Dear Calgary: Legacy Or Reduced Risk, How To Navigate Your 2026 Olympic Bid Plebiscite

STILL WAITING

Re: Hospital emergency wait times. Recently, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman, with Finance Minister Joe Ceci, announced a three-year, $1.4-million grant to eliminate existing wait times for patients waiting to access mental health services at CUPS. I spent 17 hours in Rockyview Emergency on Sept. 21, mostly waiting. This is totally unacceptable. No matter what the reason. This Numb Dumb Party campaigned on lowering wait times and have spent bags of money on this trying to fulfil their empty promises. So for you CUPS patients, the health ministry will certainly spend the money but do not hold your breath expecting lower wait times. These politicians will be leaving their posts next year and with that they will be off the hook.

JOHN GLASS

(Wait times frustrate everyone.)

STACKS OF DOUGH

All this talk about the cost of the Olympics got me to thinking that the way they toss these numbers around probably doesn’t mean a whole bunch to people. I once read an article and it said that if you would stack one million dollar bills on top of each other they would be as high as the Calgary Tower. To make one $1 billion, you would need one thousand of these stacks. To make $5.2 billion, you would need 5,200. That’s a lot of money.

BILL McNAIR

(Good luck finding that many dollar bills.)

VERY UNAPPEALING

The heading of the Calgary Sun editorial article on Sept. 22, “Where’s the Trans Mountain appeal?” is very cleverly worded. It refers to (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau’s failure to appeal the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision to quash the Trans Mountain pipeline project, and the lack of appeal for pipeline projects in general, given the federal government’s gross mismanagement and incompetence in handling issues that matter the most to Canadians, especially those living west of Ontario. Where, indeed, is the appeal from our so-called leader and his merry band of yes-people who value cringe-worthy virtue signalling over the needs and wants of ordinary, hard-working, taxpaying citizens?

JOANNE and WAYNE MORCOM

(He has let us down.)

WHO DOESN’T CARE?

Re: Opinion poll Sept. 21 asking should city hall reveal costs etc. and results Yes 75% No 25%. Who are these 25%? Why wouldn’t anyone want to know how much the Olympics will cost us taxpayers? I just do not understand and would love to know the thought process that would bring a person to a “No” answer. Enlightenment please!

JACQUELINE GAGNON

(Sorry, we’re in the dark on this one.)

KICK ’EM OUT

The federal courts are upholding the government’s decision to strip Helmut Oberlander of his Canadian citizenship. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Canada “should never be a safe haven for war criminals and people who’ve been accused of crimes, who’ve committed crimes against humanity.” So if this is true, when are they going to deport all those returned ISIS terrorist fighters that they know are in this country?

JONATHAN BRADY

(Funny how that works, eh?)

BONUS LETTERS — ONLINE ONLY

WE ARE NOT ONE

I’m wanting to point out some fundamental misunderstandings in the editorial published in the Sept. 18 issue of the Calgary Sun. I can see how feelings of animosity and distrust would formulate within hard-working communities and individuals with deep links in the oil industry with the ATA booking a speaker who has vocally spoken out against the oilsands and pipelines. What I cannot understand is this statement made in the editorial: “And teachers, what in the world would possess you to pile on? Again.” This statement implies that all teachers share one opinion funnelled through the ATA. Teachers are not a monolith. We do not have collectively congruent opinions. Any suggestion of such lacks any form of respectable evidence and has a fundamental misunderstanding of the function between the ATA and teachers. Was the decision by the ATA to host Berman as a keynote speaker tone deaf? It arguably might be. Does that mean all teachers in the ATA agree with her? Absolutely not, as evidenced by the fact that unions do not control thoughts and expressions of workers. This is why membership is predicated on profession, not ideology. Unions can influence workers, but assuming that all teachers are ‘piling on’ because of a controversial speaker invited by our union representatives/committees is an utterly simplistic view that denies the individuality of teachers and their practice. Regardless of your views on Berman, these generalizations of teachers’ opinions need to stop. It does more harm than good to co-operation in education.

CHRISTOPHER KLUNE

(The ATA represents teachers, for better or worse.)

BEST SPENT ELSEWHERE

It’s not about the Calgary 2026 final budget, with its add-ons, convenient omissions and possible cost overruns. Or about a budget funded and guaranteed by the “eternal fountain” of taxpayer dollars, that can be turned-up at will by increasing taxes and user fees. It’s about Calgary hosting a “feel-good” party. Where Calgarians shoulder the financial risk in return for sharing the economic benefits and revenues with B.C. (Whistler), Canmore and possibly Edmonton. What are the real long-term benefits for all Calgarians? Other than perpetual increases in city taxes and user fees, ill-managed snow removal from city streets (if at all), no new Flames arena (with its long-term benefits), continued “gold-plated” pensions and leaving bonuses at city hall (to dream for), closing of the Veterans Food Bank, ill-timed pothole repairs (keep planting flowers and calling the Calgary Sun), etc. The real question is: are there better uses for the “eternal fountain” of our tax dollars.

