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When Naheed Nenshi won the October 2010 election for mayor of Calgary, it was said he went from being an interesting also-ran to being the guy setting the agenda. No one thought he could do it. Nenshi's win came as a total surprise. Until a few weeks before the election, he was trailing in third place. But riding the wave of a "Purple Revolution" -- fuelled by social media -- Nenshi secured 40% of the vote. He now runs Canada's fifth-largest city.
Nenshi is a true New Canadians success story. His parents immigrated to Canada from Tanzania. He was born in Toronto and grew up in Calgary, not far from city hall. The Nenshi family didn't have a lot of money and the young Naheed spent a lot of time in the library. He eventually went to Harvard on a fellowship and studied how governments can manage themselves better.
After spending years working as a consultant, he eventually came home to Calgary and wanted to put to work his vision for making Canadian cities work. And he has some big ideas: rethinking housing, public transit, and how Calgary can serve as a model for the rest of Canada.