Spin spin spin.

Proponents of Calgary’s potential 2026 winter Olympic bid are going into full damage control mode as the secretive and loosely cobbled bid process is falling apart. 

Taxpayers were already getting pretty skeptical with the grossly understated Olympic expenses being proposed from the secret Olympic bid committee and their skepticism has evolved into outright opposition to the bid as real numbers begin to emerge. 

Nenshi and gang were counting on the provincial government to commit at least $1 billion dollars towards the Olympic games.  What they got was a subdued press conference from Joe Ceci held on a Friday afternoon where it was announced that the provincial government will contribute maximum of $700 million to the games and they attached a number of conditions. 

Aside from the 30% reduction in potential provincial funding, the tone and conditions of the funding announcement told a bigger tale as it was clear that the provincial government does not share Naheed Nenshi’s enthusiasm in spending billions of dollars on a two week party while the province remains mired in recession.

They made it clear and repeatedly that the $700 million was a MAXIMUM expenditure from the province. This is their way of saying “don’t even try to ask for more”. They also put transparency conditions upon the funding which were modeled purposely to poke at the most secretive Mayor and council in Canada. Calgarians are becoming increasingly frustrated and annoyed with a city council and administration that doesn’t trust them with information on how their own tax dollars are being spent. Clearly the Notley government doesn’t want to get dragged down in the backlash from this secretive group as an election approaches. 

Even Nenshi is having trouble polishing this Olympic turd these days and it shows in how he is starting to frame his excuse for when the Olympic bid fully falls apart under the opposition of taxpayers in the coming plebiscite. 

“I think if you’re looking at the city putting in $800 million, more than the province, that is not a good deal,” Nenshi said Monday.

Nenshi then began mumbling about some ways that spending can be cut on the games in order to make them feasible. 

Come on! We all know that the $5.3 billion dollar number is grossly low already. Vancouver cost well over $7 billion and Tokyo is now looking at a staggering $25 billion and growing for their games. Don’t bullshit us further in claiming that you can make that $5.3 billion dollar number even smaller. We would be lucky to come in at $10 billion in reality. 

Lets talk about measures of public support. 

As is usual, Nenshi has tapped the services of Stephen Carter in pushing for this multi-billion dollar pet project. A hallmark of a Carter campaign is to typically see a leading polls which all lead to the conclusion that the pollster wants to see. This was heavily and successfully utilized in Nenshi’s first mayoral campaign and we saw a taste of it last winter as a grossly weighted “engagement” was put out by the city where people had to answer about a dozen leading questions in order to register a simple no vote. 

The Olympic “yes” side is heavily funded and has experienced campaigners. Despite this, we have not seen a series of poll results released showing momentum for the games bid.

We know the polls are being done, so why are we not seeing any results? 

Its because polls are showing a broad lack of support among taxpayers for the games!

There can be no other reason. Campaigning 101 calls for using positive polls to try and build upon supportive momentum. The only reason one would not do this is if there simply isn’t enough of a support base to begin with and the momentum just can’t be built. 

The city of Calgary put out an engagement poll a couple weeks ago on their site. 

Despite the constant positive cheerleading from the city, they still can’t manage a glimmer of positive support from taxpayers as nearly 4,000 people have taken part in the process and 80% remain opposed to bidding on the Olympic games!

Olympic cheerleaders are understandably mortified by this public relations backfire. They have lamely tried to claim that their process was “hijacked” by opponents to the games. Their desperate reaction is sadly laughable. 

The only thing that the site was “hijacked” by was reality. 

People simply can’t bring themselves to support this terribly Olympic game bid while we remain in a recession. 

I posted a 24 hour poll on Twitter yesterday. It clearly will have a slanted outcome as I have been a vocal opponent of the Olympic bid and my following reflects that. All the same, I cant control who votes which way and proponents can’t be kept from voting. With an open vote such as that, 75% or so in support of my view would be expected. 

With 360 people voting in 24 hours even I was surprised as we found 91% of people opposed bidding on the games. 

Yes, in the end only one poll counts and that will be the one held on November 13. 

Right now though, it is looking very unlikely that Calgarians are willing to embrace this extremely expensive venture proposed by the Mayor and his gang. 

Expect the spin to get more desperate and shrill as proponents continue to push the games in light of dwindling support. 

It is going to be an ugly few weeks yet but it appears that Calgarians see through it. Lets just hope they make a point to get out and vote. 

A demonstration of the left view on economics.

Last night was a quiet one in my pub. Being a Thanksgiving with poor weather this isn’t surprising. That leaves me with some time to mess around on social media while working. 

