Nenshi comes under criticial fire at election forum

The Oct. 21 election for mayor will offer Calgarians a wide range of choices, if a recent election forum is any indication.

At a Citizens’ Mayoral Forum on Monday, Oct. 7 candidates running for mayor took dead aim at the current Calgary mayor, Naheed Nenshi, on everything from his beliefs to his spending priorities.

About 150 attended the forum, which was held at the MacEwan Ballroom in the University of Calgary.

Having started off with jabs aimed at Nenshi’s religion, mayoral candidate Larry Heather, started off by quoting from the Old Testament of the Bible about the wrath of God.

Heather warned Calgarians against voting for someone who, in his view, may be responsible for creating ‘a broken covenant as a city with the God of the Bible.’

“I firmly believe it is a mistake for Calgarians to endorse the swearing into the office on the Qur’an.” Heather said.

“The values in that book do not produce a basis for maintaining a Western democracy.”

After listening to Heather, Nenshi was treated to accusations from fellow candidate Jon Lord of mismanagement of city tax money.

Lord charged that the mayor and city council had devoted too little money to sports facilities across the city.

“A bunch of the money could have been saved on the (airport) tunnel…could have been used to build soccer facilities,” Lord said.

Nenshi responded that after the federal government pull back on promised funds for sports centres at the last moment, city council was able to fund four new recreation centres in northwest and southeast Calgary, by itself.

In addition, Nenshi explained, council was able to set aside money for rehabilitation of existing arenas and community centres.

“We did that by using the tax (money) people are criticizing so much precisely to build these kind of facilities while keeping your taxes the lowest of any major city in Canada.” Naheed Nenshi

With five other candidates, Bruce Jackman, Milan Papez, Norm Perrault, Jonathan Sunstrum and Carter Thomson, present at the forum, other issues also were discussed, including urban sprawl, the legalization of secondary suites, student housing, greater mobility choices, the Calgary poverty initiative, and diversifying the economy.

Despite the criticism, Nenshi remained unfazed and focussed on communicating his message to the audience.

“One-hundred-and-ten days ago,” he explained, “We faced the greatest natural crisis we’d ever seen in our city’s history and thanks to the incredible citizens whom we serve, willing to use their own two hands to help their neighbours out of pain, we passed that test, and that proved what a great place we live in,” he said.

Candidates (from left) Larry Heather, Jonathan Sunstrum, Norm Perrault, Milan Papez, Carter Thomson, Bruce Jackman and Jon Lord have a brief discussion prior to the beginning of the forum.
Candidates (from left) Larry Heather, Jonathan Sunstrum, Norm Perrault, Milan Papez, Carter Thomson, Bruce Jackman and Jon Lord have a brief discussion prior to the beginning of the forum.
About Yashica Anandani 11 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Yashica Anandani worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2013-2014 academic year.

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