Province willing to spend $700M to host Olympics
Calgary 2026 plan called for investment of $1 billion from Alberta government
The Alberta government has pledged $700 million toward the cost of Calgary hosting the 2026 Winter Games — short of the $1 billion hoped for by the city.
Calgary 2026’s plan pegs the total public investment required to host the Games at $3 billion.
Previous cost projections have suggested the provincial contribution needed to be closer to $1 billion to meet the costs outlined in the draft host plan presented last month.
Finance Minister Joe Ceci said some conditions will have to be met for provincial funding to go to the Games.
The province’s money is contingent upon Calgarians voting in favour of hosting the Olympics in a Nov. 13 plebiscite. At a news conference Friday morning, Ceci clarified that the province is looking for a simple majority of 50 per cent plus one.
He also parried questions about whether the provincial funding amount is an impediment to Calgary’s bid proceeding.
“It was a number we felt comfortable putting in relative to the situation we’re in at the provincial government level,” he said.
“I would say that $700 million is not anything to sneeze at. It is first out of the gate. We’re committing to that amount of money, we’re hopeful that the other orders of government will assess that and see the relative value of that contribution.”
In an open letter to the City of Calgary and the Government of Canada, Ceci laid out some other conditions of the province’s support.
The province won’t provide any additional funds to cover revenue shortfalls or cost overruns, Ceci stated. He also said the province isn’t willing to provide any form of financial guarantee to backstop Games-related costs, as B.C. did for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
Ceci’s letter also touched on one of the more contentious criticisms made of Calgary’s bid to date.
The province says it will require Calgary 2026 become subject to provincial transparency and freedom of information laws, “or other equivalent rules or regulations.”
“This is not an unsubstantial amount of money and Albertans should know where it goes and how it is dealt with,” Ceci said Friday.
With the province’s financial commitment public, all eyes turn to the other orders of government.
While the federal government’s financial commitment has not yet been announced, Ottawa’s policy on hosting international sporting events is that it will cover up to 50 per cent of the public portion of the bill.
The City of Calgary’s contribution has not yet been made public.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi and council’s Olympic committee chairman, Evan Woolley, issued a joint statement in response to the news Friday.
“We’re pleased that the province has come forward with their investment. We have to analyze this announcement, while continuing our conversations with the Government of Canada,” the statement read.
“We imagine there will be more to say about the city and federal government contributions in the next few days.”
Calgary 2026 chairman Scott Hutcheson issued a statement Friday in response to the province’s announcement.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates solid progress and support from the Government of Alberta and we are thankful for that,” Hutcheson said.
“We are also pleased our other government partners — the City of Calgary and the federal government — continue to move forward with their discussions and negotiations. We will continue to offer our support, where needed.”