Federal government to commit up to $1.75B to Calgary Olympic bid

Click to play video: 'Ottawa ready to spend $1.75B on 2026 Olympics if Calgary wins bid'
Ottawa ready to spend $1.75B on 2026 Olympics if Calgary wins bid
WATCH ABOVE: If Calgary wins its bid to host the 2026 Olympics, the federal government will provide up to $1.75 billion for the Games. Sarah Offin reports – Oct 27, 2018

The federal government will commit up to $1.75 billion to a 2026 Winter Olympics in Calgary should the city win its bid to host the Games.

“Hosting major sporting events like the Olympic and Paralympic Games supports our athletes, our communities and our economy,” a spokesperson for the federal government said in a statement Friday night.

“In compliance with the federal hosting policy, the Government of Canada will match the combined provincial and municipal investments, up to $1.75 billion in 2026 dollars, to support the core costs of the event, if the Calgary 2026 bid is successful.”

Kent Hehr, the Liberal MP for Calgary-Centre, said the people behind the Calgary bid know they have “a full partner with the federal government.”

“I was born in this city and I harken back to the good old days when in 1988 we hosted the Olympic Games,” he said. “I think it was one of those things that we as citizens got behind.

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“It left a legacy of infrastructure, memories and different events for people to not only enjoy in 1988, but to build community around it for the last 30 years.”

Regarding news of the investment, Calgary’s mayor released the following statement Friday evening:

“We were surprised to see this number reported for a proposed federal contribution to a potential Calgary 2026 Olympics as negotiations are still underway,” Naheed Nenshi said.

WATCH: Mount Royal College political scienctist David Taras weighs in on the recently reported $1.75 billlion committed by the federal government to a possible Olympics in Calgary.

Click to play video: 'Calgary political scientist weighs in on federal Olympic investment'
Calgary political scientist weighs in on federal Olympic investment

The province announced on Oct. 12 it would contribute $700 million to the Games if the bid is successful. The City of Calgary has yet to disclose what it would contribute.

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Watch below: One day after the federal government said it will commit up to $1.75 billion to a potential 2026 Winter Olympics in Calgary, the Alberta government is standing firm on its commitment of $700 million.

Click to play video: 'Alberta finance minister says $700 million is the final offer for potential Calgary Olympic bid'
Alberta finance minister says $700 million is the final offer for potential Calgary Olympic bid

The Calgary 2026 bid is set at $5.2 billion, with $3 billion of that set to come from the three levels of government.

Considering the federal and provincial investments, the city would have to pony up $550 million to reach that total.

The remainder would be paid for privately via ticket sales, corporate sponsorship and a contribution from the International Olympic Committee in cash and services.

David Taras, a political scientist with Mount Royal University, said “everybody felt the air come out of the balloon” when the provincial government announced how much money it would commit, which he called a “low ball.”

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“This changed the score, it’s changed the dynamic and certainly, for those who want the Games, this is very, very good news,” Taras told Global News on Friday night.

Taras said he found the number surprising, adding the money points to “an example of the Liberals coming in on Calgary’s side when everybody else looked like they were going to let Calgary down.”

“I think [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau does want to play on the global stage, I think Trudeau does believe in sport, I think they want to have a huge sports infrastructure — that’s always been a goal in terms of promoting the country and Canadian nationalism and they did come through today,” Taras said.

Duane Bratt, another policy analyst at MRU, suggested he was surprised with how the funding commitments were announced.

“I would have thought with a project of this magnitude we would have negotiations behind the scenes amongst all three order of government, with representatives from all three levels of government to present a plan,” he said.

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The original price tag for the 2026 bid was $4.6 billion.

Calgarians are set to vote in a plebiscite in November on whether to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

With files from The Canadian Press.

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