Mayoral candidate Naheed Nenshi, on the challenges facing Calgary
'It means supporting local small businesses and helping them grow'
Editor's Note: As part of our coverage for the Oct. 16 civic election, CBC Calgary has offered each candidate for the office of mayor the opportunity to write up to 700 words on our website, outlining what they believe to be the greatest challenges facing our city, and what they would do about those challenges if elected. These articles are run as submitted – edited only to meet CBC Journalistic Standards and Practices. This article is part of that series. The CBC's primary goal through our election coverage is to provide citizens with the information they need to make an informed decision on polling day.
For the last seven years, it's been my good fortune to visit every corner of this city, talking with Calgarians, celebrating volunteers, and just being together. It's not uncommon for me to cover a few hundred kilometres in a weekend. And every single day, I'm inspired by Calgarians and all they do to build community and ensure a life of dignity for everyone.
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But I fear that the progress we've made together will be lost. I fear that we will go back to being a colder, meaner, smaller Calgary, a city that works for some but not for all. We need to ensure that Calgary's improved quality of life, and the shared economic opportunity we've built together, are here to stay.
If I'm able to continue serving as your mayor, I have a plan for a bold path forward. Together we can build a better economy, stronger and safer communities, and a smarter City Hall.
We're building a more resilient economy to better withstand the business cycles and the ups and downs of the energy industry. This means selling Calgary — to investors around the world and to Calgarians. It means supporting local small businesses and helping them grow. We need to advocate for energy and also help grow other sectors of our economy like agribusiness, clean tech/green tech/renewables, creative industries, financial services, tourism, and transportation and logistics.
Calgary has an excellent quality of life, talented people, a competitive tax advantage, great connections to international markets, and affordable, high-quality commercial spaces. I've spent the past seven years helping open the right doors to sell our city to entrepreneurs, investors, and workers. We've attracted over 90 businesses to Calgary since 2016.
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City Hall also has a critical role helping create the necessary conditions for Calgarians to find success. We need to make strategic investments in the future and keep building critical transportation infrastructure, like new interchanges and the Green Line, to put Calgarians back to work while costs are low.
Getting this wrong runs the risk of choking off our fragile economic recovery. There is a real danger that the wrong policies at City Hall could have negative consequences for many years.
Stronger and Safer Communities
Each of us should feel safe on every street in every neighbourhood. We need to keep investing in community policing, and address the spike in crimes against people and property crime (attributable to the economic downturn and the fentanyl crisis) through smart investments in prevention.
Every Calgarian deserves to live a life with dignity and have a chance to succeed. To ensure this, we must focus on safety, affordable housing, addiction, poverty and protecting the environment. We will continue to build our strength by investing in community infrastructure like fire halls, indoor sports fields, and by ensuring upstream flood mitigation gets built.
Smarter City Hall
Serving Calgarians must be at the center of everything the City does. Since 2015 we've created over $325 million in efficiencies and I'm proud our residential property taxes are still the lowest of any big city in Canada. I'm committed to continuing the review of every business unit at the City to improve processes and save money. We will also reform the tax assessment and appeals process, make it easier for small businesses to win City contracts, and use the City Charter to make life better for everyone.
My detailed plan is available at nenshi.ca.
Calgary deserves a mayor with a plan who will stand up for and represent all Calgarians while building a resilient and thriving city. We can expect these last days of the election to be negative. My opponents have so few ideas on how to make Calgary better that their only hope is reruns of a bunch of tired, old personal attacks. They say they are committed to transparency, but we have no idea who is funding their campaigns or how they expect to get anything done.
We've been through a bit of a rough patch with the recent economic downturn, but we are emerging even stronger. I know our city's best days are ahead of it, as long as we keep moving forward together.
Thank you for your support.