Bell: Economist puts nail in Olympic bid coffin

So much noise. So much bull.

Don’t read this column for me.

Read it for yourself.

Read it so one day you won’t wake up and realize somebody thought you were one of the suckers born every minute and played you for one.

Read it so you can see clearly through the blizzard of a snow job by the Yes side, pumping out their propaganda on your dime.

Read it but do not be surprised.

The Yes side has played free and loose with the facts and kept you in the dark.

The essence of their Olympic bid is captured in the unanswered question and the blacked-out document and the closed door.

And, when you don’t buy their shameless attempts to pull at the heartstrings or don’t get sucked in by their endless promises of a better life after the Olympics, they always go back to the old standby.

Calgary’s economy will get a big boost from the Olympics. The Olympics will save us.

Trevor Tombe is a well-respected economist and he is at the University of Calgary.

He knows why the Yes side always goes back to the economy.

It’s a big, big issue for Calgarians. Sadly, the Yes side offer only a mirage to a thirsty soul.

Tombe says for the Yes side to “make this about dollars and cents and prey on people’s emotions” is “really disappointing.”

You see, when Yes takes that road there’s a problem. It’s called the facts.

“They’re making their argument based on almost no evidence or analysis whatsoever,” says Tombe.

In fact, says the man who knows his way around numbers, most statements about this economic stuff from the Yes side, including the Olympic bid corporation, are “very misleading.”

You don’t say.

The best evidence suggests the effects of hosting the Olympics on Calgary’s economy is “probably little to none.”

The Olympics will shift economic activity. It’s not about new employment or growth in the economy.

When Yes talks about $4.4 billion of investment, Tombe says they make “huge overstated claims.”

“It’s not going to be of any help to unemployed Calgarians.”

To claim the economy will grow by an amount yielding a 10-to-1 return on investment is “100% false.

The economist also points your scribbler in the direction of an outside cost-benefit analysis of the Olympics paid for by the city.

It says most research “finds little evidence hosting the Olympics and Paralympic Games provides any significant long-term economic impacts.”

Read that line over slowly. Tell your neighbours and friends about it. Put it up on the fridge.

Tombe also reminds us Calgary faces trade-offs. We can’t have it all.

“There is no free lunch. If we do the Olympics, we’re not going to do something else,” he says.

“That’s fine but we ought to recognize those trade-offs exist.”

Tombe suggests the Yes side focus on arguing for “the fluffy stuff.” You know, the warm and fuzzy feelings the Olympics may give.

But then the question needs to be asked. Are those feelings worth the price tag?

Olympic Plaza in downtown Calgary on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018.

Meanwhile, the Yes side will not stop.

They will try to lead you by the nose. You, the sheep. They, the ever-so-wise shepherd?

Gag.

By the way, if the Olympics could spark economic booms, how long would the lineup be to get the Games?

Right now, the line is shrinking.

Anyway, the vote will soon be upon us, the vote most of city council didn’t want you to have, the vote the provincial government forced on city hall’s Cowtown Kremlin.

The No side is truly David pitted against a Goliath on big-bucks steroids. There are a few fighting for the cause like Save Calgary and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and No Calgary Olympics.

Very few with little to spend.

Does that mean Goliath beats David Nov. 13?

Evan Woolley, the head of city council’s Olympic committee who switched from Yes to No, says Goliath can be beat.

“I have enough trust in Calgarians,” he says.

Another No councillor, Jeromy Farkas, is holding an urgent town hall 1 p.m. Saturday at the Delta South Calgary hotel.

“If we go for this thing, it’s not going to be everyday Calgarians who benefit,” he says.

Why does Farkas think the high-and-mighties are pushing so hard for the Olympics when their claims aren’t worth their weight in cow dung?

“I’m in the middle of the hurricane and I don’t even know why,” says Farkas.

Methinks the bigshots hitched their wagon to the Olympic train — and now they and their egos can’t afford to lose.

rbell@postmedia.com

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