A Calgary councillor is putting his name behind a new third-party advertiser (TPA) for the upcoming municipal election.
On Wednesday, Ward 12 Coun. Shane Keating announced the Responsible Representation Political Action Committee, (RRPAC) which says it will evaluate and endorse ward candidates based on three criteria: problem solving, relationship building and financial acumen.
“The 2021 municipal election has the potential to be one of the most impactful elections in Calgary’s recent history,” Keating said.
With 10 council seats without incumbents, Calgary city council will see historic turnover after Oct. 18’s vote.
Keating said RRPAC plans on interviewing and screening candidates in each ward for their criteria. He added that partisan affiliations or political leanings will not weigh into the endorsements.
“My experience and my past will allow me to be able to guide a bit of the questions, a bit of the idea, with consultation of viewpoints other than mine to actually go ahead and select 14 excellent councillors,” he said.
The outgoing Ward 12 representative is joined by Lourdes Juan, Sally Mansour and Jaydel Gluckie as founders of RRPAC, and Keating said the TPA will be registering with Elections Calgary this week.
The group hopes to endorse one candidate in each ward and raise $40,000 for mailouts for each, but they aren’t touching the mayoral candidates.
“We believe in many ways that’s a different type of atmosphere or a different type of position,” Keating said. “You must be visionary. You must be able to be extremely collaborative and cooperative.”
“But at the same time, the mayor is one vote. And if you have 14 councilors who are very high quality, then you know the direction is going to go in the right way.”
Starting this TPA before the end of his term does not put him in legal jeopardy, Keating said, noting he’s sought advice from lawyers and the city’s ethics commissioner.
He also said that he has no projects to use as influence over the four councillors who are seeking re-election.
“There is nothing I can hold over any of the sitting candidates or councillors today. There is nothing that they feel obligated to me.”
But Keating said he hoped to help get “hand grenade politics” out of city hall.
“You throw something out there and it goes off and you’re not too concerned about who it hurts. And it hurts everybody, even the person who actually lobs the hand grenade.”
“I think the rise of the extreme right, the rise of the negativity, the economic downturn, also taints the view of what is going on and what isn’t going on,” Keating said. “My worry is that outside forces will come in and influence decisions which aren’t in touch with reality.”
“I’m hoping that by selecting excellent candidates, that may not be the future.”