Robocalls and emails: Last-minute campaigning before 2026 Games vote
Ben Cousins, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Tuesday, November 13, 2018 8:21PM EST
Before Calgarians voted on whether to pursue a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics, politicians on both sides of the debate engaged in some last-minute campaigning.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, one of the strongest supporters of the “Yes” vote, has been part of a robocall campaign with the lobby group “Yes Calgary 2026,” urging residents to get to the polls and vote positively for the Games.
“The Yes committee, privately funded, asked me to be their voice on the last day,” Nenshi said in a phone interview with CTV Calgary. “Given that my position is well known, I was happy to do it."
On the other side, Calgary city councillors Joe Magliocca and Jeromy Farkas personally emailed their constituents to explain why they plan on voting “No” during Tuesday’s plebiscite.
“The focus should always (be) just getting Calgarians to participate regardless of your opinion,” Farkas said. “I’m telling Calgarians: ‘You don't have to agree with my perspective, but get out, be heard.’”
Both Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University, and Elections Calgary don’t have any problem with campaigning for a particular side, provided it’s not done at a polling station.
“Legally there's nothing wrong with that, they have clearly chosen sides,” Bratt said. “(Nenshi) is the firmest ‘Yes’ person on council and he is looking for a legacy so it’s important for him that the ‘Yes’ side is victorious.”
Polls close at 8 p.m. local time. As of 5 p.m., more than 153,000 people had cast their ballots. Officials expect voter turnout to be similar to the 2017 municipal election, where 387,306 people voted.
The plebiscite is non-binding and city council has the final say in the decision to move forward on a potential bid.
The city is asked to contribute $390 million of the $5.1 billion price tag for hosting the games. The province has committed $700 million while the Canadian government has agreed to kick-in $1.45 billion. Revenues from hosting the Games is expected to cover the remaining costs.
Official bids are to be sent to the International Olympic Committee in January with a selection coming in June.
With a report from CTV Calgary Ina Sidhu and with files from The Canadian Press