JIM ALLINSON

(There isn’t a big pot of gold waiting to be spent.)

ANSWERS, PLEASE

The bid committee for the Winter Olympics has many questions yet to be answered. The two most important questions to be answered are 1. Will the province and/or the feds cover any cost overruns or will all overruns be covered by the Calgary taxpayers? And, 2. What is the cost and the purpose of the 5,000-seat arena? This arena has never been discussed before. In terms of purpose it could not be for opening and closing ceremonies, nor for men’s ice hockey. As for a legacy arena, I cannot think of any community needing a 5,000-seat arena. As for cost, a legacy arena could be built “fit for purpose”, however I suspect this will be a very costly arena built as a “showpiece” for the Olympics.

LARRY MOSER

(Calgary has no need whatsoever for a 5,000-seat arena.)

WHY THE SECRECY?

Am I the only one thinking this: why so many secretive closed-door meetings with this city council? What can they be saying about spending our money that we shouldn’t hear? What aren’t they telling us?

BRAD LAKE

(Your guess is as good as ours.)

COSTLY MOVE

I have one question for the elected representatives at silly hall. Have you even considered the additional costs associated with lowering the speed limit on our residential streets? I’m not just talking about the five million for signage, I’m talking about the ongoing additional taxpayer dollars that will be required to pay for residential waste and garbage removal (trucks, manpower), city transit (longer bus waits, additional buses), city improvements (more crews, less time on actual sites working, due to the additional time needed to get to and from these sites) and then there is snow removal! The list goes on and on and on. Have you actually considered the monetary impact on city services, let alone the environmental impact of all the vehicles on the road longer? Or are you simply jumping on a bandwagon? Why don’t you simply address specific streets that are petitioning for a reduced speed limit?

DARCY JOHNSON

(Costs don’t matter when it’s not your money. And a specific-street solution makes too much sense.)

NO SECRETS!

This letter is to the city of Calgary taxpayers. Confidential info? Excuse me? Not one word of this (Olympic) bid process should be confidential. Who do these people think they are? What are they hiding? I guess they’re not happy that truths are being revealed before they’ve had a chance to put their BS spin and lipstick on it. And you people who keep voting them back in know who you are. They rely on your apathy and ignorance to get re-elected. And another thing, who the hell are these city “brass” people that Mr. Bell refers to all the time? The ones that OK the golden handshakes and triple pensions? What are their names and positions and what kind of largesse are they bringing home? Who hires them? Do they not have bosses? Are they untouchable somehow? I’m serious, I want to know! Tell us! The whole scene and culture down there needs an enema.

BRETT KAY

(This Olympic bid is really shining a spotlight on council’s secret ways.)

A DOUBTER

Re: Stewart Ford’s Sept. 22 letter where for 392 words he comments on (and on) about how awful the NEP was, as though any sane Albertan would disagree? I’m just curious though, I always thought the maximum allowed was 250 words per letter? How can this be? Was this written by a staffer as a thinly disguised editorial? (It was praising another opinion piece, after all). I always have to edit much of want to say because if you submit your letters online the system won’t allow so much as one word over 250 words. Anyway, while we’re taking Stewart’s horrible Liberal-bashing walk down memory lane, perhaps your readers could regale us with some positive stories from the 43-year Conservative dynasty that once ruled Alberta with an iron fist? Perhaps stories like where did all the money go? Regarding the gist of Stewart’s letter, if I understand him correctly, I, like most Albertans, while absolutely wanting to find other markets for our oil nonetheless understand that there’s no better time to start diversifying than now. Perhaps the Norwegians could teach our politicians a thing or two about saving a dollar (or a trillion and a half) or investing for a rainy day? Maybe that’s where The Right Hon’ble Alberta Minister of Make Believe Jason Kenney should have went instead of his photo op (er, I meant to say Trade Mission to India). Except I suppose that there’s way more East Indian than Norwegian votes in Alberta?

DEREK BROWN

(We do not write our own letters, ever.)

BARN-BURNER

Re: Bus barns and the Olympics. Yes, yes, yes, let’s for any old reason just tear them down and, as with gas station closures, complete a full environmental sub-surface three-year study while we get figured out where to relocate the facility farther out from city centre! That equates to more fuel but who leaves the core at 6 a.m., eh? Build an affordable housing project on the site of ‘Fire Park’ and should Calgary not host the Games, well then, homelessness in YYC drops a few percentile points!

DAN DRINKALL

(We have plenty of space.)

ALT-WHAT?

Alt-left? I don’t know. What is alt-right exactly?

JEFFREY ANDERSON

(It’s a shot, an insult, suggesting either side is extreme.)

