When Hamiltonians woke up Tuesday, it looked like the 2026 Commonwealth Games were off. Flamborough-Glanbrook MPP Donna Skelly told the Bay Observer and CHML’s Scott Thompson, that she had met with the Hamilton bid team, had discussed it with the Minister in charge, Lisa McLeod, and was told there was no money for the 2026 games because the Province had committed to support the Canadian share of the FIFA Soccer games that are taking place in North America. Later yesterday the province put out a statement that read, “We encourage the City and bid group to consider pursuing this opportunity in Hamilton in 2027 or beyond and would entertain those discussions with the parties involved.”
Asked about the province’s news, Mayor Fred Eisenberger said “I don’t know if Donna Shelly is speaking for the province of Ontario or not.” Then last night the mayor and bid supporters met with the premier to discuss the matter and after the meeting the mayor put out the following statement to members of council: as promised I can report to you that we had a very positive meeting with premier Ford who apologized for the confused messaging but confirmed support for the commonwealth games 2026 subject to overcoming concerns from FIFA soccer which is in discussion. However if that cannot be overcome then they would support 2027 which I understand commonwealth 100 is open to as is the Canadian federation and discussion will them ensue with the international federation.
So on Wednesday, the narrative in media was that 2026 was still very much back on the table. The Bay Observer contacted the Premier’s office with the following question: Your office issued a statement yesterday saying the province would consider 2027 and beyond. Does that still stand? I guess the bottom line is: will the province support Commonwealth games for 2026?
We received the following reply from Premier Ford’s spokesperson Ivana Yelich: “The Premier and the government’s current focus is on COVID-19 and ensuring Ontario comes out of the global pandemic supporting the people and small businesses that make our province the economic engine of Canada. We encourage the City and bid group to consider pursuing this opportunity in Hamilton in 2027 or beyond and would entertain those discussions with the parties involved.”