Two views on the Calgary 2026 debate make their pitch on Global News Morning Calgary

Click to play video: 'Olympian Mark Tewksbury speaks about Calgary’s potential 2026 Olympic bid'
Olympian Mark Tewksbury speaks about Calgary’s potential 2026 Olympic bid
Tue, Nov 6: Olympic gold medalist Mark Tewksbury joins Global News Morning Calgary to discuss Calgary's possible 2026 Olympic bid as an athlete and former Calgarian – Nov 6, 2018

As advanced voting began Tuesday in the Calgary 2026 Olympic plebiscite, members from both sides of the debate came on Global News Morning to make their pitch.

Mark Tewksbury, Olympic gold medalist and Yes Calgary advocate

Canadian Olympic gold medalist Mark Tewksbury told Global News’ Jordan Witzel having the games in Calgary makes sense. He said he’s not pushing a “yes at all costs” as he thinks the deal that was hammered out between the different levels of government is a good one.

“I feel what came through from the federal government is [a] really good deal for Calgary,” he said.

It’s about long-term investments and re-investing in the infrastructure the 1988 games left for Calgary, he said.

“Do we invest so that they have another 30-50 years?” Or as a city, maybe we don’t want to bid for the Olympics and reinvest in this infrastructure, he continued. “Those are the sorts of philosophical questions that are at the underpinning of this bid.”

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He adds that he believes in Calgary and that the city’s youth would help drive the games.

“I can’t help but think the excitement and the spirit of the youth of this city would take this games and run with it and be phenomenal for Albertans and Calgarians,” he said.

Tewksbury said he acknowledges there are issues with International Olympic Committee, but said Calgary has a track record of getting things done the right way.

“Calgary was one of the few cities that was able to take the Olympics, have a profit, and that profit had funded the Olympics in Canada for decades,” he said. “We can do it, we’re smart, we’ll figure it out and we will once again have a model that will, hopefully, be the world’s envy.”

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Erin Waite from No Calgary Olympics

Click to play video: 'Hear from No Calgary as advanced voting on Calgary’s Olympic plebiscite begins'
Hear from No Calgary as advanced voting on Calgary’s Olympic plebiscite begins

Tue, Nov 6: Erin Waite with No Calgary joins Global News Morning Calgary as advanced voting on Calgary’s Olympic plebiscite begins Nov. 6 and 7.

Erin Waite with No Calgary Olympics told Global News Morning’s Dallas Flexhaug that this isn’t the right time for Calgary to be hosting an Olympics.

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“We’re concerned this isn’t the right project for Calgary now,” she said. “I totally agree 1988 was fabulous, we did an awesome job in ’88, but it’s a very different time today. What Calgary needs today going forward is something other than hosting the Olympics.”

Waite said her group is concerned about what won’t be done or built if Calgary were to host.

“For us, it’s about opportunity cost — what won’t we do as Calgary if we choose to do the Olympics.”

She said she’d like to see tax dollars used for other purposes, saying that perhaps Olympic bids should be paid through private money like corporate sponsorships.

The IOC has been dealing with scandals in the past few years, namely the doping issue with Russia, but for Waite, it’s about the host city contract.

“My issue is that the IOC has a host city contract that Calgary would sign and that is a bad deal for Calgary,” she said. “All the requirements are on their side, but all the risk sits with Calgary.”

She said she isn’t against the Olympics in general, but perhaps Calgary should look at hosting after 2026, even in 2030.

“Maybe then we could launch a citizen-led bid, which this has not been. And that was ’88 was — it was citizen-led and maybe that would have a whole different flavour and have a whole different feel to it.”

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To learn more about how you can cast a vote in the plebiscite on Nov. 13, visit our Calgary Olympic Vote page.

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