My Position on the Olympic Plebiscite
Originally posted - April 12, 2018
On Monday morning, I will vote in favour of the public’s right to a plebiscite on the Olympic issue.
For weeks now, Calgarians have demanded the right to be consulted on this item. As they should. A successful Olympic bid has the potential to charter the course of our City for decades. An infrastructure project of this size remains bigger than the will of City Council. Every Calgarian should have the right to freely vote on this issue.
It is ironic that the groups that demanded neutrality and a plebiscite on the issue are the same groups that now want to kill the entire project before it goes to a public vote. This in itself is not a neutral stance.
This morning, it was reported that 55 percent of Calgarians are in favour of pursuing an Olympic Bid. This fact further establishes the need for a plebiscite on the issue. I’d be remised to not point out that now three separate polls have shown a majority of Calgarians support the pursuit of a bid. A plebiscite is the proper and right thing to do.
I remain consistent in my position. In previous posts, I’ve made it clear that there are economic benefits to hosting the Games – an opinion that has been shared by business leaders throughout the City. I am also cognizant that there remain tremendous risks.
By enabling the Bid Corporation to do its job, and do it right, the full extent of the costs and benefits will be made available. This will enable all of us – not just City Council or Administration – to make the best decision for all Calgarians.
I agree that this process has been frustrating so far. However, we must use this as a learning experience to do better in engaging Calgarians. Now is not the time to back out completely from this project.
Calgarians continue to face tough times. We need a solution to kick-start our economy. Hosting the Games is more than just hosting a glorified party. It means investing in our roadways, in our transportation network, and revitalizing ageing infrastructure.
Hosting the Games means filling our restaurants, supporting our tourism industry, and promoting smaller business. It means providing investment security to businesses and global investors. It means getting back the federal and provincial money Calgarians give out disproportionately to the rest of Canada and putting it back into our City. These are the very dollars spent otherwise in places like Victoria, Mississauga, and Montreal, to name a few.
This is a “made in-Calgary” solution to get us out of our economic downturn and ensure Calgary can compete on the international stage. Calgary is no longer a small, regional City of 400,000 people – we are a vibrant, global City capable of anything. That includes hosting a modern Olympics.
Calgarians deserve a voice. And I’ll fight to ensure your right to make a choice on this issue is supported by a plebiscite and full-fledged engagement program. I am committed to supporting whatever the outcome of the plebiscite is.