Calgary Council: Say NO to austerity and NO to the arena

On July 29 Calgary city council will decide whether or not to throw nearly $300 million of public funding towards building a new arena for the Calgary Flames.

At the same time, Calgary city council is pushing through a massive $60 million austerity package that will cut budgets for affordable housing, public transit, even the fire department.

Time is short. Your city councillor needs to hear your position on this deal today.

Council approved the $60 million cuts package after a pressure campaign from business owners, CEOs, and the local UCP-aligned astroturf group 'Save Calgary' complained about property tax rates. The cuts are meant to go towards a $130 million tax break for business owners in the city.

"This budget reduction will have front line service implications. It is a significant reduction to our budget in a very short period of time," councillor Evan Woolley told the CBC on June 9th. On the 10th Woolley also told CBC he believes the plan to cut $60 million is 'actually just a starting point.' "I think we need to really, really dig deep in the coming months," the councillor said.

If you take council at face value you'd think that the city is in a deep fiscal hole--that Calgary is practically broke. Why else would the city be cutting so deep that they even hit the fire department?

And yet the city has millions--hundreds of millions--of dollars to subsidize an arena purchase for the Calgary Flames and their billionaire owners. At the time of this post, the city is looking to spend $290.4 million on this project. For some context--that's enough to cancel the proposed cut to the fire department for thirty-two years.

City council says Calgary can't afford public transit. They say Calgary has to reduce investments in affordable housing. They're cutting emergency services and the Green Line is under threat, too.

You only have a few days left to tell city council their priorities are wrong.

Write to your councillor today while you still can and tell them you want Calgary's public funds to be invested in services for all Calgarians--not given away as handouts to sports teams and their billionaire owners.