As is common with me, I tweeted about something that happened during the evening in the bar as it was representative of happenings in all restaurants in our current economic climate. 

While I often post thoughts and things with the intention of stirring the pot, I really didn’t think much of the tweet I was sending out. I didn’t see it as being provocative or controversial. 

I sure didn’t anticipate the vitriolic and hysteric reaction that it was going to draw from the left. The tweet is below:

Again, the tweet really shouldn’t be that controversial. It was a simple statement on business reality. Restaurants and bars have just had an added expense due to the increase in minimum wages in Alberta. All restaurants will have to examine ways to recoup this new expense. We have limited options as business owners as many of our costs are fixed. We can cut staff hours and benefits, we can try to reduce food costs through reductions in portion sizes and we can raise prices. There is simply no choice in this matter. 

My place like most has worked with a combination of these options. Every action has a reaction. If you raise prices too high, patrons will stop coming in. If you cut staff too far, service will suffer & patrons will stop coming in. If you cut portions too deeply, patrons will take note of this as well and it can cost you some business. As many of our pub clientele are ranchers and other working folks, we have typically provided large portions for those large appetites. We have however had to make adjustments. The patron who noted the portion reduction was actually quite understanding when I explained why we did so. Your average person doesn’t dwell on these things until they see the expense directly. 

My tweet was as innocuous as stating “my rent has increased so I had to make changes to deal with that new expense”. I wasn’t delving into the whole debate on the merits of minimum wage increases and such. 

Its not like I said something like “Tommy Douglas supported eugenics!” (though he did). 

With the response from the haywire left though, you would think I did. 

Within minutes, union activist David Climenhaga jumped out of the gates with this tweet: 


He sure can read a lot into a tweet. Where was I bragging? When did I mention or blame the poor? I didn’t offend the customer at all. I simply had discourse to explain our changes in business practices. 

Apparently one shouldn’t even speak of such things as that is a poor economic reality. 

Thankfully I am wise enough not to take business advice from union activists. That is how we have managed to remain profitable in such a tight margin industry this last few years. 

Next I got this gem: 

Yes. This fellow is hoping that I go out of business for daring to point out that I had to reduce portion sizes. He would rather see me lay off 14 people than cut portion sizes. 

Thankfully, I have learned to ignore business advice from virtue signalers who insist on wearing their bicycle helmets in profile pictures. 

Seriously though, what the hell is the matter with these people? 

Then there was this fellow:

Dude? “End of days predictions?” 

I tweeted about reducing portion sizes. 

I really was scratching my head. Why were these people all going so haywire over what was a simple statement on an economic action. 

Finally I got the vapid tweet below which caused the light to come on and help me understand where these people were coming from: 

Because I am bound by reality, I truly didn’t see it. I understand what business owners make and never considered how the envious left looks at things. 

They think that we restaurant owners are making shitloads of profit. We are all swimming in money bins and can easily just cut into our mountains of profit every time the government adds an expense to our operations. 

I am surely a greedy asshole! How dare I pass on these expenses to consumers when I sit upon millions! 

Restaurant margins are notoriously low. 4% on average according to Stats Canada. That means that a medium to small restaurant usually only pays its owner about $40,000 per year. The hours are long and few places have some sort of salary on top of that. Restaurant ownership is a passion and not a way to get rich. 

The Calgary Chamber estimates that government incurred expenses will cost the average restaurant nearly $61,000 this year. On top of that is the usual increase of $17,600 bringing the total new expenses to nearly $80,000!

These new expenses are well over what the average restaurant owner makes. There is no deep pocket to reach into and peel off bills in order to pay these new expenses. There is no money tree in the back where a fresh harvest can be made. Restaurants are forced to deal with these expenses from within and they are doing so. 

One has to look at the deranged outlook of the left in order to understand why they despise and demonize business owners who are forced to deal with market realities in the only ways they can. The left is incapable of seeing economic reality. There is little hope in reasoning with them. 

Hayek said it best: “If socialists understood economics, they wouldn’t be socialists.”. 

Some of the left activists do understand that businesses have to pass expenses on down to the consumer but they sure as hell do not want to hear about it. That exposes how cost of living rises, unemployment grows and all of the benefits of minimum wage increases become short term at best. 

I am not sure which is worse. The disingenuous left who want to hide the reality that minimum wage increases do nothing to help the poor, or the fiscally illiterate left who feel that money and resources are being held back by greedy business owners in the industry. 

I will never share the outlook of the left on economics but due to the responses to my simple tweet I have gained more insight into their way of thinking. 

