In 2010, three-term Calgary mayor Dave Bronconnier announced that he would not be seeking a fourth term in office. In the municipal election held in October of that year, 15 people threw their hats into the ring to replace him. 3 were contenders.
Naheed Nenshi’s experience prior to 2010 was in academia, and he was teaching Non-profit Management at the U of C when he entered the race for the mayor’s chair. On top of this, he co-founded two citizens groups, which aimed to make improvements in municipal government in Calgary, and has numerous writing credits.
Alderman Ric McIver had been a popular figure on city council since he was first elected in October of 2001. Dubbed “Dr.No” by local media, McIver would often play foil to the mayor and many of his colleagues on council when it came to spending. This reputation as a fiscal conservative would help to make him the favorite early on, and made him my personal choice for mayor.
Barb Higgins was a popular news anchor in Calgary, who had joined CTV affiliate CFCN in 1989. Together with local legend Darrel Janz, had Higgins co-anchored Calgary’s top-rated supper hour news program for over 20 years, when, on July 23rd of 2010, she announced at the end of the program that she would be stepping down, and declared herself to be a candidate for mayor. It came as something of a shock to many, and would add a new dynamic to the campaign.
The end result: Naheed Nenshi, 140,263 votes, Ric McIver, 112,386, Barb Higgins, 91,359.
Nobody can say for sure who the 91,000+ Higgins voters would have voted for had she not run in the first place, but the possibility exists that her presence won Naheed Nenshi the election. She was terrific as a news anchor, but as a candidate for political office she was sorely lacking. She never got into the specifics regarding her position on many of the issues, and was out of her depth on fiscal matters. It seemed like she was relying on her celebrity to get her elected, and didn’t need to know what she would do and how she would do it after she got there.
During Nenshi’s first term, council voted to extend the number of years between civic elections to 4 from the previous 3, and pay increases for the mayor and council have been the routine, even in hard economic times. Earning $200,586.40 in 2018, he is the highest paid mayor in Canada, in its third largest city. The number of closed door “in camera” meetings of council has also increased, to a level never before seen here and far higher than in other city councils across Canada, including Toronto. Why the increase, and what is it that we as Calgarian’s aren’t allowed to know?
He is thin skinned, unable to take criticism without resorting to snide remarks and childish behavior in defense. He won his second term playing off of his biggest accomplishments, being Canada’s first Muslim mayor, and those who have dared oppose him or his ideas risk being branded as racist. He was named “World Mayor”, what ever the hell that is, and was being compared to Rudy Giuliani just for being present during the Flood of 2013. Yes, he was awake for a long time over the span of a few days, but the man was doing the job that he was being paid very well to do.
Lack of credible opposition won Nenshi his third term in 2018. I put up a Bill Smith for Mayor lawn sign, and promoted him on my social media accounts, but sadly he fell short as a candidate, and the “Purple Reign” would continue. The purge of council that we so desperately needed did not happen, and the same lot were elected, save the new faces from vacant wards. In return Calgary tax-payers got stuck with a large bill, the result of a proposed bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics, a fiasco that lands squarely on his shoulders.
My grievances aren’t solely reserved for the mayor, but for many of his colleagues on city council as well. In fact, out of the 14 councillors, there are only 2 that I think are doing an excellent job so far, Sean Chu and Jeromy Farkas. I’m still on the fence about Joe Maglioca and Jyoti Gondek. I don’t necessarily agree with them all the time but, there is at least room for potential. I simply don’t have much use for any of the remainder, and Calgary would be better off without them, in my view.
Why Am I Doing This?
If you’re going through hell, keep going.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
Never, never, never give up.
In January of 2018, after I had been laid off from a retail job following the holidays, I decided to embark on a project to address crime in my community. A C-Train station had opened in my neighbourhood in 2012, and brought with it a marked increase in the amount of crime in the surrounding communities. For years, the train had been bringing vagrants to the area in ever greater numbers, and crime was coming with them.
Like many in the community, I became frustrated from the lack of attention this seemed to be receiving at city hall. So, intent on doing something about it, I set about to gather whatever statistics I could that would prove my case to the city fathers. I had absolutely no idea of what it would entail, and ultimately, what it would turn into.
Ultimately however, it has given me a sense of purpose, and a new path for my life to follow. I will turn 50 this year, having accomplished nothing of consequence to this point in my life. I do not have a family, or own property, in fact I’m quite broke. But for the first time ever, I feel like I know what I should be doing with my life, and it starts with me doing something I should have done 30 years ago. So, when I do turn 50, I will be a freshman in university.
I have decided to put a lifelong passion for news and politics to good use, and earn a degree or degrees that will give me the ability to be an advocate for the people of Calgary (and Alberta). I hope that it will atone for the life and potential that I have wasted over the course of 30 years. Even more however, I hope that what I do will be to the betterment of my fellow Calgarians and Albertans.
I’ve been told that I should monetize my work, having spent untold hours researching and putting together the presentation I am putting in my next post. I have decided to open an account with Patreon, however, I will NOT have pay only content, and will leave it up to you whether or not you would like to donate. I would only ask that you keep in mind that 1) I’m an unemployed university student, and 2) A considerable amount of time and effort was involved in it.
If you’ve taken the time to read this, thank you. If you liked what you read, please follow me, and if you didn’t, I really don’t give a shit.