Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: All eyes on Naheed Nenshi

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 will be Calgary’s 36th mayor’s day, and his/her time to shine and to celebrate his/her victory. However, October 18th, which is election day, will truly be Naheed Nenshi’s day, win or lose. Nenshi has come a long way from being a low polling candidate overshadowed by Ric McIver and Barb Higgins, to a surging 3rd candidate who can now claim one and a half newspaper endorsements (one from the Calgary Sun and an honorable mention from the Calgary Herald) and polling in the 20s at least. Nenshi’s background and history is one of great interest, and far more detailed and known than his challengers Higgins and McIver.

Biography

Nenshi was born in Toronto and grew up in Marlborough in Calgary, and the beginnings of his political interest began right at Queen Elizabeth Jr/Sr High school, where he was the Prime Minister of school’s 10th mock parliament. Interesting enough, then MLA Bob Hawkesworth was invited as Speaker of the House. Nenshi went on to become president of the University of Calgary’s Students’ Union, and his current campaign manager Chima Nkemdirim, served as Vice President External.

Nenshi would finish his university education with a Bachelors of Commerce at the University of Calgary, and would also obtain a Masters in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

He would go on to working with McKinsey & Company abroad, one of the world’s top business consulting companies. Nenshi decided to return to Calgary at the age of 29 despite a lucrative offer in Geneva, according to the Herald. Back at home, Nenshi started his own consulting firm, the Ascend Group, and worked with various companies including the Gap, the Government of Alberta, and the United Nations.

Nenshi joined Canada25, a group for Canadians under the age of 35 that worked towards developing public policy. In 2002, he was the lead author of “Building Up : Making Canada’s Cities Magnets for Talent and Engines of Development.”

He has served as the Chair of the Epcor Centre for Performing Arts, was the lead author for imagineCalgary’s 100 year plan, co-founded the Better Calgary Campaign, and was deeply involved with Civic Camp’s beginnings.

Nenshi is now a professor at Mount Royal University’s Bissett School of Business.

Civic involvement

Nenshi’s initial involvement with city politics was during the time when council was considering on selling Enmax. He believed the sale of Enmax to Enron was completely undervalued and should have been noted by city council. Whether or not Nenshi did anything to prevent the sale of Enmax, we now know what did end up happening to Enron.

Nenshi contested in Ward 3 in 2004 after Canada25 decided to field an aldermanic candidate after then Alderman John Schmal decided to step down. Nenshi placed 4th behind 3rd place (now current Ward 3 alderman) Jim Stevenson and 1st place (former Ward 3 alderman) Helene Larocque.

Nenshi continued to engage in civic politics with the Better Calgary Campaign, a local watchdog of civic politics. He has involved himself in Civic Camp, another group devoted to civic engagement and renewal. He has also been a Calgary Herald columnists, writing on various issues about city hall before he decided to run for mayor.

The draft

Nenshi campaign in the early days began with a draft on Facebook. Nenshi responded and for some time, it was really a decision between running for alderman or running for mayor. Some would have liked to see him run in an aldermanic race, but Nenshi decided that the better path would be to run for mayor. Has it paid off for Nenshi to run for mayor? The momentum says yes, but the final confirmation will be the poll numbers.

What has been so spectacular is that the Nenshi camp started off with someone else wanting Nenshi to run. Has it been the same for Ric McIver? Yes to a degree, but Nenshi started out as a low profile candidate despite his civic involvement around the city. In order to get from a grassroots campaign with almost no name recognition (in the general public) to a statistical tie with Higgins and McIver is an amazing feat itself.

The Better Ideas

Nenshi’s strongest weapon to date has been his platform. People have been captivated by the fact that Nenshi has a strong platform, which details what needs to be fixed and how. It is probably why Nenshi has attracted the young people. It has not just been through social media. The fact that the next generation of Calgarians are skeptical of candidates who provide vague platforms and ideas has helped Nenshi. He has gone on the offensive with nothing to lose since the beginning, and that has helped him tremendously.

Nenshi’s 12 better ideas, coupled with his cutredtape.ca and buildthetunnel.ca websites, have propelled Nenshi to the top of the race. He emerged from the lower tier candidates, and this has earned him an endorsement from the Calgary Sun and an honourable mention from the Herald. It’s because Nenshi had something that the editorial boards could read into and work on that he gained the endorsements, and that has left his competitors in the dust.

Scuffle with the chief

When Nenshi asked two questions about the police department funding, he received the wrath from Calgary’s police chief Rick Hanson. While Nenshi targeted Ric McIver, it brought out Hanson, who called Nenshi’s position to be “ill-informed” and “irresponsible.” This was the turning point for Nenshi’s camp, according to the Fast Forward Weekly, as Nenshi had demonstrated he was a viable candidate if other responded to his campaign.

John Dooks, president of the Calgary Police Association, was not impressed by Nenshi’s statements as well. The union would go on to endorse Ric McIver for mayor.

Social media giant

Nenshi and his campaign team have developed a massive online presence that has been virtually everywhere. All the social networking sites, most notably Twitter, cannot escape this massive presence. Nenshi’s rabid followers have essentially kicked out all the online McIver followers that once dominated the Calgary Herald online comments section. This Ron Paul-like dominance has given Nenshi the upper hand when it comes to his social media strategy. When Nenshi released his iPhone application, this signaled the end of the Internet race between him and McIver and Higgins.

