Calgary Mayoral Election – Part 1

At last count there are 17 candidates for Mayor in the upcoming election in Calgary.  That’s going to make it pretty difficult to decide who to vote for, but I do believe it is important to vote.  To steal a line I heard recently, it’s actually the elections at the local level that are most likely to  have a direct influence on your life as these are the people that will be making the decisions that directly affect your neighbourhood and immediate environment.

I figure the person I vote for should have some sort of experience in either politics or business.  I’ll also eliminate anyone that seems to be a “one issue” candidate or anyone that has a grand list of what they would like to do but no plan on how to reasonably accomplish it.  So, taking a peek at the Wikipedia entry and rearranging them in roughly the order that the names are familiar to me, I start with the following list (descriptions and sources are from the Wikipedia page):

  • Barb Higgins – Former news anchor at CTV Calgary
  • Richard William (Ric) McIver – Alderman incumbent to Ward 12
  • Craig Burrows – Former Ward 6 alderman
  • Joe Connelly – Alderman incumbent to Ward 6
  • Bob Hawkesworth – Alderman incumbent to Ward 4
  • Naheed Nenshi – Served on the leadership team of imagineCalgary
  • Alnoor Kassam – Ran for mayor in 2007 election. Accused of criminal activity in Kenya by the Calgary Herald
  • Jon Lord – Former MLA and Alderman
  • Oscar Fech – Ran for mayor in 2001 and 2004 elections
  • Kent Hehr – MLA Calgary-Buffalo
  • Paul Hughs – Ex-chair of Calgary Food Policy Council
  • Wayne Stewart – Former president and CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation
  • Bonnie Devine – Previous Communist candidate for Calgary-East MLA
  • Greg Berdette – Wants to make photo radar an election issue
  • Gary Johnston – Retired rail worker, blind
  • Derek McKenzie – Not a career politician
  • Lawrence Oshanek – Participated in lawsuits against the City.

Before I start checking out what the candidates veiws are on some of the issues that I’m concerned with, I’ll take a peek at some of the references from Wikipedia and do a little Googling for the people that initially strike me as not being someone I’d be interested in voting for.

Lawrence Oshanek

The Calgary Herald says he announced he was running after a three hour forum he attended, saying “I’ve been listening at three forums, and I feel singularly unimpressed at the people who is running”

The article also says he has taken part in lawsuits against the city, one last year that failed to overturn Calgary’s bylaw mandating life vests for rafters, and another that challenged voter-identification rules.  I happen to think that being required to wear life vests while rafting is a good idea, so no support from me there.   A little bit of Googling came up with this article in “The Calgary Beacon” written by him. He seems like an interesting character, and the changes to the voting regulations for mail in ballots that he pushed for sound like a good thing, but he doesn’t really seem to offer any sort of plan and doesn’t seem like a candidate that I’m interested in supporting.

Derek McKenzie

The Hearld article on him says

His list of key issues includes standard entries like transparency, fiscal responsibility and transportation, but McKenzie said what sets him apart is his lack of political baggage.

  He does have his own website which is a little thin on details at the moment, he does support one of the issues I’m interested in, which is having the airport tunnel built and there is a promise of more information to come.  I’ll check back on him in a week or two.

Gary Johnston

The Hearld had this to say about Gary Johnston:

Johnston is a retired rail worker who lived in British Columbia until four years ago, when he moved to Calgary for romance.

“I’m an honest guy, a fresh new start,” he said.

Just because he can’t see doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a leader’s vision, added Johnston, who plans to run a low-budget campaign starting in August.

I found this website when I Googled him, which looks like a pretty good resource for all of the candidates,

That seems to be all the information on him, which gives some background on his life but nothing about what he would really do if he got elected.  Doubtful that he’ll be getting my vote.

Greg Berdette

He’s got his own website, and it looks like it’s fairly well done.  He seems to have backed off of making photoradar an issue and has laid out a new platform in enough detail that I’ll be going back to his site to read through it in more detail and it’s bounced him up into consideration for me.  Interestingly he singles out Craig Burrows and Naheed Nenshi as exceptions to what he sees as a lack of vision for the city in most other candidates.

That’s enough for my initial look, more to come in the days to come as I have time to research the candidates a little more.

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