Calgary mayor’s race draws attention

Calgary mayor’s race most high-profile in Alberta municipal elections

Municipal elections are being held in Alberta today and the race for the mayor’s chair in Calgary is drawing the most attention.

Naheed Nenshi is seeking his third term, but a victory is far from guaranteed.

Nenshi was the first Muslim mayor of a major North American city when he was first elected in 2010, and his popularity and affable style gave him a national profile.

But a number of polls have shown that the race this time between him and Calgary lawyer Bill Smith is too close to call.

“I have no idea if this election is close. That’s actually the big challenge here. This is an election that is being run in the absence of evidence,” Nenshi said in the final days of the campaign.

He said he always expected it would be a close race, but added this one has been nasty. He shrugs off critics who say he has become arrogant and difficult to work with.

“If I wanted to be universally loved, I would have been a pet groomer. You don’t want to go into politics if you want to be universally loved,” he said.

“You go into politics because you want to try and do what’s right for people every day.”

Smith said Calgarians are frustrated by high taxes, excessive spending by the city and a continued downturn in the energy sector.

Nenshi’s campaign has been avoiding the problems the city is facing, Smith suggested.

“He’s been doing a job of trying to deflect a lot of things since the beginning of his campaign. I’ve been trying to focus on the results of his last seven years,” said Smith.

“I didn’t expect this campaign to get as personal as it has and it wasn’t from our side.”

Pollster Janet Brown says a mayoralty incumbent hasn’t lost in Calgary since 1980.

Another race to watch is for the mayor’s job in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray. Melissa Blake, who has been mayor since 2004, is not running again.

She was praised for her grace under pressure after a devastating wildfire swept through the city in 2016 and also advocated for more housing and expanded infrastructure when Fort McMurray boomed before the last oil downturn.

In Edmonton, incumbent Don Iveson is expected to handily win a second term as mayor.

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

This week in photos | The spirit of giving comes to Haida Gwaii

Masset Lions Telethon, Queen Charlotte’s annual craft fair, Fields store coming along in Skidegate

Snowfall warning continues for parts of B.C.’s Interior

First significant snowfall of the season prompts Environment Canada warning

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

Masset residents receiving extra incentive to get home safe this holiday season

Masset RCMP, B.C. Liquor Store and local elementary schools team up to curb drinking and driving

Former Burns Lake mayor gets two years for sexual assaults against minors

Banned from taking work involving young people for five years

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Brain injury from domestic abuse a ‘public health crisis,’ says B.C. researcher

Nearly 80% of the domestic violence victims who reported to police last year were women

Most Read