Share this page Print


Back  |  May 02, 2015  | 


There’s an election coming. And your city council has once again surveyed all the parties and posted their full answers at

This year, we asked about broad issues like city charters and future funding, as well as specific questions on items like the closure of the Calgary Young Offenders Centre and the building of the Calgary Cancer Centre. Five out of the six parties (all but the Liberals) responded to our survey before the deadline, and the results are a must-read for those deciding on their vote.

While the parties differ on specifics, the good news is that all who responded have ideas on the major issues facing the city, and I believe all of them would work with Calgary in order to help us address many of our challenges.

None of the responses is perfect and none exactly reflects the needs of Calgary, but they give citizens a lot to think about as they determine who deserves their vote, and highlight that there is a real choice facing Calgarians.

First, all parties have committed to developing new city charters for Calgary and Edmonton, as they did in 2012. The difference is that they all commit to concluding this process by 2016, following the timeline that we have been working on with the current government. None give details on what they would like in the charter, and there is some evidence that special interest groups are gathering to oppose any legislative change, but I am confident all parties would work with your city council to get this done.

As for the individual parties, the Progressive Conservatives, unsurprisingly, don’t promise any change beyond what we have today (they are the present government, after all). This means we will continue work on charters that was put on the front-burner by Premier Jim Prentice, have another conversation on new funding models, close the Calgary Young Offenders Centre, and build the new cancer hospital in two phases, on two sites: Foothills and the South Health Campus.

The Wildrose have the most specific plan for municipal funding — the same 10-10 plan they proposed in 2012, where 10 per cent of tax revenues and 10 per cent of surpluses would flow to municipalities, with the new twist of a regional infrastructure fund. Many questions remain about how this would work, but it’s an intriguing new idea. Their answers on other questions seemed a bit vague, but they seem open to discussion.

The NDP responses are similar and do suffer from some lack of detail, particularly around future financing. However, they do seem to understand urban issues well and commit to working closely with Calgary in the future to get the answers right.

As for the smaller parties, the Greens are still working through their municipal policies, and the Alberta Party, being Calgary-based, understands Calgary issues very well and had a number of good answers.

Two areas were disappointing: no party seems willing to take the needed leadership on regional issues, helping Calgary and our neighbours craft a sustainable future.

The most surprising, though, was that no party (with the possible exception of the Alberta Party) has a comprehensive flood plan. We must protect Calgary, particularly downtown Calgary, from the devastation of future floods on both rivers.

The PCs commit to more discussion, but only confirm the Springbank dry dam. The NDP and Wildrose would potentially cancel Springbank, but it’s not clear what they would replace it with (the NDP seem to like McLean Creek). All parties have to understand how important this is, and commit to develop a real plan, quickly.

Overall, though, what the survey results show is that Calgarians have to vote. There are good choices and options there, and you should vote for whomever you think has the right answers to the questions that are important to you. Calgarians aren’t afraid of anything: vote for the party you believe in and the future you want. But vote.

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi ​

Categories: Columns; Provincial; Environment

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​Femb​​