Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he will ask the city’s integrity commissioner to investigate a leak of details from a closed-door council meeting on costs connected to the potential hosting of the 2026 Winter Olympics.
The possible relocation of Calgary Transit’s Victoria Park bus garage was recently discussed in-camera, but information from that meeting later surfaced in media reports.
The relocation may be done to accommodate plans for an athletes village, should Calgary pursue a bid to host the Games.
Nenshi says councillors dealt with sensitive data regarding a negotiating strategy for Olympic funding with the provincial and federal governments.
He says the problem with information leaked without context is that it appears council is hiding something, as opposed to being part of a greater conversation.
The integrity commissioner will be asked to review all emails and text messages sent from the personal and city-owned phones of council members.
“The real issue is that if a member of council conducts what, essentially, is an illegal act, then I have no choice as the chair of the council but to investigate that,” Nenshi said at a Monday council meeting.
“It’s very clear that council passed a motion not to do it and somebody did.”
While some councillors support the investigation, others say it’s distracting from the potential cost to Calgarians of hosting the Games.
Councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart said she agrees with Nenshi, but she believes the provincial government’s municipal affairs department should handle the investigation.
“An oath has to be taken and statements are taken in a formal way, and I don’t think that the integrity commissioner has that level of authority,” she said.
Nenshi stopped short of asking the province to step in.
A draft plan for Calgary to potentially host the 2026 Olympics has previously been presented to council.
The total cost is expected to be $5.23 billion, with taxpayers shouldering $3 billion of that at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.
A plebiscite on a potential bid is to be held in November.
The Canadian Press