Honourable Mr. Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism Alberta Government Executive Branch 227 Legislature Building 10800 - 97 Avenue Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
Mr. Evan Woolley, Councillor, Ward 8, Chair, Olympic Bid Oversight Committee City of Calgary P. O. Box 2100, Station M, #8001B, Calgary,AB T2P 2M5
RE: Adhering to funding terms for August 18, 2018 Calgary2026 Bid Exploration
August 20, 2018
Dear Mr. Miranda and Mr. Woolley,
I am sharing with you my concern for the process underway to explore a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic games. While it is often acknowledged as a partnership between three levels of government, the public is truly a partner in this endeavour. It is taxpayer money that will ultimately carry the burden and if the games were to go ahead, it would only be possible with extensive, volunteer labour donated willingly by those same taxpayers.
With this understanding of the resource requirements to host an Olympics, I offer my concerns, as a taxpayer in Calgary, for the exploration process. I appreciate your letter, Mr. Miranda, that outlined the terms of the Alberta Government’s support of this exploration process. With that letter in mind, I ask for a response from both of you on the following:
♦ Neutral, or balanced, public engagement from June to November 2018 was a commitment
for this process. Is some compromised level of engagement that begins on an undefined date in September acceptable for a November 13 plebiscite date? Will that result in a valid plebiscite?
♦ Information about the Bid plans is being disseminated to funded groups that are working to
influence Calgarians to vote ‘yes’ on the plebiscite. Why are information and facts about the Bid going to this group directly, without even being shared with the City of Calgary Olympic Oversight Committee or the general public?
♦ The corporation, Calgary2026 or BidCo, is funded with government dollars to research and develop a Bid book for the International Olympic Committee (IOC). While this Bid should include a goal of winning the competitive Bid process, Calgary2026 needs to have an over- arching objective of protecting the interests of the City of Calgary and Calgarians. If Calgary2026 was an independently funded body, then it could set its own mandate. But it is government funded.
Calgary2026 is publicly stating its mandate as only winning a competitive bid. That goal considers the interests of the IOC to the exclusion of the interests of Calgarians and Albertans.
♦ The plebiscite question refers to being for or against Calgary ‘hosting the 2026 Olympics.’
This omits the step of the competitive bidding process that is required for Calgary to be the host city. Omitting that from the question misinforms the public that could believe Calgarians are deciding whether or not Calgary is the host city. But it is the IOC making that decision.
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Further, the fact that there is a competitive bid process to become a host city is important to understand. By not including that understanding in the question, the question understates the risks of the process.
Your letter to me, Mr. Miranda, implied that the Alberta Government’s support to the City of Calgary to explore the bid was conditional on public engagement, a plebiscite and a fair appreciation of the risks and costs of hosting the Olympics. I worry that, on top of the other risks of hosting the Olympics, the City is not meeting the spirit or intent of the conditions for funding and will have the additional burden of repaying that funding.
I would be happy to meet with or discuss the above concerns at your convenience. I trust that we all share concern for what’s best for Calgary and Alberta.
Communications Lead, No Calgary Olympics nocalgaryolympics.org
cc: Ms. Druh Farrell, Councillor, Ward 7
Mr. Jeff Fielding, City of Calgary Manager
NoCalgaryOlympics.org is a campaign that is based on asking tough questions in a respectful way, recognizing that there are as many different views about the Olympics as there are Calgarians. When we worried that assumptions and claims about the benefits of hosting the Olympics risked not being assessed or challenged, we started this campaign.