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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake waiting for better days

Local businesses are used to weathering the ups and downs of summer

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for all Canadian workers

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Last day of classes moved to June 19 for Sylvan Lake students

Classes for students in Chinook’s Edge and RDCRS will end a week early on June 19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Sylvan Lake News is firmly committed to seeing you through the changes ahead, but we need your help

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Sylvan Lake News is firmly committed to seeing you through the changes ahead, but we need your help

Canada Pension fund manager posts 3.1 per cent annual return for 2019-20

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board releases report

Salmon expected to begin arriving soon at Fraser River landslide: DFO

Salmon expected to begin arriving soon at Fraser River landslide: DFO

Canadian Judicial Council won’t appeal harsh ruling of its investigation of judge

Canadian Judicial Council won’t appeal harsh ruling of its investigation of judge

Guy Laliberte wants to buy back Cirque du soleil, keep headquarters in Montreal

Guy Laliberte wants to buy back Cirque du soleil, keep headquarters in Montreal

Most Read