The Swedish Taxpayers Association is firing back after their Canadian counterparts advocated for Stockholm to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation held a protest near a Calgary Ikea on Monday. They dressed in Stockholm 2026 shirts, ate Swedish meatballs and wore Swedish flags around their necks, the Calgary Herald reported.
"The Stockholm city government, they're hoping to make sure that their taxpayers aren't footing the Winter Olympics. This is the type of model that needs to be used moving forward. If the Olympics was able to come to town without using taxpayer dollars, the CTF would support it. Sadly, this is just not the case," CTF's Alberta director Franco Terrazzano told the newspaper.
"If the Swedes are known for one thing, that's producing a great product that doesn't break the bank," he also told CBC News, after popping a meatball into his mouth. "That's what the Stockholm 2026 Olympics would do for Calgarians ... this is a great deal."
But the Swedish association is fighting back with an endorsement of their own.
"Make Canada Pay Again," their campaign proclaims, referring to Canada's previous experiences hosting the Winter Games in 2010 and 1988.
"The Swedish taxpayers are shocked by the Canadian support for Stockholm's bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics," Christian Ekström, CEO of the STA, said on Thursday in a Facebook post. "We are surprised to see our Canadian friends and allies are trying to foot the bill to Sweden. It's just tremendously stupid."
The post also notes that the weather in Calgary makes it a better location for the Olympics. Ekström also stated that it was "fake news" to say Stockholm was better, as Sweden has higher taxes than Canada.
Despite this, the Swedish Olympic Committee says taxpayers won't be footing most of the bill for the event, and says only two new venues would need to be built.
"We have not approached the notion of tax-based funding or any financial guarantees whatsoever" for the operating costs of the games, chairman Mats Arjes said. He says the only financial guarantee required would be for "national security," which was already tax-funded.
Watch: Calgary asked to vote in a non-binding referendum on Nov. 13. Story continues after video.
For Calgary, it's still unclear what the funding structure for a bid would look like since the federal government hasn't announced cost-sharing proposals, according to CityNews.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has suggested in the past that the IOC should pitch in for part of the costs of the Games too.
A joint Italian bid is the third one on the shortlist for the 2026 Games.
With a file from the Associated Press
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly indicated that Canada hosted the 1998 Winter Games. In fact, Calgary hosted the 1988 Games, while Nagano, Japan was the site of the 1998 event.