Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Calgary's Municipal Election, version 2010

As the Municipal Election begins to loom here in Calgary I have regularly been asked for my thoughts on the race for Mayor. Having repeated them so many times I may as well post them publicly....

Both of the current front-runners in the polls will not be receiving my support. Ms. Higgins, running an exceedingly cautious campaign based on her name recognition, has yet to provide any reason for me to actually support her. In fact it is difficult for me to recall any serious campaign in the last 15 years in which the candidate offered less insight to their views or policy outlook. Mr. McIvor, whose record as an Alderman was indifferent, has also run a very cautious campaign based on his name recognition and the 'Dr. No' image he cultivated on council. Unfortunately the flip side of the 'Dr. No' reputation is the friction created on council, which certainly doesn't bode well for a Mayor, especially in a city where the mayoralty is a chairman of the board without much inherent power and thus in need of consensus support. The policy framework advanced by Mr. McIvor is also vague and unimpressive, which I suppose is part and parcel with the decision not to risk controversy.

The candidate I would most like to support would be Wayne Stewart, whose resume is impressive and comes very highly recommended by several people I trust. unfortunately I can't see any way for Mr. Stewart to break out of pack of also-rans and actually have a chance to win the race. I believe the same fate awaits Craig Burrows, whom I have been surprisingly impressed with in his attempt to recover from losing his last Aldermanic contest to Joe Connelly.

In the end I think this will leave me supporting Naheed Nenshi for Mayor. Mr. Nenshi's background in business and thinking about municipal issues is impressive, and his policy platform is the most complete and best elucidated. I do worry about his ability to manage a council, since a disconcerting number of his sentences start with "I" and he will need to command the support of seven Aldermen. Several people I know who have worked with him assure me that this won't be a problem, however, and in light of the balance of the race it is a risk I am willing to take.

On a more local level the Aldermanic race here in Ward 7 has caused me more trouble. I had hoped that I would be able to support a replacement for Alderman Farrell, but that is looking unlikely now. The Ward 7 Aldermanic candidate forum put on in the Triwoods Community Centre by Civiccamp was a very useful event. My thanks to all the volunteers who made it happen, and to Civiccamp as a whole for undertaking to put on one of these in every Ward. We as citizens need to have these, and I certainly appreciate having had the opportunity to attend one.

The five candidates attending were the current Alderman, Druh Farrell, James Taylor, Jim Pilling, Elizabeth Cook and Michael Krisko. For a detailed summary of the meeting see The event certainly helped me familiarize myself with the options, and there is no substitute for seeing candidates live and in person, talking to them and listening to them answer questions. The result, for me, was that the options to Ms. Farrell underwhelmed me. The only serious challenger appears to be Mr. Taylor, but I have no real idea where he stands on the issues. His presentation, like Ms. Farrell's, is polished, but there is little in what he says to get a hold of. Hence, at the Aldermanic level, I am uncertain and unhappy with my options but leaning toward the incumbent. Inertia certainly isn't the best reason for casting a vote, but in the absence of a compelling alternative....

No comments:

Post a Comment