Premier Alison Redford says Calgary's mayor playing politics

Alberta Premier Alison Redford says Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is playing politics.
The war of words between the province and the city of Calgary shows no sign of letting up And this afternoon the premier got involved. Alison Redford says Mayor Naheed Nenshi is engaged in political rhetoric. Bryan Labby explains why the two sides are feuding. 1:47

Alberta Premier Alison Redford says Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is playing politics.

On Thursday, Redford chuckled when asked if she is concerned about relations between her government and the City of Calgary.

"No, I'm not concerned about it," she said.

Redford then took what could be considered a shot at Calgary's mayor, who is seeking re-election this year.

"You're going to see a lot of political rhetoric — that's fine, that's the name of the game,"  Redford said.

Nenshi offered a response to Redford’s statement.

"I probably forgot it was an election year until she reminded me it was one, because well, not all politicians think about elections all the time," Nenshi said.

The mayor's latest dust up concerns the proposed city charter, which is a memorandum of understanding that was signed between Calgary and Edmonton and the province last year to hammer out a new charter which could give the cities more power in raising revenue to pay for services.

Nenshi says he hasn't heard from anyone from the province since last November, except for what he calls a personal insult.

It came from Minister of Municipal Affairs Doug Griffiths, who reportedly accused the mayor of "puffing up like a peacock" in an election year.

"We have not had any engagement from the political side at the province and as I've been saying since November we need some provincial leadership to get this thing over the finish line," Nenshi said.

Doug Griffiths says his department is working hard on the charter.

"If there's tension, it's on his side," Griffiths says.  "I don't feel any tension — we're working very hard on the civic charter and as I've said before, it looks like we're several months ahead of schedule."

Political analysts doubt Nenshi is playing politics and is expected to easily win re-election, but Duane Bratt believes the dispute likely means the charter is in trouble.

"The negotiations have been very quiet, they haven't gone public — it's obvious that they've gone off the rails," Bratt said. "Griffiths no longer calls it a big city charter, no longer calls it a city charter, calls it a civic charter so you wonder if he's trying to include Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Grande Prairie who are upset about being left out of the negotiations to begin with."

Alison Redford is also confident a charter agreement will be signed soon and also expects what she calls the rhetoric to continue.