CALL FOR CHANGE

Perhaps if enough voters/taxpayers e-mailed the integrity commissioner demanding a thorough investigation of the reasons our mayor has so many closed-door sessions, we could get real change in the Purple Pit. Instead we have a demand for an investigation that is trying to out someone who gave us valuable info that was probably held back for the wrong reasons! The investigation should include an assessment of the reasons for the closed doors, the conclusions reached with reasons why they couldn’t be disclosed and a review of the minutes for the, “Oh, while we are here, let’s talk about …” This municipal governance process is becoming so convoluted, it is crazy.

GEORGE EWERT

(Are Calgarians finally realizing how outrageous this is?)

PAY ATTENTION

Maybe we should tell people to look both ways before they cross the road. Dropping the speed limit to 30 km/h is a joke. If people would get their cell phones out of their faces, maybe they would see that there is a car coming down the road.

ALAN DAVIDSON

(People need to have responsibility for their own safety.)

NOT FOOLED AT ALL

I hope nobody is being fooled with this Tzeporah Berman fiasco. The ATA, who are NDP-friendly, just happen to invite the anti-pipeline fascist to the teacher’s version of Woodstock and now all of a sudden anti-pipeline Premier Rachel Notley is going to give her a piece of her mind. It’s a con job attempt to portray Notley as an advocate for Alberta oil and the pipelines it needs when in fact she is anything but. A real leader would never have pummelled voters with a needless carbon tax and created so much uncertainty with the oil sector in the first place. On those issues that she can do something about, she’s doing nothing. Notley pretending to be an Alberta oil and pipeline advocate is as phony as when she dons a Stetson for the Stampede and tries to look western. Having fooled the voters once, she thinks she can fool them twice. Isn’t going to happen. As for the ATA and their antics, I hope premier-in-waiting Jason Kenney is keeping notes

BARRY BANEK

(Voters will call it as they see it.)

OPEN THE DOORS

This city council should remember you are in a public office that we the taxpayers are allowed to have full disclosure of your sessions, not what you deem needs to be closeted. Public accountability is our right to be kept abreast of all financial aspects, including any special projects. Please open the doors always for complete disclosure that is mandated if you are an elected public employee. And make no mistake, you are an employee of the city of Calgary!

ROBERT HOCALOSKI

(We’re hearing this a lot.)

SAVE THE ORCAS

With all the controversy in regards to the Trans Mountain pipeline, I would like to express my concerns about the killer whales. Premier John Horgan is allowing fish farms on Vancouver Island as well as the mainland. These farms require chemicals to operate. Currently, 1.1 billion litres of over 150 chemicals go through the Fraser estuary each day. Scientists have shown that these chemicals harm the chinook salmon that the southern resident orcas depend on, yet this is kept “hush-hush” in the news. With over 50 whale-watching trips with a whale researcher, this is well known among the whale- watching crowd. Yet nothing is done! Premier Horgan insists he doesn’t want the pipeline but the real reason the whales are dying is starvation and the dumping of these chemicals. It’s high time someone exposed this. There are groups in B.C. who have protested but nothing has been done. Recently, Premier Horgan allowed a Norwegian company to continue this practice for years in the future. I believe this needs to be brought to light in exposing why the killer whales are really dying. I do have more information if anyone would like to contact me.

MYRNA GALLOWAY

(Orcas are important and must be protected.)

LIGHTEN UP

Re: Bar signage — no shirt, no service … Lighten up people, this sign has been around 20 years that I know of. Not everything is politically incorrect. Have a sense of humour once in a while instead of finding fault with everything. Should we have politically incorrect prisons? Your decision, Justin.

MARTY PIOVESAN

(People are very sensitive these days.)

GET IT RIGHT

Re: Plebiscite hocus pocus. I wonder if this will be the same fiasco that we had with the last city election. Will there be enough ballots printed, will the polling stations close down early, will they be capable to cope with the volume of voters? If not, will the city then just fudge the numbers in their favour, or will they go to the old favourite of holding the meeting in-camera. The city must have a remarkable spin doctor, I wonder if he was recruited from J.T.

ED MAY

(The level of trust is getting lower.)

WELL DONE, SIR

Dear Mr. Trudeau, congratulations on your accomplishments while on the job less than one term. You have in that time: Ruined Canada’s status on the world stage for your own selfish and shallow purposes. Destroyed mine and my children’s economic future here in Canada. Made discussions of politics, religion and immigration impossible with family, friends and co-workers or risk being called intolerant, racist or worse. Created an atmosphere of increased tension between the sexes and races. Insulted seniors and veterans who built and protected this country, while devaluing what it means to hold Canadian citizenship. Abandoned Canada’s history and culture. Allowed the ways of foreign misogynistic and barbaric practices to be entertained in principle. Damaged the average Canadian’s pride, happiness and sense of fairness. Made what’s right wrong and what’s wrong right. Made Canada less safe. Just imagine what you can do in a second term!

ROGER WILLIAMS

(Yikes, that’s quite the list of accomplishments.)

Source : https://calgarysun.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-sept-29

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Letters to the Editor, Sept. 29