It’s often said the wheels of progress turn slowly. Ask anyone trying to lobby government for any kind of change (or, say, get a pipeline built) and they’ll agree. However, when it comes to the #Calgary2026 bid to host the 2026 Olympic Paralympic Winter Games, politicians are keeping their ears and eyes wide open.
There’s a lot at stake for all parties (political and otherwise, #IOC excluded) in this risky venture: unknown costs, who’ll pay for what, the delicate (dare we say fragile) economic recovery of our city and province, and now growing international differences (NAFTA and Saudi Arabia come to mind as more than little stones in our shoes).
Then there are those elections looming in the wings, with Alberta voters headed to the polls in the spring before joining all Canadians in the federal election in October 2019. What to do, what to do…can any politician risk adding to the financial burdens that weigh on the shoulders of each and every taxpayer? Can they courageously open the vaults to write blank cheques to cover the inevitable (and historic) cost overruns that the IOC has conveniently excluded itself from any responsibility?
As #Calgary2026 decides how to get the province and the feds to the arm wrestling match known as the Multi Party Agreement, concerned citizens are taking to writing their elected officials and voicing concerns over the grave financial risks of hosting the world on our dime. And these MLAs, MPs, Ministers, Opposition Leaders and even the Premier’s office are responding in record time. They are concerned about public reaction, and are acutely aware they have to make the right decision under a tight timelines. It’s not even a subtle suggestion that the plebiscite was required by the Alberta Government #ableg as a means of getting off the hook.
So take a few minutes away from Twitter, hit the keyboard and pound out a letter or two to your provincial and federal representatives. Tell the Honourable Ricardo Miranda (Alberta Minister of Culture and Tourism), Honourable Joe Ceci (Minister of Finance) and your own MLA how you feel about the province turning more, and likely unlimited, funds over to this endeavour. Write to Premier Notley expressing your concerns. While you’re at it, send a note to Ottawa (particularly Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, Honourable Kent Hehr, Member of Parliament, Calgary Centre and copy your own MP) explaining why you believe this is neither the time nor the way to say “We support Calgary.” And let us know when you receive your reply.
We want all levels of our government to say, “If the #IOC is so committed to reform, let them carry the risk. If the #IOC needs Calgary so badly, let them show how much they want their party in our city.”
Letters to the Alberta Government should be addressed to Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Finance, Joe Ceci, and copy your own MLA. You can find their contact info here.
As well, with the United Conservative Party in process of selecting candidate MLAs, a letter to your riding UCP candidate, once established, would be helpful to remind them of the need to hold the line on taxes and reduce, not add to, debt. To see if your riding has a UCP candidate yet, check here.
Letters to the Government of Canada should be directed to Minister of Science and Sport, Kirsty Duncan, as well as Calgary MP, Kent Hehr and copy your own MP. You can find their contact info here
Politicians are listening, and that in itself is nice to know.