Why Calgary shouldn't bid for the Olympics

You could say it’s none of our business whether Calgary bids for the 2026 Winter Olympics. But if the federal government is asked to commit a contribution of $1.2 billion to support the Games, then it’s something all Canadians should care about.

There is certainly lots of pride associated with an Olympic Games and there is some evidence that it can promote tourism and create a legacy of new infrastructure and sports facilities. But there are also many reasons to avoid the Olympics, including the risk of cost overruns and security threats. And then there’s a matter of having to deal with the International Olympic Committee, the sometimes shady and always archaic old boys’ club you must wine and dine to win the bid process.

When money is tight, as it is in Alberta and across Canada right now, it’s hard to justify throwing billions in the direction of the Olympic movement rather than addressing homelessness, shortening wait times in hospitals or fighting mental illness or opioid overdoses. I enjoy watching the Olympics but I’d rather someone other than Canadians pay the cost of staging them.

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