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Rob Breakenridge: Candidates need to stake a claim in Calgary arena debate

WATCH ABOVE: Speaking to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce Monday, Ken King told the crowd “the file is closed” when it comes to a new arena for the Calgary Flames.

After two weeks of arena drama, the back and forth between the two sides may have reached an end – at least for now.

Ultimately, then, it’s up to Calgarians to decide where this issue needs to go from here, and which side needs to make the first move.

Ken King, president and CEO of the Flames’ parent company, spoke at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon Monday where he again asserted that the team’s position has not changed and that they’re no longer pursuing a deal with the city.

WATCH BELOW: Ken King says the Calgary Flames are in “sports not politics”

‘We’re in sports, not politics’: Ken King on backing candidates in Calgary election
‘We’re in sports, not politics’: Ken King on backing candidates in Calgary election

READ MORE: Ken King says Calgary Flames becoming a have-not market in NHL economy

So now that both sides have publicly released their proposals and negotiations have ceased, what needs to happen next?

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For all of King’s talk about this being over, there’s little doubt that if the city suddenly decided they liked the Flames offer after all, that King would be more than happy to take that phone call.

Whatever people might think about the main players here, this debate boils down to dollars and cents.

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Has the city made a fair offer to the Flames? How far should the city be willing to compromise on its position? Those who would like to be the next mayor, or be on city council, should address those questions.

READ MORE: Calgary mayoral candidate Bill Smith ‘expects apology’ after Nenshi’s accusations

Following King’s remarks on Monday, mayoral hopeful Bill Smith declared that he’d be able to get a deal done if elected. However, he did not provide any details. If Smith is prepared to give the Flames what they want, which is obviously one way to get a deal done, he should be prepared to say so.

It’s not unreasonable or unexpected that a difference of opinion would exist between the city and the Flames. Their interests may overlap in some respects, but they don’t totally converge. This is supposed to be a negotiation.

This election can then be a helpful guide for where this negotiation should go from here. Candidates, therefore, should be clear about where they stand.

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Rob Breakenridge is host of “Afternoons with Rob Breakenridge” on Calgary’s NewsTalk 770 and a commentator for Global News.