Enjoy the first Sprawlcast Slice! Councillor Shane Keating takes the Olympic file from Mayor Nenshi’s hands (sort of), Councillor Jyoti Gondek fires back at business leaders and Nenshi retains his legendary swagger despite #Calgary2026 missteps.
City council has voted 9–6 to continue work on the 2026 Olympic bid, with councillors expressing unease with the process so far—even as Mayor Naheed Nenshi applauded it as “the most transparent process in Olympic history.”
Council tilted toward the former, voting to create a new oversight subcommittee that won’t be led by the mayor.
“I do believe that if we’re going to be open, transparent and make sure the process changes, the mayor cannot be leading it anymore,” said Councillor Shane Keating, who proposed the subcommittee. “It must be a council member who can come back to council with credibility of neutrality.”
The new group will be made up of four councillors, slated to be chosen next week, and the mayor.
If in fact I was trying to sell people on the Olympics, I would have done it. —Mayor Naheed Nenshi
After hearing numerous criticisms from councillors about how the process has been a mess—with the mayor’s office in the know and everyone else left in the dark at various points—Nenshi took issue and defended the work so far.
What Calgary has done, he said, will be a template for other bid cities in future: “This has been called the most transparent process in Olympic history.”
Er, not quite.
The mayor was alluding to a tweet from GamesBids.com journalist Robert Livingstone, who covers Olympic bids worldwide.
The mayor left out two key words: one of the most transparent.
Also, this is the second time (that we know of—there may be more) that this tweet has been publicly quoted/misquoted at city hall in defence of Calgary’s Olympic bid process.
Time for a corroborating source.
So where does this leave Nenshi, who has pushed this along for nearly two years while attempting to appear neutral? After the vote, Nenshi was asked who would champion the “yes” side in a plebiscite, if not him.
“This weekend we saw a huge waking up of what I think is the silent majority in this city. We saw athletes, we saw business leaders, we saw people from across the community… really standing up and saying this is important. So I think there’s a lot of champions out there.
But, we pointed out, you’ve been the one leading this so far—but you haven’t owned that.
“Let’s just put it this way. I’d like to believe that I’m a better salesperson than that,” said Nenshi. “And if in fact I was trying to sell people on the Olympics, I would have done it.”
Jeremy Klaszus is editor-in-chief of The Sprawl.
Support in-depth Calgary journalism.Sign Me Up!
This is a dire time for the news industry in Canada—and we need your support now more than ever. The Sprawl connects Calgarians with their city through in-depth, curiosity-driven journalism, but we can only keep doing this if readers and listeners pitch in. Join us by becoming a Sprawl member today!