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Angela Kokott: I want ‘the smartest man in the room’ to be our mayor

Incumbent Mayor Naheed Nenshi (left) and competitor Bill Smith at a debate. September 2017. Global News

To say this has been quite the election campaign would be a giant understatement. Past incumbent mayors have had a cakewalk to the polls: Naheed Nenshi has had a slugfest. Bill Smith has been the political pugilist. 

After seven years in office, the biggest criticism I hear from listeners against Naheed Nenshi is, “He’s arrogant,” or, “He thinks he’s the smartest man in the room.”

I’m here to tell you that I want the “smartest man in the room.”

I would love it to be the smartest woman in the room. But, while great steps are being in made to attract more women to the political arena – we still have a way to go.

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Our leaders have to be smart to understand the workings of a major metropolis. Our leaders have to be arrogant (definition: having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities) if they are going to take the constant vitriol that comes from the electorate.

They have to be arrogant if they are going to stand up to other political leaders and fight for our city.

I’ll put it to you that anyone who enters the political arena has to have an exaggerated sense of self.  Whether Nenshi’s sense of self is higher than many politicians who have gone before him is up to you to decide.

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You can’t deny Naheed Nenshi is a smart man. But I guess as humble Canadians we can’t “think” we’re the smartest man or woman.  

If that’s his biggest flaw, I’m okay with it. 

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