Alberta isn't budging on $700M Olympic commitment, despite federal government cash

The federal government is interested in spending more than expected to put on the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games in Calgary.

The federal government is committing up to $1.75B to host the Olympics in Calgary

Figure skater Brian Orser carries the Canadian flag as he leads the delegation during the opening ceremonies at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

The federal government may be interested in spending more than expected to put on the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games in Calgary — but the province is standing firm on their $700 million limit.

CBC News has confirmed that the federal government has authorized up to $1.75 billion in Olympic spending for the 2026 Winter Games in Calgary, if the city goes forward with a bid and wins.

That would be higher than its previous maximum pledge of up to $1.5 billion in matching funding. A formal announcement was expected this week but as of Friday evening there was no official word yet from Ottawa.

But the province, which announced it would spend $700 million on the 2026 Winter Games, told CBC that number stands and won't increase or change.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi issued a statement Friday evening.

"We were surprised to see this number reported for a proposed federal contribution to a potential Calgary 2026 Olympics as negotiations are still underway," wrote Nenshi.

Calgary 2026 bid corporation's media spokesperson said the group won't comment while negotiations with the government continue, but are encouraged that the federal government is "keen."

Government committed to Olympics

Calgary Liberal MP Kent Hehr didn't confirm the report to CBC News but said the federal government is committed to the Olympics in Calgary — if that's what citizens want.

"Our government is committed to putting on a world-class Games should other partners be willing and able to join us in that cause," Hehr said.

The provincial government has announced it would contribute a maximum of $700 million if Calgary is named the host city.

 The city hasn't revealed its funding plan yet.

The federal contribution would be contingent on what the the city and province provide, matching their combined total, to a maximum of $1.75 billion. That means the city would have to pledge $1.05 billion to get the full federal amount.

More to come