The Canadian Taxpayers Federation took to the steps of Calgary City Hall on Thursday to praise the actions of an anonymous whistleblower responsible for leaking Olympic secrets to the media.
Franco Terrazzano, the Alberta director of the CTF, told reporters the unknown leaker within city hall is looking out for the public interest.
“Us Calgarians should be very thankful to the whistleblower, whoever he or she may be,” Terrazzano said.
The leaked report in question outlined financial risks of Calgary’s 2026 Olympic bid, as well as a proposed location for the athlete’s village; where the Victoria Park bus barns currently sit. The report also highlighted costs associated with potentially relocating the bus barns.
“The priority for elected officials should not be to win an Olympic bid at all costs,” Terrazzano said. “The No. 1 priority should be to look out for the public interest and in this case that means making sure all the information is on the table for Calgarians to have an informed vote.”
Terrazzano also called on the whistleblower to leak more Olympic documents, much to the displeasure of the mayor, who called for a forensic audit of council following the leak.
“It is fascinating to me that an organization that claims to be about the grassroots is encouraging someone to do something that is in fact illegal,” Naheed Nenshi said on Thursday.
With the topic of transparency and secrecy surrounding the Olympic bid sitting top of mind for many, Ward 1 Councillor Jeromy Farkas is trying to address concern over more in-camera meetings at city hall; an upward trend he calls “alarming.” Farkas filed a notice of motion to limit the amount of times council goes in-camera, as well as more oversight for city council.
“What we’ve seen is Calgary City Council spends more time in these closed-door meetings than any other city in Canada, by a longshot,” Farkas said. “What I’ve heard from my constituents is the secrecy that’s taken hold in city hall is something we need to tackle.”
According to Farkas, council spent between five and 10 per cent of their time in closed-door meetings in 2007, increasing to 20 per cent in the following terms. But most recently, Farkas claims that number has jumped to 40 per cent.
“We’re seeing the secrecy play out on a number of different issues,” Farkas said. “Not just the amount of time that council spends, but also on really important information like really core detailed financial analysis of the Olympic bid.”
“Secrecy is not at all on the rise, that’s ridiculous to say,” Nenshi said. “We continue to be one of the most transparent governments anywhere in the country — we don’t have caucus meetings, we don’t have meetings behind closed doors.”
It’s not known when council will debate Farkas’ motion.
Calgarians will vote on whether or not they want to see an Olympic bid go forward on Nov. 13.