Nenshi has the largest Facebook following, which is close to 10,000 fans. In 2007, the largest mayoral following was only 400. Times have changed in the early days of Facebook and YouTube. On Twitter, the #yycvote hashtag is completely dominated by pro-Nenshi supporters in their purple avatars. They work as a collective to bring down any kind of anti-Nenshi rhetoric, especially that coming from the Hawkesworth camp.

Attacks and crushing them

The power of the Nenshi mob, especially online, is frightening. When Bob Hawkesworth decided to launch an out-of-context video claiming that Nenshi was committed to selling Enmax, the Nenshi-bots all went after the so-called “Hawkesworth trolls”. The unusually aggressive and troll-ish behavior of Hawkesworth’s online team was challenged and was overshadowed by Nenshi’s online masses. Bob Hawkesworth would later concede and throw his support behind Barb Higgins. Even after Hawkesworth wrapped up his campaign, his online team has continued to attack Nenshi and McIver aggressively.

Support for Nenshi

All candidates have received various endorsements from candidates and the like. McIver has been endorsed by former Ward 6 alderman Craig Burrows and current Ward 13 alderman Diane Colley-Urquhart. In addition, he’s been endorsed by the Calgary Police Association and Calgary Herald. Higgins received backing from Paul Hughes and Alnoor Kassam, who were both once considering a run for the mayor’s chair. She has also since been endorsed by Bob Hawkesworth after he dropped his campaign for mayor. Nenshi has been endorsed by Wayne Stewart after he stopped his campaign. MLA for Calgary-Buffalo Kent Hehr, who was considering a run, also endorsed Nenshi.

The 3 way debate

Nenshi challenged the top two contenders to a 3 way debate with this drastic quote from Rick Bell’s “Ready to rumble” column:

“Anytime, any place. A time of their choosing, a place of their choosing, a moderator of their choosing, a format of their choosing, I will be there.”

A 3 way debate never occurred between the candidates.

The purple madness

The distinct colour of purple has also added to the Nenshi camp. You can see it anywhere, and it’s to a point where people are starting to get annoyed by the colour. However, it has distinguished Nenshi from the rest, which usually feature some sort of blue or red, and has made it stick out. It started out as a very bland gold and blue, but the purple has done its job this election. Some will even be glad the purple goes away after the election, especially with the Nenshi supporters that dominate on Twitter.

Political leanings

Some, like the National Post and Dan Arnold, are perplexed that Calgary would choose a more left-leaning mayoral candidate and how Toronto is ready for their conservative Rob Ford. However, Calgary has always elected more liberal mayors compared to what Calgarians prefer provincially. However, some contest this claim because the mayors may be “liberal” in party name only. Dave Bronconnier ran under the Liberal banner against Rob Anders. Al Duerr had a membership in the federal Liberal party. Ralph Klein believe it or not, once was a member of the Liberal party. Rod Sykes ran under the Liberal banner in the 1980s. Grant MacEwan was the leader of the Alberta Liberal Party before he became mayor. Harry Hays was a Liberal under the Pearson government. Donald Mackay had two unsuccessful runs for federal politics as a Liberal candidate. Surely the claim that Calgary has changed is quite different than what history might show.

Polling to the top

Nenshi has stunned poliitcal observers with his low polling numbers skyrocketing to tie with Higgins and McIver. It would be a safe bet that both Higgins and McIver did not expect this just a couple of months ago. What began as an inevitable Bronconnier vs. McIver showdown is now a rare 3-way battle between Nenshi, Higgins, and McIver. While some disagree with the claim that Nenshi is at the 30% mark, it has been astonishing to see him come from 1-5% to at least the 20% mark in a matter of just 2-3 weeks. No other candidate, including past and present alderman running, has been able to pull this feat.

Win or lose, civic politics might change

Whether Nenshi wins or loses this mayoral election, it is inevitable that he has changed how many people, especially the youth, look at city politics. In the optimistic sense, a Nenshi victory would transform city politics and re-engage the youth like never before. The next generation of Calgarians will start to pay attention to city politics, something that we have not seen in in a very, very long time. That would be a legacy that no other mayor before him could claim. In the pessimistic sense however should Nenshi lose, it could have a devastating effect. The youth and young adults might see it as “the same old game” and leave with a sense that their efforts were futile. That would not be good going into 2013 as people’s interest will inevitable drop. It would also be unlikely to see a Nenshi run in 2019 or 2022.

However, regardless of the result, Nenshi will have established himself as a very powerful and influential individual in this city. He will have more sway and a bigger following than any of the aldermen elected on council regardless of what the outcome is. His grassroots following will carry over regardless, and no aldermanic candidate or incumbent can claim that at this point (although McIver comes close).

Nenshi has garnered more national attention than McIver during his run, and his campaign will be a case study for years to come.

