teams/rinks went bankrupt (Part 3)

View More

Why Canadian NHL teams/rinks went bankrupt (Part 2)

In 1995, Vancouver Canucks owner, Arthur Griffiths, completed building the $160 million ($220 million in 2011 dollars) GM Place (now Rogers Arena) in Vancouver.  Arthur Griffiths had inherited the team his father had paid $8.5 million for in 1974.

View More

Why Canadian NHL teams/rinks went bankrupt (Part 1)

There has been considerable spin by the Katz group and some of their friends to convince Edmontonians that the real reason why they can't fund their own arena is that Canadian owners have tried that in the past and have all gone bankrupt because of the arena. View More

The art of subtlety

Edmonton Oilers owner and drug store kingpin, Daryl Katz, and his team at his various Katz Group and Rexall companies are making an art out of subtlety. Take the events of the past couple of days as an example. View More

Steve Paikin falls into the economic development trap

Just happened to catch The Agenda with Steve Paikin last night. You will recall Steve is the very able federal election debate moderator. Last night his show looked at the moving of the Phoenix Coyotes to Southern Ontario. View More

Edmonton Oilers lost money?

Edmonton Oilers President/Katz public subsidy lobbyist Patrick Laforge claimed the other day: "We lost money last year," LaForge says. "We lost quite a bit of money." View More

Pat Laforge succumbs to temptation

Oilers President/Katz Arena salesman Patrick Laforge crossed a very important line recently, and one that I recall Dr. Brad Humpreys warning me would occur.

In David Staple’s story in the Edmonton Journal, Laforge opted to make the unsubstantiated claim that a new arena development would create economic benefits.

In his own words:

“This would be the catalyst for some serious new money to come to the city. ... And whatever comes to downtown Edmonton as a result, related to this investment, would be absolutely found money for Edmonton.”

“It's not just moving money from the left pocket to the right pocket. It creates new business.” (emphasis mine)

Prior to this point the Oilers/Katz group/Mayor had opted not to make this incorrect claim. In fact, they were heeding the advice they received from Dr. Dan Mason and Dr. Rosentraub.

In his final report to the Mayor’s committee (which included Laforge), Dr. Rosentraub expressly wrote:

“[C]ommunity leaders thought (or hoped) that the mere presence of a sports facility would change a city’s image and induce economic development. Independent assessments of the benefits from these facilities, predictably found no economic development enhancements, and no real shifts in a city image.”

He continues:

“If used as an anchor for an overall strategy these facilities could change the location of economic activity”

Or to put it in Laforge-speak: move money from the left pocket to the right pocket.

But now, Mr. Laforge has opted to go against all the expert advice taxpayers and the Oilers paid for, and against virtually all the peer-reviewed academic research on this topic, and start making stuff up.

Funny enough, well over a year ago I recall having a discussion about the Rosentraub paper with Dr. Brad Humphreys (the foremost expert in North America on the economic benefits of new arenas/stadiums, called before Congress to testify about the economic benefits -- or lack thereof -- of the new Yankee stadium) and saying to him something along the lines of: “Hey isn’t it great that the Rosentraub paper points out that there are no economic benefits? I guess that means they won’t be able to make an argument that they know is a blatant lie.”

To which he responded to me something like: “Just wait, they will. They always do.”

Looks like he was right.

View More
In The News

AB: Edmonton Arena controversy

CTF Alberta Director Scott Hennig discusses government funding for the Edmonton Arena. View More
Presentations

Letter to Edmonton City Council - Edmonton Arena

View More
You have the power to change who influences politics in our country: big unions, big corporations and government-funded special interest groups can be challenged by the contributions of thousands of individual taxpayers who care to make a difference.

FEATURED PETITIONS

JOIN US

Join over 81,000 Canadian Taxpayers receiving our Action Update newsletter. I understand that I may unsubscribe at any time.

RECEIVE THE TAXPAYER MAGAZINE!

“False Alarms”“Message Delivered”
The Taxpayer