Canada Commonwealth show bid irk taxpayers


Calgary and Edmonton considering bid for Commonwealth Games Image: Calgary skyline, AceYYC, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has appealed for referendums to be held in Calgary and Edmonton (Canada) over the staging of the 2030 Commonwealth Games as groups speak out against a potential Alberta bid.

‘inside the games’ stated that Alberta has been selected as the Commonwealth Sport Canada’s preferred bidder for the Games in seven years’ time after the collapse of the Hamilton campaign.

The 2030 Commonwealth Games, officially known as the XXIV Commonwealth Games, will be held in 2030 for members of the Commonwealth. 2030 will mark the centenary of the Games, first held as the British Empire Games, which has been held under various names (British Empire and Commonwealth Games, British Commonwealth Games and finally Commonwealth Games) on a quadrennial basis ever since, save for the Games canceled due to World War II.

Commonwealth Sport Canada, formerly Commonwealth Games Canada, is the Commonwealth Games Association of Canada responsible for Commonwealth Games and the Commonwealth Sports movement in Canada.

‘inside the games’ further stated that Hamilton had hoped to secure the hosting rights for the event which would have marked the 100th anniversary of the first British Empire Games.

But the bid was shelved due to a lack of Government support with the proposed CAD1.1 billion (£680 million/$820 million/€765 million) operating budget believed to have a key factor in the opposition.

The Alberta Government has committed up to CAD2 million (£1.2 million/$1.4 million/€1.37 million) to a study assessing the feasibility of the bid, while Edmonton and Calgary are expected to add CAD1 million (£600,000/$725,000/€680,000) each to cover the next phase of the exploration process.

A projected budget for the Games has yet to be revealed but the CTF has criticised the proposed Alberta bid and called for a public vote on the matter.

Commented Kris Sims, Alberta Director for the advocacy group, “People are fighting to afford groceries right now and there’s no way taxpayers should be forced to pay for an expensive global sporting event without even being asked first. We need a vote on this before a single nickel of taxpayers’ money is spent on this plan, because if taxpayers are going to get stuck with another big bill, the least the politicians can do is to ask us if we want to pay for it.”

Calgary previously hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics and had attempted to bid for the 2026 edition only to collapse in 2018 after a plebiscite to reject the idea.

Roger Jackson, President and Chief Executive of the Alberta 2030 Commonwealth Games Cooperation, said there were no plans to hold another plebiscite as they look to formally issue their bid to the Commonwealth Games Federation by August this year – “This will be a measured, thoughtful review of the opportunity over several more months of work and at some point in time, which is probably late Summer, we will be able to have Governments decide whether they wish to proceed or not.”

City of Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek added, “I don’t know where things are going to land through the exploration so not sure yet it will require a plebiscite. I am really hopeful people will see the value of this type of investment.”

Peter McCaffrey was behind the ‘No Calgary’ campaign that was opposed to the City staging the 2026 Winter Olympics.

He is head of the Alberta Institute which has joined the Common Sense Calgary and Common Sense Edmonton in criticizing a possible Alberta bid for the 2030 Commonwealth Games.

Maintained McCaffrey, “I’m not saying it won’t be fun but is that really the best thing we should be spending taxpayer money on right now? We don’t think so. People are struggling to put food on the table and pay their electricity bills, and the Government, whether that be provincial or municipal, are now thinking about spending billions of dollars on what is essentially a big party.”

The 2026 Winter Olympics, officially the XXV Olympic Winter Games and also known as Milano Cortina 2026, is an upcoming international multisport event scheduled to take place from February 6th-22nd, 2026. The event will have the Italian Cities of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo as the main Host Cities.

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