Sources

Calgary’s underdog mayoral candidate Naheed Nenshi defies categories – National Post

A three-way showdown for mayor of Calgary – The Globe and Mail

Remington: Nenshi is the true face of change for Calgary – Calgary Herald

Dan Arnold: Dear Toronto, Calgary wants its personality back – The National Post

From back of the pack to a real contender – The Fast Forward Weekly

Mayoral hopeful Nenshi, Police Chief Hanson spar over election claims – Global Calgary

Ready to rumble – Calgary Sun . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: All eyes on Naheed Nenshi

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: All eyes on Naheed Nenshi

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 will be Calgary’s 36th mayor’s day, and his/her time to shine and to celebrate his/her victory. However, October 18th, which is election day, will truly be Naheed Nenshi’s day, win or lose. Nenshi has come a long way from being a low polling candidate overshadowed by Ric McIver and Barb Higgins, . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: All eyes on Naheed Nenshi

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Age of McIver? Higgins’s Era? Nenshi’s Legacy?

Most Calgarians are certain that come October 18th, 2010, the city will be electing a mayor that will stay on at least for the next decade. Unless we have some short term mayors like Algers or Hartman, we can expect our new mayor will reign at least un… . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Age of McIver? Higgins’s Era? Nenshi’s Legacy?

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Age of McIver? Higgins’s Era? Nenshi’s Legacy?

Most Calgarians are certain that come October 18th, 2010, the city will be electing a mayor that will stay on at least for the next decade. Unless we have some short term mayors like Algers or Hartman, we can expect our new mayor will reign at least until 2019. Who will it be? We’ve come . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Age of McIver? Higgins’s Era? Nenshi’s Legacy?

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: One final look at the ward races

Ward 1: Chris Harper’s momentum has been slowly chipped away by surging campaigns of Ric Lockhart and Bill Scott. However, with time ticking, it seems like the 3 will be splitting the votes amongst themselves rather than taking away Dale Hodges’ share…. . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: One final look at the ward races

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: One final look at the ward races

Ward 1: Chris Harper’s momentum has been slowly chipped away by surging campaigns of Ric Lockhart and Bill Scott. However, with time ticking, it seems like the 3 will be splitting the votes amongst themselves rather than taking away Dale Hodges’ share. Even Judi Vandenbrink will be chipping away at Harper’s potential. It’s hard to . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: One final look at the ward races

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: VoteCalgary forum tests candidates’ knowledge

I was invited to the VoteCalgary aldermanic forum on Wednesday and heard all the aldermanic candidates given their 90 seconds on various questions that were important to the CHBA and UDI. While some are critical of the development industry and their st… . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: VoteCalgary forum tests candidates’ knowledge

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: VoteCalgary forum tests candidates’ knowledge

I was invited to the VoteCalgary aldermanic forum on Wednesday and heard all the aldermanic candidates given their 90 seconds on various questions that were important to the CHBA and UDI. While some are critical of the development industry and their stance and influence (money particularly), the forum gave us a glimpse of something else . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: VoteCalgary forum tests candidates’ knowledge

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Sean Chu

Sean Chu immigrated to Canada in 1985 after three years of military service in Taiwan. He worked for his family’s pizza joint before becoming a police officer. He decided to be involved in politics after having children. He has received the Alberta Centennial Medal for Outstanding Community Service , and picked to be on the Premier’s Calgary Advisory Committee. 
Why are running for alderman in Ward 4?
Chu believes he can make a difference because it is his nature to help people out, and one way to do that is through city council. 
Chu has a variety of volunteer experience, and believes his connections to ward 4 will highlight his involvement. He says that his family and friends all still reside in ward 4 and he wants to give back to that community. 
What does the city look like 100 years from now?
“I envision the city to be five times its size,” says Chu. 
He also envisions a north-central LRT and better traffic flow. Chu cited an article that if traffic flow is improved by 10%, productivity goes up by 25%. He also sees a better bidding process for the city and that there will not be “the ‘f’ (fraud) word.”
Is social media an important driving force, or is it still the voting demographic and the hot issues that dictate the election?
Chu believes that the social media right now is helping solidify its own future.
“I think we are on the way there, but not today,” says Chu. “People still like face to face and door-knocking.”
Chu told CalgaryPoliitcs.com that 70-80% of his signs are on private property as a testament of the power of door-knocking. However, social media has an optimistic political future.
“We are going in the right direction,” says a hopeful Chu. “It’s a trend for the future.”
What was one thing the city did right this term?
Chu believes that city council did the right thing to try and sell and promote Calgary to other cities and overseas. He said you needed a leader to promote the city, and while many bash Bronconnier for going overseas, it was integral for our growth. 
“When you don’t have the little things, you can’t put things together,” says Chu of all the things the city needs to pursue to make it a better city. 
Should municipalities be granted constitutional powers?
“Once you have constitutional powers, if you have the wrong people in power, you might get taxed to death,” warned Chu.
Chu wants to find a way for the city to collect taxes, but a cap should be in place and no hidden taxes should be allowed.
Almost all candidates have preached the importance of transportation. Would you take the bus to work at least once a week if elected? If not, why would you not take it if you are recommending Calgarians should take it?
“When I was a policeman, I took the bus 90% of the time,” says Chu. “If I don’t have to rush from one place to another, I would rather take the bus.”
Chu told CalgaryPolitics.com that he enjoys bus rides while listening to music or reading a book. 
What does your platform include in terms of Aboriginal issues?
Chu does not have specifics on Aboriginal issues, but believes it is still an important one.
“It’s kind of hard because it’s not necessarily a city issue,” says Chu. 
Chu says he wants see programs with actual merit in order for him to consider it, and it would not matter what issue it may be. 
With CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw, do you believe the city has a place for dictating and monitoring the conduct of its citizens?
Chu believes in safety comes first when it boils down to issues like closed-circuit televisions or the public behavior bylaw. 
“It’s not just good for citizens, it’s also good for the homeless,” says Chu.
“As policemen, we have no time to pick on the homeless,” Chu suggested. “We are just like everyone else. We have compassion for them too.”
Chu describes how police officers went out of their way to get shoes for the homeless, and says that police are not trying to segregate any one population.
CCTVs act as witnesses and are useful in deterring crime, says Chu, and he believes it is a partial reason why crime rates have fallen in the down town area.
“If you didn’t commit a crime, you shouldn’t be afraid,” Chu told CalgaryPolitics.com.
This is cross-posted with CalgaryPolitics.com

. . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Sean Chu

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Sean Chu

Sean Chu immigrated to Canada in 1985 after three years of military service in Taiwan. He worked for his family’s pizza joint before becoming a police officer. He decided to be involved in politics after having children. He has received the Alberta Centennial Medal for Outstanding Community Service , and picked to be . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Sean Chu

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Brad Northcott

Brad Northcott grew up in Huntington Hills and when to John A. MacDonald and John G. Diefenbaker schools before they were junior and senior highs respectively. He has raised all of his kids here and has decided to give back to the community as his kids now have all grown up. He graduated from SAIT as a journeyman plumber and now operates his own plumbing business. 
Why are running for alderman in Ward 4?
Northcott thought that issues such as pools and libraries needed to be addressed because these were concerns that may not get as much coverage in the media. He also thought that the airport tunnel issue was extremely important.
What does the city look like 100 years from now?
“It looks like we’ll have higher density in the established neighborhoods,” says Northcott. 
He also believes that the north-central LRT line will be an important issue in the future, and was concerned about the disruptions it may cause in the future for communities.
Northcott looks back and is amazed that ward 4 is now “the outer ring of inner communities.”
“Density will grow and pressure on infrastructure will grow,” remarks Northcott. “The building blocks need to be put into place now.”  
Is social media an important driving force, or is it still the voting demographic and the hot issues that dictate the election?
While Northcott thought the Internet was key to accessibility in terms of information, he still needs to see how social media will evolve.
“I’m not big on it. I don’t really utilize it,” says Northcott.
What was one thing the city did right this term?
Northcott told CalgaryPolitics.com that the city really benefited from the major roads and infrastructure that this past council put in. It was something “that had to be done.”
Should municipalities be granted constitutional powers?
“I’d like to learn more about the ability to have a firm grasp of funds,” says Northcott.
While Northcott said he would be open to explore the issue, his first instincts tell him that it might not be a good idea for municipalities across the country.
Almost all candidates have preached the importance of transportation. Would you take the bus to work at least once a week if elected? If not, why would you not take it if you are recommending Calgarians should take it?
Northcott is a tradesperson and usually requires a car to go all over the city, but he was open to the idea of taking transit to work.
“I am interested in trying the bus and appreciating transit,” says Northcott.
What does your platform include in terms of Aboriginal issues?
Northcott said he had nothing specific for any particular ethnic group. As a Metis, he believes everyone benefits from his platform and ideas.
“I am open to anything that will make things better,” says Northcott. 
He also says that he does appreciate issues about affordable housing and will work to find ways to benefit everyone.
With CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw, do you believe the city has a place for dictating and monitoring the conduct of its citizens?
“I like the security aspect of it. I don’t like the interference in the freedom of life,” suggests Northcott.
He says that the “erosional quality of life” and concerns in high density areas have made the subject matter an important one. Security devices are not meant to be spying and disturbing people who may sleep under a tree because their homeless according to Northcott.
He relates to a case where an individual was being disorderly at a golf course because he was intoxicated. In cases like that, a public behavior rules were fair and appropriate in dealing with individuals like that.
“There are boundaries. There have to be boundaries,” Northcott told CalgaryPolitics.com

This is cross-posted with CalgaryPolitics.com

. . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Brad Northcott

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Brad Northcott

Brad Northcott grew up in Huntington Hills and when to John A. MacDonald and John G. Diefenbaker schools before they were junior and senior highs respectively. He has raised all of his kids here and has decided to give back to the community as his kids now have all grown up. He graduated from SAIT . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Brad Northcott

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Jon Wong

Jon Wong was born and raised in Calgary and in ward 4. He went to the University of Western Ontario and received a B.A. in political science and governmental affairs with honours. He currently works as a marketing and business director for a painting contractor. In his spare time, Jon is involved with . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Jon Wong

