A lot of factors helped contribute to Tuesday’s unofficial “no” result in the Olympic plebiscite, but the main culprit appears to be the International Olympic Committee’s tarnished brand.
This, according to Mount Royal University’s David Taras who joined Global News Morning Calgary‘s Jordan Witzel Wednesday morning for some post-plebiscite analysis.
“There’s a lot of nails in the coffin,” he said. “But if you look at the Olympic brand … it’s tarnished.”
“All of that corruption, all of those doping scandals … it was like inviting the Mafia into your living room.”
Another nail — a lack of enthusiasm from the provincial capital he said.
“The province was not interested in this, the province turned its back on Calgary.”
City council as well appeared to skew towards the “no” side he said, almost taking an off-ramp on the issue last month.
“The NOs dominated the debate … there was a huge footprint,” Taras said.
Taras said the plebiscite result is “sort of sad,” in that the city had a chance to build affordable housing and making the city more accessible for persons with disabilities. He said the Olympics might have also helped give the city “an economic jolt.”
Taras added that “the sell” on the bid wasn’t particularly strong and the “yes” side could have gone about it in a smarter fashion.
“I think what was wrong with the sell here was it wasn’t ‘what does this mean for you? how is your life going to be improved?'” he said. “I think it could have been a lot cooler and a lot smarter.”
Another factor was the voter demographic. Taras said it’s likely older Calgarians pushed the vote over to the “no” side.
“I think the voter turnout will skew to older Calgarians.”
He said this is another example of why it’s important to get younger people involved in civic life — no matter the issue.
“I think what’s important is mobilizing young people,” he said. “Young people have to care and have to vote and have to mobilize and have to have ideas and have to feel they count.”
City council will now vote on the non-binding plebiscite on Monday, likely ending the 2026 Olympic bid journey.
WATCH: Global News Morning Calgary’s Doug Vaessen talks about Tuesday’s ‘no’ result in the Olympic plebiscite and what city council will be doing next.