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Cost-sharing agreement up in air ahead of Calgary Olympic plebiscite

Last Updated Oct 20, 2018 at 2:12 pm MDT

Canada Olympic Park (Sandra Prusina - 660 NEWS)

The plebiscite vote is on Nov. 13

Calgary 2026's plan estimated cost of hosting at $5.2 billion, asks three levels of government to contribute $3 billion

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — The City of Calgary has still not reached an agreement with the provincial or federal governments when it comes to cost-sharing for a potential 2026 Olympic bid.

“How are the people of Calgary (…) going to vote without knowing that?” asked Ward 4 Councillor Sean Chu.

And he wasn’t the only one asking this question during a special council meeting Tuesday morning, just over a month ahead of the plebiscite.

“We’re placing way, way too much weight on this plebiscite,” said Ward 13 Councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart. “I worry about how plebiscites can get hijacked, by either side, and there’s no limitation on the amount of money that can go into a plebiscite.”

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the province has promised their numbers will be available this week, which is 30 days before the plebiscite, but says in isolation, they will be meaningless and kind of misleading.

“Then people won’t know what the split is between the federal government other sources and the city of Calgary,” said Nenshi. “My advice to the province would be, don’t put that number out even though you promised to put it out 30 days in advance until the federal number is available.”

Colley-Urquhart also wanted clarification about a comment made by Liberal Member of Parliament for the riding of Calgary Centre Kent Hehr, on whether or not he was he speaking on behalf of the Government of Canada, or the Prime Minister.

“The Government of Canada really wants to see where the citizens of Calgary are at in the plebiscite before we commit, basically was his message,” she asked Nenshi, who responded with “everything we’ve heard is they are going to release the number before the plebiscite. It’s just their timing is, for me, too close to the plebiscite.”

The vote is on Nov. 13 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, The International Olympic Committee invited Calgary to compete for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Calgary, Stockholm and Milan-Cortina, Italy, got the IOC’s stamp of approval to bid for 2026 in a members vote in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Coincidentally, Calgary beat out Swedish and Italian entries — Falun and Cortina — to host the 1988 Winter Olympics.