Mayor Naheed Nenshi has announced he will seek re-election next year.
In a video message this morning, the mayor touted his record on infrastructure, transit, recreation and economics but said there’s still more work to do.
News Talk 770’s Danielle Smith says Nenshi has a couple of black marks on his record–his viral rant against Uber and a dispute with developer Cal Wenzel–but overall his record with the current council is good. “They have worked really hard to run surpluses, to bring down taxes, to defer fees for the Green Cart and to also be looking at ways of reducing red tape. He’s building the LRT on Centre Street which was an early election promise. As far as I can see, he’s lived up to a lot of his campaign committments. He hasn’t had very many missteps and for fiscal conservatives he’s done not a bad job of overseeing a fiscally conservative council this year.”
Smith says at this point in time, it’s something of an advantage for Calgary to have a mayor from the progressive side of the spectrum. She says he is well-positioned to massage good relationships with the Trudeau and Notley governments which bodes well for issues such as the city charter, Green Line funding for the LRT, and additional infrastructure spending. Smith adds Nenshi can also help the city’s energy sector in the pipeline debate. “We’re dealing with some progressive mayors that are opposed to our pipelines-Gregor Robertson in Vancouver, as well as Denis Coderre in Quebec City. The fact that they are fellow travellers on a lot of the same issues I think gives him a lot of credibility when he stands up for our energy sector–which he done a great job as well.”
Smith says she hopes someone will run against Nenshi, saying contested races are always good, but she doesn’t think he’ll lose. She says the strongest candidates are usually found among the current council. “Diane Colley-Urquhart would be the obvious one because she really taking a very strong stand to try to solve some of the problems happening within the Calgary Police Service. Another name that often gets floated is Andre Chabot. I think he is distinguishing himself as the new ‘Dr. No’ on council, he is more on the conservative side of the spectrum. But there’s a big risk if you’re a sitting councillor running against a popular mayor. If you lose, then you no longer have your council seat.” As far as outsiders, Smith can’t think of any potential challengers who have the profile and support to challenge Nenshi.