Naheed Nenshi: What does he want to accomplish?

As mayoral election campaigns go, this hasn't exactly been a "charging out of the gate" kind of week.

'There are a number of focus areas we need to work on'

Naheed Nenshi hasn't offered much yet on his campaign platform, but says he has some "neat ideas" coming soon. (CBC)

As mayoral election campaigns go, this hasn't exactly been a "charging out of the gate" kind of week.

The front-runner, NaheedNenshi, has released a video and a list of questions he thinks voters should put to their councillor candidates.

Jon Lord, who billed himself as the anti-Nenshi, has yet to do much beyond present his nomination forms. The other challengers have been invisible and apparently $500 poorer after paying their deposits.

When asked what he wants to do in a second term, Nenshi offers a polite "soon." 

His website offers the four broad policy areas of his campaign, but reporters recall the good old days when Nenshi promised a whack of better ideas. The website only offers a commitment to improve traffic light synchronization and to continue the fight on legalizing secondary suites.

So what's the strategy?  Nenshi pulls back the curtain a bit.

"We did want to start off the campaign talking a little bit about where we've been as a community. Elections should be about the future, not the past." 

Will he promise something? 

"As we move forward, closer to voting day, let's talk about people's dreams and aspirations and hopes for the future and what could be achieved in that future," Nenshi offers. 

Given we're talking about a self-described policy nerd, surely the goods are coming. Some goods?

"I'm a very strange politician in many ways, and one of the ways in which I'm a very strange politician is in my mind, if I had a good idea over the last three years, I just did it as opposed to saving it up for the election or saving it up for a new election platform. But there are a number of focus areas we need to work on." 

He promises a couple of  "really neat ideas."

However in the next breath, he's tempering expectations. The city doesn't have money coming for big new infrastructure projects not already announced. A new LRT line isn't likely to start in the short term.

While one political scientist tells me the mayor's race is really just a referendum on Nenshi's popularity, the real action is at the ward level. So we see a popular mayor lend his backing to all 12 council incumbents seeking re-election.

An alderman's campaign manager is spotted inside Nenshi's HQ for a joint strategy huddle. Nenshi himself drops by Ald. Druh Farrell's official campaign launch to offer some words of support.

Once again a tangible reminder that while the mayor is a key political operator, the office still has only one of council's 15 votes.

If there are eight votes on council deadset against anything a mayor wants to do, the significance of a lopsided Nenshi win in October will be diluted considerably.​


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