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 beachgoers spark safety concerns

‘You’re putting your life at risk,’ tweets Rachel Notley

Conservatives call for Trudeau to testify at committee on WE Charity deal

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion is already investigating whether Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Quebec police continue search for father, one day after missing girls found dead

Bodies were found in a wooded area of Quebec City suburb

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Canmore RCMP respond to multiple hiking injury calls this weekend

EMS and RCMP responded to three separate and unrelated hiking accidents in Kananaskis Country.

How Conservative leadership hopefuls would address the WE scandal if they win

The ethics commissioner has been called in to see if Trudeau broke conflict-of-interest law

With debt, deficit numbers out, experts say Liberals need plan for growth

Borrowing will push the federal debt past $1 trillion by the end of the fiscal year

Pedestrian-only downtown a hit with residents as St. John’s adapts to pandemic

‘The city really got this right this time. We’re very happy’

Bosnian-Canadians mark 25th anniversary of Srebrenica massacre

‘It’s sad for a child to think that it’s normal, actually, to … have family members killed’

PODCAST: COVID-19 and the US Election

The Expert welcomes Burman University Political Scientist Marc Froese

Sylvan Lake RCMP continue search for missing man

43-year-old Steven Hull’s last known whereabouts were in the Sylvan Lake area on May 28

Most Read