Thursday, 19 October 2017
Municipal Elections 2017: Calgary goes down in Flames
After the results of the 2017 Municipal elections became official, I placed a comment on Facebook stating that I was in shock. I also promised that I would explain my state of mind; and the following will surprise my followers. .
In what has been termed ‘the nastiest’ Municipal election in Calgary, the partisan leftist media and many liberal academics have tried to portray the re-lection of Naheed Nenshi as a victory for the City. They may be right for at least some 50% of the electorate, but they must also be aware that the World’s Best mayor saw a real dip in his popularity, and although he won by a 7% margin over his opponent, the result could be said that he won by the skin of his teeth. Yes some polls were correct and some were not. But in today’s world I put little credence in polls. I had my own list of preferred candidates and I called for the election of all 4 new candidates and the re-election of right leaning Councillors, with the exception of Colley –Urqhart. I was wrong on all the re-election of leftist Councillors.
The media’s post mortem is devoid of reality checks and persists to report on the outcome based on a progressive agenda. They have clearly ignored the angst of the electorate, the inability for many voters to actually vote because of bungling by the City’s electoral office. Given that four new right of centre Councillors were elected and that five incumbents got less than 50%, if this election was about change, the results demonstrate that it was partly so.
This election could have been an even more of a watershed if the media had covered the campaign accurately. All the talk about nastiness was misconstrued. There is no doubt that many social media comments came from all sides. But to believe that it all came from the right is totally biased. Has anybody considered that some of the comments made about leftist candidates could have originated from their own side to sidetrack the issues? I remember clearly the ‘brick’; in Nenshi’s campaign office in 2010.
It was so disingenuous when former Councillor Pincott claimed that the campaign was marred by Republican style tactics, forgetting that in reality it was mostly the Democrat style of campaigning that was prevalent when Nenshi used the race card, and furthermore most of the complaints came from leftist candidates. It was racism, a bogus lawsuit, or misogyny by female candidates supported by the left. While there were very few complaints from the right, I am mostly impressed by newly elected Joyti Gondek’s interview by the Calgary Herald when the subject of gender politics was brought up, Gondek bristled; “It’s funny, because I don’t think anyone that’s interviewing one of the new male (councillors) today is saying, ‘tell me about how you feel about being a man on council?’ ” says Gondek. “My gender didn’t weigh into my decision to run.” Similarly there was no outcry of racism from George Chahal.
It was also claimed that there were no issues debated, which was absolutely not true. Taxes were at the centre of the debates, financial misinformation about the Green Line, Midfield Park, and of course the Flames arena issue. Many people complain that Nenshi is arrogant and always seems to be the smartest man in the room. Well he may be arrogant, but on the campaign trail he was the smartest candidate. He turned all the negatives into a debate about inconsequential issues: like racism, diversity and inclusions. What Calgarians forgot was that when Nenshi was elected twice before there was no racism issue. The left’s contention of inclusiveness and diversity is always to divert and obfuscate the real issues. What is forgotten is that there was clear involvement by third parties in this election. Many incumbents, including the Mayor were openly supported by the Unions, and there was a clear interference by the NDP Transport Minister. The union supported incumbents won, but other candidates did not, so in that sense it was a victory for democracy
This brings me to why I was shocked. To my readers’ surprise it is not the results that shocked me. It is the lack of understanding of why we had such a result. Let me explain. For years I have advocated for party politics in Municipal elections, as is common in many other jurisdictions. Believe it or not there was a leftist cabal in the last Council, and obviously they had the support of the unions. My shock is that conservatives still do not understand why we still have many Liberals on Council. Even Rick Donkers the communication Director for Bill Smith’s campaign said that he did not believe in party politics at City Hall ; what a foolish thing to say. The real problem is that the left is always better organized and do not make any excuse for supporting certain candidates. By contrast, for some reason, conservatives hide their support being closed doors as if they were afraid of showing their ideology. In my book: Conservatives: Dead or Alive? I opined about the division among conservatives. I was shocked that there was no open display of support from Federal and Provincial elected members of conservative parties. Michelle Rempel was the only one I saw that openly supported Sean Chu. I am shocked that we could not elect a conservative Mayor when we had so many financial issues. I was shocked because the Flames got in the way with their extravagant request for taxpayers money. I was shocked that Bill Smith gave the appearance that he was supporting the Flames. I was shocked that Bill Smith, a very nice man, did not take the incumbent Mayor to task on the racism issue. I was shocked that a former athlete did not know that offense is the best form of defense. I am shocked that Calgarians still listen to the media which spent more time talking about Trump’s issues in the States than actually analysing the issues that are important to Calgarians. I was shocked that the academics did not challenge me when I exposed Druh Farrell’s lawsuit or my analysis of the Councillors’ pension fund and how taxes and fees are costing Calgarians their hard earned money. Instead they claimed that the campaign was marred by misinformation.
So many times people have asked me to run either for Mayor for Councillor, I have always said NO. The reason is simple, you will be shocked to hear that I do not trust the political intelligence of voters, because they either do not know or do not want know about the issues before they go to the polls. So why should Calgarians, who found their candidates on the losing side be shocked? Because it is pure and simple: much of the electorate did not really understand what they were voting for. Once again, they just based their votes on what they heard not what they knew. That’s why I was shocked by the results, but not shocked that Calgarians will get the Council they deserve.