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Back  |  March 22, 2019  | 

​The following was published by Postmedia on March 22, 2019:

And we’re off.  Over the next few weeks until Election Day, you’ll be bombarded with ads and messages, fresh-faced candidates will appear at your door, and on April 16, you’ll get to make your choice.  I hope you’ll make it with Calgary in mind. We need to ensure our voices as Calgarians are heard and the critical issues facing our community are acknowledged and addressed
In previous provincial and federal elections, I’ve asked questions on your behalf to all the parties based on their plans for Calgary, and we’re doing it again.
Last week, my City Council colleagues and I launched YYC Matters –  a campaign getting political parties on the record on their plans for Calgary.
We sent a series of questions to the various parties asking them specifically how they will honour the commitments made to Calgary, how they will promote economic recovery in this city, how they will support Calgarians through this economic recovery, and how they plan to help close Calgary’s infrastructure gap. We’ll post all the results from every party verbatim in early April at, and you can go there now to see the survey we’ve sent.
Of course, the number one issue on the minds of Calgarians is the economy, jobs, and growth. We need tools, investments and partnership from the province in promoting our economic recovery. Alberta’s economy is hurting but Calgary is at the epicenter of that pain. How will each party support business? Will they follow the lead of the City is supporting small business and investing in growth? What’s their plan for helping businesses seeing massive increases in property tax due to the assessment shift? What are their plans to attract more investment and business to Calgary?
Some other examples of commitments we are seeking on your behalf: we need a firm commitment to build the Springbank Dry Dam – our best option for protecting Calgary from flooding on the Elbow River, as well as commitment to upstream mitigation on the Bow River.  
We are in the middle of the largest investment in public transit in our history, and we can’t take our foot of the gas.  We need to confirm commitment to Phase 1 of the Green Line and talk about how and when we will get the rest of the line built: from north of Country Hills to Seton. The current government is funding the Green Line though revenue from the carbon tax; if parties promise to remove the levy, they need to tell us how they will fund (or not fund) this transit investment.
We need to know if they’ll support Calgarians through this economic recovery by fully funding the Low Income Transit Pass used by 60,000 Calgarians. We need to know how they’ll help us fund affordable housing for the 1 in 5 Calgarians that need it.
We also need the province to commit to closing the infrastructure gap in Calgary. In addition to affordable housing and the Green Line, big projects like the field house and Arts Commons expansion need provincial support as well.
I love politics and I love elections.  I’ve been following elections on volunteering on campaigns since I was young, and now I have a rare vantage point on this election, one that I will share with all of you.  I have to say, though, that I’m not really looking forward to this campaign.  It seems to be about who can sling more mud, about dragging down rather than lifting up, on dividing rather than uniting. As Calgarians, let’s reject that and get the candidates talking about real issues that matter to Calgarians. About how Calgary Matters.
Naheed K Nenshi is Mayor of Calgary. The survey can be seen at

Categories: Better economy; City planning; Columns; Economic development; Even smarter City Hall; Stronger communities

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