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.
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.