Calgary mayor exchanges tweets with Tory candidate over YYC Matters survey

Click to play video: 'Concern looms over Green Line as federal parties respond to YYC Matters survey'
Concern looms over Green Line as federal parties respond to YYC Matters survey
WATCH: The future of the Green Line LRT has made it to the federal campaign trail, as Calgary’s mayor traded barbs with a Tory candidate over the key piece of city infrastructure. Adam MacVicar reports. – Oct 10, 2019

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Calgary Nose Hill Conservative Party candidate Michelle Rempel traded barbs on Thursday, over the Tories’ response to the city’s YYC Matters Survey.

The survey, released by city officials last month, contains a list of questions related to various election issues facing the city, to find out what each political party will do to support Calgary if elected.

Earlier this week, Nenshi took to Twitter saying none of the parties had responded to the survey mere hours before the 5 p.m. deadline.

But on Thursday morning, he sent an updated tweet that said the Liberal Party and Green Party had responded to the survey.

Rempel told reporters on Thursday morning that she was unaware of the survey because the city didn’t send it to local candidates, instead forwarding the questionnaire to the parties’ headquarters.

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“I talked to some of my colleagues and it turns out we didn’t get it, so we found out on Twitter and given that we’re the only party that stands up for this city time and time again, we were more than happy as a team… to respond in a fulsome way to this survey,” Rempel said.

Following Thursday’s news conference outside city hall, Nenshi tweeted at Rempel and asked if it was the party’s official response.

According to Nenshi’s tweets, the city had not received the Tory response until after Wednesday’s deadline.

Rempel quickly fired back with a tweet of her own, criticizing the mayor’s tweets.

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“Yeesh. Get it together,” Rempel wrote. “The people we represent hate this sort of stuff.”

“I agree people hate this stuff,” Nenshi wrote back. “Other parties just got it in with no drama. As in every election.”

Concern over Green Line Project 

Rempel, along with local Conservative candidates, held a news conference at Calgary city hall on Thursday morning to outline their response to the YYC Matters survey.

The Conservatives submitted a 10-page response to the survey, which outlined their support for pipelines, championing Alberta’s energy sector, and their proposed cancellation of Bill C-69 and the federal carbon tax.

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“We are the only party that has a plan to get Calgary back to work and un-apologetically stands up for Canada’s energy sector,” Rempel said.

But Rempel also had criticism for Calgary’s Green Line LRT project and the changes made to its design over the past four years.

The $4.9-billion project was originally supposed to run between Calgary’s north end and the South Health Campus in Shepard. But since the changes, the line will run as far north as 16 Avenue, for the same price tag. The changes were made after public consultations and adjusted costing of the project.

Rempel said the Conservatives can’t commit to more funding for the project, if they are elected, until a more concrete plan is in place.

“It would be poor political judgement, given that the federal government is a funding partner in this project, to talk about future funding without the people who have spent $300 million without laying a single metre of track coming up with a plan to deliver this project on time, on budget and in the original scope,” Rempel said.

The former federal Conservative government committed $1.5 billion to the project when it was in power prior to the Trudeau Liberals.

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“She’s got a right,” Ward 2 Councillor Joe Magliocca said in response to Rempel’s criticism of the project.

Magliocca has been condemnatory of the changes to the Green Line Project, and said the project has derailed from its original vision.

“That’s why I’ve always voted ‘no’ for the Green Line, and I’ll continue voting ‘no’ for the Green Line because it doesn’t hit the ridership where it’s supposed to be.”

In the meantime, Kent Hehr, Liberal Party candidate in Calgary Centre, said his party will continue to work with the city to get the project built if re-elected.

“Our government has committed funding, real dollars, to this project. We will deliver on that commitment to city council,” Hehr said Thursday. “We believe in local governments working with the people on the ground to ensure big things get done. I’ll work alongside them.”

Both the Green Party and NDP did not respond to Global News’ request for comment.

The results of the YYC Matters Survey will be released to the public on Friday, ahead of advanced polling for the federal election on Oct. 21.

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