OK, I am far from a fan of Rachel Notley and the NDP but I do believe in credit where it is due.
Rachel Notley has used common sense and potentially put the brakes on what could have been one of the worst backroom screwings of taxpayers in Alberta history when she put the condition of a plebiscite on provincial funding for the 2026 bid.
Hasn’t it seemed odd that despite years being spent on the Olympic file and millions of dollars spent, that the bid seems as if it was cobbled together on short notice? That is because it was!
Nenshi and a small gang of the city’s elites have had the 2026 Olympics in their sights for years. What a grand party they planned to have. Dozens of six figure salary positions can be created for friends while cocktail parties are held, ribbons are cut and trips are expensed to the taxpayers all in the name of working on the Olympic games.
That grand self-serving dream came to a sudden grinding halt when the Notley government announced that they wouldn’t give Nenshi a penny for the Olympics without seeing an affirmative vote in a plebiscite in Calgary.
Nenshi’s tantrum when this came down is rumored to be legendary. Hours were spent in secret city hall meetings hidden from taxpayer scrutiny where he alternated between raving and browbeating in hopes of finding a way to bypass taxpayer approval on what would have been his grandest personal vanity project to date.
It was all to no avail. The taxpayers were going to have their say and Nenshi couldn’t stop it.
Nenshi and gang had suddenly gone from arrogant and confident on their project to arrogant and desperate (the arrogance never goes away). How on earth would they cobble a plausible bid together in short order when they had done little aside from popping champagne corks in the confidence that they had pulled their project off. It was now time to scramble.
Bidco was slapped together as a private organization funded with public dollars in order to maintain the ideal of secrecy that Nenshi embraces. Mary Moran was pulled from her file with Calgary Economic Development (an ineffective and expensive arm of city hall) and given a nearly $300,000 salary along with bonuses for a successful bid (the bonuses were removed quickly as the scandal began to break). Millions taxpayer’s dollars were poured into Bidco with no control aside from a mandate to get the Olympic games at any cost.
The comedy errors has continued for months as Bidco screwed up essentially every part of building a viable bid. What can you expect? These people were appointed as Olympic cheerleaders. They are Olympic salespeople. They clearly have utterly no real fiscal sense or organizational skill.
At the last possible minute, the collection of clowns released a grotesque bid plan of sorts in a desperate effort to stave off a shutdown of the bid by city council. While the majority of council wanted to stop this train wreck from proceeding, Nenshi had managed to browbeat enough members into supporting the bid and breathing a little more life into this underfunded, poorly planned monster.
Now the decision is exactly where Nenshi never wanted it to be. The choice is in the hands of Calgarian taxpayers who will be voting this Tuesday.
It has been stomach turning watching all city resources being directed to selling this bid to taxpayers. We will never know exactly what Bidco spent on what as Nenshi and gang purposely made it into a secret organization. I do hope that there is some sort of public audit of this after all is said and done though as I expect there are still a number of scandals hiding in there.
Will Calgarians see through this sales job? Will they reject being force fed on an Olympic bid with their own dollars?
We will find out in a few days.
One thing we can say with confidence though is that this bid would have been rammed down the throats of taxpayers with utterly no consultation if Notley had not forced the Olympic gang to go directly to the taxpayers on it.
For that, if possibly nothing else I thank you Premier Notley.
Now get out there and vote NO on Tuesday folks.