I guess I should thank them for that if nothing else. 

When spending tax dollars, yes we need to be selective.

Most of us were pretty skeptical right off the bat when it was claimed that Mary Moran’s role in heading the secretive tax funded Bidco would be in engaging Calgarians on considering an Olympic bid rather than pushing for one side or another in the debate.  When it was announced that she would be taking leave from her highly paid appointment as the head of Calgary Economic Development in order to lead Bidco, it was reported that she would be receiving a large bonus if taxpayers were convinced to vote in favor of an Olympic bid. The back peddling was quick and this apparent bonus was removed from her already generous compensation package. Flip flopping, secrecy and deception have already become hallmarks associated with the organized proponents of Calgary’s potential Olympic bid and it will only get worse.

All pretenses of Moran’s objectivity were shed within weeks as she pulled out all the stops in pushing Calgarians towards embracing an Olympic bid. She almost sounds hysteric as she actually invoked Brexit at one time and tried guilting a business group into supporting the games by implying that the current generation will be selfish and robbing the next generation if we refuse to embrace the Olympic bid. 

To be honest, I am hoping that Mary Moran is as effective in pushing Calgarians into accepting and Olympic bid as she has been in her role in leading Calgary Economic Development. While we see her at many functions and giving many flowery speeches, we really are not seeing any return on our efforts as downtown Calgary remains a virtual ghost town with nearly 30% vacancy in the office buildings. 

Moran got rather upset as economists along with other experts in the field exposed the proposed Olympic bid to be the absurd, low balled and poorly conceived concept that it is. Moran’s response reported in the National Post is below: 

This rather vapid justification for the spending of billions on the Olympics is distressing to say the least when one considered that it is coming from the person appointed to head Calgary Economic Development. She is essentially tossing out a shallow Keynesian case for spending in saying ‘who cares where the money is spent, as long as it is spent!’.  

People with a notion of economic acumen understand that at this stage in an extended downturn it is more incumbent upon us than ever to be selective in where we will be expending our increasingly finite public funds. 

The bottom line is that the Olympics leave little in the way of a productive legacy, they almost always come in way over budget and as has been demonstrated in Vancouver, they didn’t even significantly increase the tourist revenue in the year that they were held. The games are a one time event that really only benefit the local political elite as travel and cocktail parties become the norm for years in the buildup and end with a two week party where local taxpayers will have to pay exorbitant ticket prices to see the events. 

The estimate of the games coming in at $5.2 billion has been laughed out of consideration though Bidco is doggedly sticking to their guns on that. We will be lucky to come in at under $10 billion. 

Let’s be selective despite the council of Mary Moran and see where that money could possibly be spent with better returns. 

I will split the difference and assume that the games will come in at $7 billion. I know that this is split among multiple levels of government and that there will be some revenues (mostly coming from Albertans anyway) but it always has to be remembered that there is only one taxpayer. All of Canada will be paying for the games and Calgarians will get to pay on all three levels of government. 

Let’s look at what we can get with the expenditure of $7 billion tax dollars to help put things into perspective here. 

In light of our recent weather catastrophe

Would you rather double the Calgary snow removal budget for over 50 years….?

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends?

Would you rather cut business taxes and parking rates in order to address the 30% office building vacancy in Calgary….

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends?  

Would you rather build a few new hospitals or even dozens of new emergency trauma centers in Alberta….

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends?

Would you rather end potholes in Calgary for the next century…

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends?

Would you rather give out 7,000 seed money grants and loans to entrepreneurs who would draw investors into Alberta and employ tens of thousands….

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends…

Would you like to build the entire Green line as opposed to the one cut in half due to city hall blowing the budget estimates….

Or would you like to hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends? 

The comparisons are endless as pretty much any damn expenditure is better for Albertans than pissing billions into a white elephant Olympic games. 

It is little wonder that Nenshi and his Olympic cheerleaders are working so hard to hide the real cost of the games from taxpayers. Even their grossly low balled $5.2 billion dollar figure is huge expenditure to make when our troubled economy already has so many areas of need. 

Yes, we need to be selective with where we spend our very limited tax dollars. To be frank, I think Moran should be dumped from Calgary Economic Development for this cavalier display of contempt for responsible spending. This is not a person who has the mind to bring viable enterprises to Calgary. 

Calgarians need to vote en masse to reject this whimsical waste of money not only to save today, but to send a message to city hall that they have had enough of this senseless waste of tax funds. The next generation counts on our getting our fiscal act together today. 

Or we could hold a two week party,