Danielle Smith: Calgary’s mayoral race just got interesting
The race for mayor in Calgary just got real. Bill Smith is not a household name — yet — but I’m predicting it won’t be long before he becomes the favourite of the anyone-but-Nenshi voter.
It may come as a surprise to the mayor that he is not universally beloved, but I get an earful of frustrated feedback every time we talk about municipal issues.
What has people so worked up? Massive increases in taxes without a huge improvement in services. The eye-popping cost overrun on the Green Line, the Airport Tunnel to nowhere, the mismanagement of landfills, public sector wage increases, the inability to make decisions on the arena, the Olympics, secondary suites, even something as simple as angle parking in a cul-de-sacs.
Callers also aren’t impressed with the mayor’s defamation lawsuit, his embarrassing rant against Uber and his increasing snarkiness to his council colleagues.
Bill Smith even got a taste of it the snark when he announced he was running. The mayor accused him of living outside of Calgary, raising funds illegally, and being unsuitable as a candidate because he’s never held public office.
Smith was cool as a cucumber in his responses: he’s lived in Calgary longer than the mayor (he’s 54, Nenshi’s only 45), he didn’t open his bank account until the day after he formally launched and registered, and Nenshi also had no public office experience either when he was first elected in 2010. Touche.
That’s not to say it will be a breeze to win. With so many candidates in the race already, incumbent Mayor Nenshi still has the advantage. But Smith will certainly give the mayor a solid run for his money. My full interview with Bill Smith is below.
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