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Jon Wong

Jon Wong was born and raised in Calgary and in ward 4. He went to the University of Western Ontario and received a B.A. in political science and governmental affairs with honours. He currently works as a marketing and business director for a painting contractor. In his spare time, Jon is involved with coaching amateur sports at the club level and at all three levels of schooling. 
Why are running for alderman in Ward 4?
Wong wants to give back to the community that he was born and raised in.
“I commend all candidates for running. It’s not an easy thing to do,” says Wong.
However, Wong says that there has been a lack of focus and understanding about the community from candidates as his top concern is meeting community needs.
What does the city look like 100 years from now?
Wong hopes that Calgary will evolve to what Plan It set out the city to be. He also wants to see Calgary as “the best place in the world” to live in.
“We will have a self sustainable community, a vibrant economy, and the infrastructure is there for everyone,” says Wong.
Is social media an important driving force, or is it still the voting demographic and the hot issues that dictate the election?
“I still think that the traditional way of getting your name is still prominent in this election,” remarked Wong.
While Wong does not believe social media is on par with mainstream media, it does have a place to get his generation out there to vote and learn about the election.
“A lot of them associate with social media, just not politics,” Wong pointed out. 
What was one thing the city did right this term?
Wong saw that over a large period of time, city council’s relationship with the provincial government was something that council was improving on. 
He pointed out that a significant portion of our funding does come from the province, so developing that key partnership with Edmonton is important.
Wong also saw city council moving in the right direction in promoting the city. 
Should municipalities be granted constitutional powers?
Wong did not believe that constitutional powers should be allotted to cities. He pointed out that between the federal and provincial governments, a lot of inefficiencies and arguments occur because of this federal system we put into place.
“You’re always going to have some sort of overlap,” says Wong. “Things aren’t going to get done.”
Almost all candidates have preached the importance of transportation. Would you take the bus to work at least once a week if elected? If not, why would you not take it if you are recommending Calgarians should take it?
Wong believes Calgary has a great transportation system and that taking the bus as an elected official would be setting an example for other Calgarians. 
“I think I would. Taking the bus would give me an awesome way to connect with the residents of Ward 4,” Wong told CalgaryPolitics.com. 
What does your platform include in terms of Aboriginal issues?
“They have the same issues as any other group. When I look at our ward, I look at them as fellow communities of the ward,” says Wong.
Wong said his platform contains issues that affect everyone regardless if they are Chinese or Aboriginal. He said that all groups have a voice, and they have to be heard.
With CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw, do you believe the city has a place for dictating and monitoring the conduct of its citizens?
Wong says there is a fine line between juggling public safety and removing the sense of big brother watching over citizens. Wong points out that closed circuit televisions do help police and protect the public, and that it depends on statistics about which communities have higher crime rates. 
On the public behavior bylaw, Wong found merit in it. He relates to efforts in Toronto to eliminate aggressive panhandlers because these individuals were disrupting everyone’s daily lives and ability to do so without disorderly interference.
Wong was careful to also point out that implementation had to follow what the intent of the law was originally.
“If there are complaints that it’s unfairly targeting the wrong people, we as city council should sit down and review it,” says Wong. 
This is cross-posted with CalgaryPolitics.com

. . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Jon Wong

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Carol Poon

Carol Poon was born in Calgary at the Holy Cross Hospital. She lived in Chinatown until she was 7 and moved to North Haven, which was then still on the edge of town. She graduate from James Fowler and went on to become an X-ray technician. She began a message therapy career in 1990 after attending Mount Royal College. She is married with two children and still lives in North Haven. 
Why are running for alderman in Ward 4?
Poon says that she is running in ward 4 because she grew up in this area and because “it was something I needed to do.”
“I feel I have the skills for it,” Poon told CalgaryPolitics.com. “You can’t complain about things, you have to do something about it.”
What does the city look like 100 years from now?
“I would like to see a city where transit is the primary source,” says Poon. 
She believes Calgary will be a place where communities are multi-use and community centred. She also envisions not just an oil and gas capital, but an energy capital. 
Is social media an important driving force, or is it still the voting demographic and the hot issues that dictate the election?
While Poon believes that both face-to-face time and social media are important, she does not believe a lot of people are engaged in the social media side of things.
She says it is important to engage people, she is not sure if social media is doing the trick.
“People watching [social media] are already involved, but are we reaching out to those not engaged?” asks Poon. 
What was one thing the city did right this term?
Poon believes that the city did the right thing by not pursuing the airport tunnel. 
“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transport Canada could shut [the tunnel] down because it’s a security threat as it is under a runway,” argued Poon. “Why waste all that money that we don’t have on something that could never be used and increase risk?”
Poon believes that the security risks involved outweigh the transportation need that many candidates are siding with. 
Should municipalities be granted constitutional powers?
According to Poon, cities could benefit from more jurisdictional boundaries, and it would distinguish the responsibilities of the federal government, province, and city. Poon did not elaborate more on her points.
Almost all candidates have preached the importance of transportation. Would you take the bus to work at least once a week if elected? If not, why would you not take it if you are recommending Calgarians should take it?
“I would definitely take the bus,” suggested Poon. “Transit should be the first choice over the last choice for people.”
Poon said she takes the bus downtown when she needs to go there.
What does your platform include in terms of Aboriginal issues?
Poon says that while she does not include Aboriginals directly, the city has already met the needs of Aboriginals because there are so many groups already working with them.
“There are so many agencies doing an excellent job, so we should let them continue doing what they are best at,” says Poon. “We don’t need to necessarily step in.”
With CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw, do you believe the city has a place for dictating and monitoring the conduct of its citizens?
Poon argues that there needs to be balance between personal liberties and freedoms versus the greater good of the whole.
“Unfortunately, something we have to give up some of our personal freedoms for the good of all,” says Poon regarding measures like closed circuit televisions and the public behavior bylaw. 
This is cross-posted with CalgaryPolitics.com

. . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Carol Poon

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Carol Poon

Carol Poon was born in Calgary at the Holy Cross Hospital. She lived in Chinatown until she was 7 and moved to North Haven, which was then still on the edge of town. She graduate from James Fowler and went on to become an X-ray technician. She began a message therapy career in 1990 after . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Carol Poon

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Curtis Kruschel

Curtis Kruschel has lived in Huntington Hills for the past fourteen years with his wife and two daughters. He is involved in his community mainly through sports. He is a referee coordinator for many north west communities in Calgary, as well as the president of the Nose Creek Swim Association. 
Why are running for alderman in Ward 4?
“I’m running because I’ve been an active part of the community,” Kruschel tells CalgaryPoliticsl.com.
Whether it is the swim club or the soccer club, Kruschel says that he is deeply involved in his community and that is important when you are running for office. He wants to take it a step further by running so that he can give a voice for communities and clubs that he is involved in.
What does the city look like 100 years from now?
Kruschel sees a large train network in place that would join the four outer towns that currently surround Calgary. He believes that Calgary will also be a hub for oil business in Canada and a strong business core in the downtown area.
However, he also sees a future where the city will be more dependent on renewable resources such as solar, and an eco-friendly world that will avoid carbon-based power. 
Is social media an important driving force, or is it still the voting demographic and the hot issues that dictate the election?
While Krushel believes that social media is important in this election, he is skeptical about the electoral success it will yield.
“It won’t help them win probably,” says Kruschel. 
He also believes that if you do not start early learning some of the social media that is available out there, you are going to run into a steep learning curve later on. 
He believes that Facebook is more valuable because you get messages and more detailed posts, while Twitter is more of a distraction to him than anything else. Kruschel also believes new sites will evolve by the time the next election rolls in.
“I don’t know if Facebook will still be there in 2013,” says Kruschel. 
What was one thing the city did right this term?
Kruschel listed a variety of things which he thought the city did right including the 100 Chinatown anniversary events and the expanded BRT system, but he thought the city did an excellent job when WorldSkills was in town.
“I think the city did a good job of hosting it,“ Krushchel thought. 
He also believes it actively engaged students, which was a bonus for getting people excited about the event. 
Should municipalities be granted constitutional powers?
Kruschel believes in some changes to the city in terms of power.
“We should be autonomous in how we get out money,” says Kruschel. 
He says that the ability to spend money without going through the province every time would give us more flexibility. However, he does not believe in full constitutional changes if it means we are responsible for the costs of some capital projects.
“If [the province] is going to pay for it, that’s great,” thought Kruschel. “I think the province does a better job than fifteen councilors.”
Almost all candidates have preached the importance of transportation. Would you take the bus to work at least once a week if elected? If not, why would you not take it if you are recommending Calgarians should take it?
Kruschel says he takes the bus to work most days because it is easier and cheaper.
“I want to take the bus because it keeps me in touch with the people,” says Kruschel.
He also states that he would take the car on certain days, such a council meetings or when he needs to pick his children up from school.
What does your platform include in terms of Aboriginal issues?
Kruschel told CalgaryPolitics.com that he has nothing specific about Aboriginal issues because his platform is “not meant to segregate the population.”
“There is nothing I would not say to a Cauasian that I would say to an Asian,” Kruschel remarked. “I do what is best for the city as a whole.”
With CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw, do you believe the city has a place for dictating and monitoring the conduct of its citizens?
Kruschel believes that closed circuit televisions should only be used if necessary, and they are needed in some regards. However, he does not believe it is the city’s job to be watching people.
As for the public behavior bylaw, Kruschel points out that it boils down to enforceability. 
“If you can’t enforce it, there’s no point in having it,” says Kruschel. “Let the system take care of itself if you can’t enforce it.”
Kruschel favours black and white bylaws that must be specific.
“Our bylaws are written in a way that you have to be a doctor to understand them,” Kruschel argued.

This is cross-posted with CalgaryPolitics.com

. . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Curtis Kruschel

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Curtis Kruschel

Curtis Kruschel has lived in Huntington Hills for the past fourteen years with his wife and two daughters. He is involved in his community mainly through sports. He is a referee coordinator for many north west communities in Calgary, as well as the president of the Nose Creek Swim Association.  Why are running for alderman . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Curtis Kruschel

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Leslie Bedard

Leslie Bedard was born in Saskatchewan and moved to Alberta when she was twelve. Later on, she worked for the Edmonton John Howard Society after attending Grant MacEwan College. She moved to Calgary in 1997 and pursued a B.A. in English and a B.Ed at the University of Calgary. She has taught in several high schools in the city, and is now pursuing a Masters in Counseling Psychology.

