“We still have a commitment to go to Calgarians and ask them their perspective and we haven’t done that yet,” said Councillor Druh Farrell, talking to reporters during a lunch break at Monday’s city council meeting. “That concerns me more than anything.”
But she says council was informed on the weekend that there just wasn’t enough time to put the question of the Games to a vote.
“We’ve run out of the runway for a proper plebiscite,” she told reporters.
“Says who?” asked Councillor Jeromy Farkas when told of Farrell’s comments. “I haven’t been told that.”
Farkas has been vocal on the idea of putting the Games to a public vote.
“I have to insist that my constituents need to be represented on this,” he said. “If we are to host the Games, that needs to be a decision made by Calgarians and not by a few people — I don’t know who — making this decision in a dark room somewhere.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi also disagreed with what Farrell had told reporters moments earlier.
“That’s not right,” he said. “Um…the timing on a plebiscite is very, very tight.”
Nenshi said he felt a number of conditions would need to be met in order to put the question to Calgarians, including shaping a question which would outline the cost of the Games and the benefits which could come from hosting.
But Farkas rejects the idea that it has to be complicated.
“The question is pretty simple,” he said. “Do you want to host the Games or not?”
The process to date has left Farrell torn on how she would respond if council was asked to vote on whether to hold a plebiscite.
“I don’t like plebiscites. I think they’re not the best way to arrive at a conclusion,” she said. “But if we don’t have a commitment to public consultation, then I will support – reluctantly – a plebiscite.”