Calgary Minute: Arenas, Convention Centres, and Spending Cuts

Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics.

This Week In Calgary:

  • Council will meet (in secret, of course) on Monday to discuss the new arena deal. While some details will apparently be released after the meeting is finished, it is extremely disappointing to see the City consistently fail at informing, engaging, and consulting with Calgarians in this process. The one upside? Prepare to be entertained, as City Administration will have to pull off a public relations miracle to justify a rumoured $600-million arena deal, after spending the last month telling Calgarians the only way to find $60-million in savings is to cut essential services.

  • Speaking of which, despite it technically being part of the Monday meeting, Council will actually debate the $60-million dollar spending cut at 1:00 pm on Tuesday. This meeting will be public, so feel free to attend and suggest to council that maybe they should find the savings from Golden Pensions, exorbitant City Salaries, and the City's $100-million corporate slush fund rather than from Police, Fire, and Transit as currently proposed. Don't forget, even after these "cuts", the City will still be spending more this year than they did last year!

  • This week's Committee schedule includes an Audit Committee meeting on Tuesday, and on Wednesday there will be an SPC on Community and Protective Services meeting where water fluoridation will be discussed.

 

Last Week In Calgary:

  • Last week we found out that almost 1/3 of City of Calgary employees are making over $100,000, up significantly compared to just a few years ago. This is a stark contrast to the median Calgary income of $41,600, which has actually dropped in recent years.

  • Some Councillors finally starting to question the wisdom of spending large amounts of money on both the Telus Convention Center and the BMO Centre - something we've been saying for quite some time. The idea is to try to make Calgary a top-tier convention destination, but research shows that, even in a best-case scenario, Calgary could only hope to be mid-tier due to being a winter city, having limited direct North American flights, and a tradition of rotating conventions between different regions of Canada. It's not that we don't want more events coming to Calgary, but maybe we shouldn't throw taxpayers money at something without any proof it will actually work?

  • If you missed it, check out a great opinion piece from our friends at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation which re-frames the City's $100-million corporate slush fund, AKA the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund. The piece calls on all Calgarians to imagine being a Calgary business owner looking at your tax bill and knowing city council is giving your hard-earned cash to potential competitors. Council should not be in the business of picking winners and losers.