Why are running for alderman in Ward 4?
Bedard cited her main reason for running in Ward 4 because she lives in the ward. She believes that she is a strong candidate because she “can work together and bring something to the discussion.”
“I just think there’s a lot of people in this because people are angry,” says Bedard. “It’s not a job we should be doing out of anger.”
What does the city look like 100 years from now?
“I hope that Calgary maintains its small town feeling,” Bedard said.
Bedard believes that the sense of community and friendliness is important to Calgary while trying to maintaining and growing itself as a business hub. 
Beyond that, Bedard hopes that people will start to carry Calgary through all sorts of growth regardless of whether or not the oil industry will continue to define Calgary’s economy. 
Is social media an important driving force, or is it still the voting demographic and the hot issues that dictate the election?
Bedard does not think social media is crucial in an election campaign, but it will aid a candidate. She believes that the Obama campaign was a different franchise and is not comparable to a civic setting. 
She does that social media can provide conversation that you would normally miss, but it is not enough to shift who the regular voting demographics. 
“We will see younger voters more engaged,” Bedard says. 
What was one thing the city did right this term?
One of the highlights that Bedard thought city council did right was “stepping up and willing to help get Calgary festival friendly.”
She felt that during a time when festivals were feeling threatened by various factors, the city made the right call to intervene and help out.
She also noted that moving forward with events like the Bow River Flow was important for the city. Festivals like these are free and help families enjoy their weekend. It also adds to Calgary’s identity and encourages people to come and visit the city. 
Should municipalities be granted constitutional powers?
While Bedard has given it some thought on the constitutional question, her first instinct is in favour of such a move. However, she adds that it is something that she will look into further since she does not have a lot of information on the issue. 
Almost all candidates have preached the importance of transportation. Would you take the bus to work at least once a week if elected? If not, why would you not take it if you are recommending Calgarians should take it?
Bedard believes that taking the bus is important, and acknowledges that she is lucky to live only two blocks away from a transit stop.
“I would take the bus at least once a week. Once a week is cheating, I would take it everyday,” Bedard asserted. “If you can take it one day a week, you can take it everyday of the week.”
What does your platform include in terms of Aboriginal issues?
“It’s implied in my platform that we need to be wiling to work with family and individuals left on the fringes,” Bedard said when asked about whether or not Aboriginal issues were in her platform.
While there were no specifics about Aboriginal issues, Bedard said she would try to include anyone in ways that they are not included in the city. 
With CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw, do you believe the city has a place for dictating and monitoring the conduct of its citizens?
Bedard believes that CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw are reactionary measures. However, Bedard suggests that cameras might make it easier to catch people and has helped in solving crime.
“Most crimes are not stopped by the fear of being filmed,” Bedard warned. 
She suggests that while bylaws might help, it is a sign that people need to “get back to the basics” and “remember manners,” something that city council cannot change in people. 

This is cross-posted with CalgaryPoliitcs.com

. . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Leslie Bedard

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Leslie Bedard

Leslie Bedard was born in Saskatchewan and moved to Alberta when she was twelve. Later on, she worked for the Edmonton John Howard Society after attending Grant MacEwan College. She moved to Calgary in 1997 and pursued a B.A. in English and a B.Ed at the University of Calgary. She has taught in several high . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Leslie Bedard

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Jane Morgan

Jane Morgan was born in Drumheller, Alberta, and currently lives in Highland Park. She has worked in a variety of jobs including insurance and telecommunications. Since 2004, she has owned her own book-keeping and consulting company. She has been active with the Wildrose Alliance, and acted as executive director in 2009. 
Why are running for alderman in Ward 4?
Morgan wants to restore accountability and the lost confidence people have in city hall. She says that being fiscally responsible is one of her top priorities if elected. She also described how she has been through good times and bad with Calgary, and it was time for her to give back to the community. 
What does the city look like 100 years from now?
“Technology will continue to grow in leaps and bounds,” says Morgan. “What I like to see are more unique ideas of how you work, such as telecommunicating, and work centered somewhere else.”
Morgan’s own employees work from home, and believes that this could be a growing in trend for Calgary in years to come. 
Morgan also believes that growth will be key to Calgary’s future. 
Is social media an important driving force, or is it still the voting demographic and the hot issues that dictate the election?
While Morgan believes that social media is a component to an election campaign right now, “it’s not necessarily crucial.” For her, it is all about getting out to the doors and meeting people, and that is how someone like Obama in 2008 ran his campaign.
Morgan also sees social media as a good inner campaign tool.
“It compliments a campaign because it’s a way to reach out to your organizers and getting them involved,” describes Morgan.
What was one thing the city did right this term?
Economic development was front and centre for Morgan. According to her, the city “showed positive results over the last three years nationally and globally,” even when we were in the midst of an economic recession.
“I believe [economic development] is a crucial element in maintaining city growth,” says Morgan. 
Should municipalities be granted constitutional powers?
In answering this question, Morgan questioned about why taxes were transferred from the cities to the provinces or to the federal government. The problem with this transfer according to Morgan is that “you have to ask for the money back to provide for the basic services for the city.”
Morgan believes that there should be greater autonomy, but it takes time and a shift in thinking if we are ever going to gain constitutional powers.
“The government closest to the people should have the greatest responsibility,” asserts Morgan. 
Almost all candidates have preached the importance of transportation. Would you take the bus to work at least once a week if elected? If not, why would you not take it if you are recommending Calgarians should take it?
“I’d be willing to do it once a week,” says Morgan.
If she does take transit to work, Morgan said it would be “an excellent and clear personal observation on what’s working and what’s not.” It would also provide her an opportunity to talk to people who take transit on a regularly basis.
What does your platform include in terms of Aboriginal issues?
Morgan says that she does not specifically address Aboriginals, and that a number of issues are not ethnic specific. 
She said that figures of poverty and homelessness are higher amongst Aboriginal people are higher, and that it is important to give people a hand up, which in turn helps the entire community. Morgan said she was in favour of halfway homes or methadone clinics if they do make improvements to their lives.
With CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw, do you believe the city has a place for dictating and monitoring the conduct of its citizens?
“I’m not opposed to the cameras in downtown if they are only observing the pubic,” says Morgan. 
Morgan pointed out that she was not sure just how much the city should be putting police service into monitoring instead of other activities. The purpose of these cameras she pointed out was to identify witnesses and crimes.
“If people are charged appropriately under the law, I’m OK with it,” Morgan responded.

