December 26, 2016 8:36 pm
Updated: December 26, 2016 8:51 pm

Mayor Naheed Nenshi talks economy, legalizing marijuana in 2016 year-end interview

WATCH ABOVE: Unemployment is at an all-time high in Calgary along with rental vacancies. Mayor Naheed Nenshi reflects on everything from the terrible economy, the city’s drug crisis, to being caught on tape making controversial remarks while in a ride-share car in Boston.

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He’s been in office for six years but Calgary now is much different from the Calgary Naheed Nenshi first became mayor of in 2010.

The unemployment rate is among the highest in the country, rental vacancies are through the roof and tens of thousands are still searching for jobs.

READ MORE: Calgary unemployment rate remains highest in Canada 

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In his year-end sit-down, Nenshi insists his government was not caught off guard but admits there is little they could have done to prevent the dramatic downturn.

“Certainly, this has been a tough year for many of our neighbours,” he said. “We went from the lowest unemployment rate to the highest.

“I wish I knew if we were at the bottom of this. I think we are but I can’t say.”

“As government, as local government, we have to work really hard on things we can control. It means not making matters worse. Making sure public services are there when we need them, holding the line on fares for public transit or recreational facilities… It also means building stuff… we need to build stuff,” Nenshi said.

READ MORE: New report from realtors warns Calgary office vacancy rate could hit 30% 

Calgary’s mayor also talked about the drug crisis.

“We are losing somebody every week in Calgary. We are losing somebody everyday in Alberta to overdose… This is like nothing we’ve seen before.

“We have to look at the broad spectrum of solutions here,” Nenshi said, “everything from harm reduction to penalties for trafficking.”

READ MORE: ‘We are in the middle of a crisis’: fentanyl focus of two-day Calgary conference 

He said he would also absolutely consider safe injection sites.

Nenshi says his biggest goals for 2017 are securing funding for the transit Green Line and is very excited about deciding on a bid for the Olympics.

He is also encouraging Canadians to do three acts of service for Canada during it’s 150th birthday – a project he is most proud of that will unfold next year.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc

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