Alberta Votes

Naheed Nenshi urging voters to engage in debate about Alberta's future

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he's trying to get people involved in the debate about the future of the province and encourage more people to vote in an election he believes should not have been called.

Calgary mayor remains critical of Tories for calling early provincial election

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is critical of the provincial Tories for calling an early election. (CBC)

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he's trying to get people involved in the debate about the future of the province and encourage more people to vote in an election he believes should not have been called.

On a CBC radio call in show last week, Nenshi didn't try to hide his disdain for the Prentice government's early election call.

Nenshi criticized the Tories for rejecting extra funding to investigate deaths of children in care while going ahead with the estimated $30-million cost of an election.

Nenshi says his goal is to get people involved in the debate about the future of the province and encourage more of us to vote.

"The opportunity for every party and every candidate to defend their record and if you're in government, you've got more of a record to defend," he said.

"If you're not in government you've got a platform to defend. But the key is let's start talking about policy. You know, so far I gotta say this election has been a bit Seinfeldian."

The former mayor of Edmonton and current Health Minister Stephen Mandel doubts Nenshi's comments will impact relations between the city and the province.

"Calgary is vitally important. Elections will be over and hopefully we'll win and all things will be smoothed out," he said.

Former Calgary city councillor Ric McIver, now a Tory cabinet minister, agrees.

"This isn't kindergarten, we're big kids. Members of municipal councils have the authority to advocate for their municipalities," he said.

University of Calgary political science professor Melanie Thomas doesn't think Nenshi's comments are inappropriate.

"For the mayor of Calgary to be speaking about the provincial election is essentially the mayor doing his job," she said.

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