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

Just Posted

Vedder Rotary trail network in Chilliwack will be closed for five days on the south side

The upgrade will take until Friday so trail users asked to take alternate routes

Chilliwack encouraged to commemorate liberation of Holland

Planning already underway to mark the 75th anniversary of the event

UPDATE: RCMP confirm body of missing Chilliwack senior found

Ethel ‘Grace’ Baranyk had severe dementia

RCMP urge caution for back to school drivers

Police are asking drivers to slow down and watch for pedestrians

UPDATE: Police response on Cheam First Nation a ‘non-event’, RCMP say

More than two dozen RCMP and ERT vehicles were at the First Nation looking for a known fugitive

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

UPDATE: Crown cross-examines B.C. father accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

Most Read