Alberta’s finance minister has accused the Canadian government of negotiating in bad faith over a funding arrangement for Calgary to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.
The minister, Joe Ceci, told reporters at the NDP convention in Edmonton that the province’s pledge of $700 million for the Olympics was based on a federal commitment of $1.75 billion in 2018 dollars and came after weeks of negotiations. Late Friday, a spokeswoman for Sport Minister Kirsty Duncan said the federal contribution of up to $1.75 billion would match combined provincial and municipal investments and would be based on 2026 dollars.
Ceci said the commitment wasn’t contingent on a 50-50 matching arrangement.
“Yesterday, we found out through the media that the federal government is moving the goalpost in the fourth quarter and negotiating through the media,” he said, according to The Canadian Press. “If they put the goalposts back, we’re happy to keep talking, but we’re not going to engage in these kind of bad-faith tactics.”
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi also seemed caught off guard by the federal government’s announcement.
“We were surprised to see this number reported for a proposed federal contribution to a potential Calgary 2026 Olympics, as negotiations are still underway,” Nenshi said.
The city has said it wouldn’t declare its share until the Canadian government made its number known. Calgary voters are being asked Nov. 13 whether they want to host the games a second time (1988).
The Calgary 2026 bid corporation estimates it would cost $5.2 billion to host the Olympics. The city, province and Canadian government have been asked for a combined public investment of $3 billion.
The International Olympic Committee has invited Calgary, Stockholm and a joint Italian bid from Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo to be candidates for 2026. The IOC will accept bids in January, with the decision announced in June.