It's the Olympics that nobody wants.
Out of the seven original cities that expressed an interest in hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics, only two cities remain in contention - a joint bid from Milan and Cortina in Italy and Calgary.
And Milan and Cortina haven't received a guarantee that they'll be fully-funded by the Italian government.
Earlier today, a new conservative municipal coalition government in Stockholm announced that it wasn't supportive of their Olympic bid, and was preparing to inform the International Olympic Committee that it was withdrawing from contention.
Stockholm joins Erzurum (Turkey), Sapporo (Japan), Graz (Austria), and Sion (Switzerland) in deciding that hosting the Olympics isn't worth the cost.
And that cost is enormous.
Calgary 2026, the taxpayer-funded corporation preparing Calgary's Olympic bid, pegs the cost at $5.3 billion, with taxpayers footing $3 billion of the bill. The real cost of hosting these Olympics remains unclear though, as Calgary's City Council is keeping much of the detailed financial information secret from the public.
Today, the provincial NDP government announced that Alberta would be contributing $700 million as its share of the overall cost.
Alberta is already drowning in debt - some estimates place that debt at more than $50 billion as of today, reaching nearly $100 billion by 2023. If left unchecked, Alberta's debt could reach a province-destroying $1 trillion by 2053.
These debt figures are terrifying not just for today's generation, but also for future generations who will be stuck paying off this debt for decades.
Simply put, Alberta cannot afford to host the Olympics while our economy continues to struggle and tens of thousands of Albertans remain out of work.
And the economic picture isn't getting rosier any time soon.
Much of Alberta's revenue is dependent on the royalties it receives for selling our oil and gas. Thanks to the actions of both the NDP government in Edmonton and the Trudeau Liberal government in Ottawa, all of our major pipeline projects have either stalled or been canceled outright.
As a result, we have to sell our oil at a steep discount to the United States - in essence, transferring wealth out of Alberta and to American companies.
The discount on our oil reached its highest level ever this week - West Texas Intermediate crude was selling for $71.68 a barrel, but Western Canadian Select (Alberta's oil) was only selling for $15.97 a barrel - a stunning gap of more than $55 in the per-barrel prices.
This means Alberta will face systemic deficits unless it gets its spending under control - including not spending money on things we can't afford like the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Governments at every level need to understand that they have to start tightening their belts and only paying for things we absolutely need, just as families do when they're facing tough economic times.
Let's stop spending money we don't have and stop putting more debt on the backs of our children.
Alberta Can't Wait