This is cross-posted with CalgaryPolitics.com

. . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Jane Morgan

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Jane Morgan

Jane Morgan was born in Drumheller, Alberta, and currently lives in Highland Park. She has worked in a variety of jobs including insurance and telecommunications. Since 2004, she has owned her own book-keeping and consulting company. She has been active with the Wildrose Alliance, and acted as executive director in 2009.  Why are running for . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Jane Morgan

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 8 Interview with Zak Pashak

Zak Pashak currently lives in Sunalta and has so for the last seven years. In 2003, he opened Broken City, which serves as a live music venue. He is also the founder of Sled Island music festival, which has been a success since its inception in 2007. Pashak has also been named by Alberta Venture as one of the 50 most influential Albertas in 2010.  
Why are running for alderman in Ward 8?
Pashak describes himself as an urbanist and believes that Ward 8 Is the best place to live. He owns a business in the ward and has hosted a music festival in and around the ward as well. Through all of this, Pashak believes he has dealt with a lot of people in the ward to give him the understanding and knowledge to serve in Ward 8. 
What does the city look like 100 years from now?
Pashak believes that there will be some “pretty significant changes” a hundred years from now. He sees a city that will be environmentally sustainable, efficient, and affordable.
“[Calgary will have] a strong small business scene with a lot of great and independent business,” says Pashak.
Is social media an important driving force, or is it still the voting demographic and the hot issues that dictate the election?
In Pashak’s opinion, social media is ubiquitous.
“I think that social media has become important in more than just politics,” Pashak says.
For the election, Pashak believes that social media like Twitter and Facebook do help in getting information and delivering counter points to arguments made about city issues. This to Pashak, allows for broader discussion on a variety of topics.
“It’s a way to cut through the mysterious about specific issues,” adds Pashak.
What was one thing the city did right this term?
“I like the office of sustainability,” Zak remarked. “There are serious and real efforts being made on the sustainability front.”
According to Pashak, he has seen the city respond positively to Calgarians’ want for a more sustainable city. 
“If everyone needs to drive, we are going to run into roadblocks,” Pashak asserted.
What does your platform include in terms of Aboriginal issues?
Vibrancy is key to Pashak. He does not believe that candidates need specific platforms for a specific ethnicity. 
“I think a stronger city benefits everyone in the city, whether they are Aboriginal or wealthy people in Mount Royal,” says Pashak. 
With CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw, do you believe the city has a place for dictating and monitoring the conduct of its citizens?
Zak believes that the city needs to “make sure citizens feel safe from the actions of other citizens.” 
“I think that you need to be respectful of people’s rights and liberties, and the city should not overstep them,” Pashak explained. “If it’s an ineffective policy, we shouldn’t implement it.”
Pashak also believes that city needs to address underlying issues that have caused the city to bring forth initiatives like CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw. 
“Realistically, if we want to address the problems of homelessness, the question is how do we give these people a hand up?” says Pashak. “One of the best ways to help with that is to have transitional housing.”
Pashak argues that people are going to return into society and that transitional housing can ensure these people can be reintegrated into society. 
Is increased funding for police service justified even though Canada has seen a drop in crime?
Pashak believes that is an important subject matter, and is concerned with the direction that council set in terms of police funding.
 Pashak believes there was a “managerial oversight from council by allowing the police to keep their budget.”
“If my team started a smear campaign against my department, I would look at cuts in that department,” Zak suggested. 
He believes that the police could have looked a variety of places to make cuts, and that it sounded like a threat when the police said they wanted to take police officers off the streets.
“Not allowing the new council to have a say in the police budget was a horrible example of management,” Pashak added. 
Let’s say there was a potential for a drug clinic or halfway house being built in a community in Ward 8. How would you handle this and would you try to push it to another location?
Pashak believes the city needs to make people feel proud of their city and to feel safe. 
“Politicians should not try to use fear to get into office,” Pashak says.
Had public consultation been done right for many of these sensitive issues, Pashak believes that communities would “realize that this is exactly what we need in the city.”
This is cross-posted with CalgaryPolitics.com

. . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 8 Interview with Zak Pashak

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 8 Interview with Zak Pashak

Zak Pashak currently lives in Sunalta and has so for the last seven years. In 2003, he opened Broken City, which serves as a live music venue. He is also the founder of Sled Island music festival, which has been a success since its inception in 2007. Pashak has also been named by Alberta Venture . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 8 Interview with Zak Pashak

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward races to watch for this election

With 14 other pseudo mayoral races, there has to be an analysis somewhere of the potential ward races. Here is a breakdown of some of the more crucial races that people should be keeping their eyes on (especially if you live in them):Ward 1: This is a … . . . → Read More: Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward races to watch for this election