CALGARY – Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi quoted one of the violent threats he claims was made against a city colleague at a Thursday press conference as he responded to claims he’s trying to divert attention away from a controversial city project.
The mayor cancelled all future face-to-face engagement meetings on the Southwest Transitway project after a Tuesday meeting turned violent, and stands by claims that serious threats were made.
“It is very clear this stuff happened,” Nenshi said. “When I hear someone saying about one of my colleagues, ‘where’s that b–h? I want to strangle her,’ this is not acceptable.”
The mayor accused citizen group “Ready to Engage!” of using violent tactics at Tuesday’s open house.
“The Ready to Engage! folks were standing outside the door riling people up,” Nenshi said.
They mayor also spoke to the growing petition against the city proposal.
“They tried to convince citizens that the petition they were circulating was actually the city’s sign-up sheet, and they should sign it to show you were at the open house.”
In a media release issued Thursday, Ready to Engage! said it is asking the Mayor for an apology.
The group said “We are ready to engage! a group of volunteers whose mandate is to give a voice to residents and other stakeholders who have had none to date.”
“The Mayor’s press conference yesterday (Wednesday) demonstrates that our municipal government is not prepared to listen to citizens and is trying to stifle them by using accusations of bullying as a diversion tactic to get away from the real issue of fast-tracking a poorly planned and dangerous project that the majority of local residents are opposed to.”
The transitway project on 14 Street S.W. is already approved and funded, and construction could start this year. The meetings were meant to fine tune its design.
Nenshi said public engagement will continue, but only through online feedback systems and virtual town halls.
Watch below: Fall out from Tuesday night’s meeting on the Southwest Transitway
With a file from Global’s Erika Tucker