Monday, October 22, 2007

Where do we go from here?

More than the opening line to a song added to Evita for the Madonna movie, it's also the sentiment many of us are feeling right now.

The Campaign had a tremendous election season, and now we need to think about how best to achieve change going forward. A couple of announcements soon, but also a preview of our mindset in today's Herald.

Monday, October 15, 2007

First thoughts

Four new faces on Council. Four! Three incumbents have gone down, and all of our endorsements have done really well. Still a nailbiter in Ward 3 -- if George can pull it out, we will have an amazing Council. Even if Jim Stevenson does, we'll still have an amazing Council. Our heartiest congratulations to endorsee Brian Pincott, the new alderman for Ward 11, and John Mar, our endorsee in Ward 8. And, for those of you looking north, one of the best candidates anywhere, Don Iveson, knocked off an incumbent in Ward 5. It's a new Alberta, folks!

And let's not forget Jennifer Banks. She held a 25-year alderman to 56% of the vote, and she will be the next Alderman in Ward 1 if she wants to be. She has a lot to be proud of.

It's the big day!

Polls open from 10 am to 8 pm. Get out there! Visit to find out where to vote!

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Today's Herald op-ed starts to articulate the question, "what's next?" A quick look back and look forward follows...

We've had a long election run -- lots of media (check out our very first mention in the Calgary Sun), thousands of Calgarians checking in, even some comments on this blog (which never happens, despite the hundreds of readers!). There's still more to come -- a couple more articles in the Herald, Chima will be on the Eyeopener on election morning, Naheed will be on the CBC Radio election night panel, Chima will be back on Wild Rose Forum on Tuesday.

While all of this has been fun (really!), what's more important is the sense that this has been a remarkable campaign in moving the issues forward. As Naheed argues in the Herald piece, the conversation feels different than it did a month ago. Suddenly, the question is not whether to legalize secondary suites, but how to do it. The question of the West LRT alignment is very much on the table, as is service to Mount Royal College (want to bet we see a BRT to the college next fall?). And, optimistically, we'll see something, anything, on campaign finance reform this year.

We're going to keep up the pressure, regardless of who is on Council. Please get out and vote on Monday. We'd love it if you voted for our endorsements, but vote regardless.

Oh, and read this. We'll be discussing this article a lot more after the election, but Chris Koentges has created the single best thing ever written on what it means to be Calgarian and how we can all create a Better Calgary.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mayoralty Forum

Click below for our take on the most shocking moment of the election so far.

Today, the Mount Royal College Students Association and CBC hosted a Mayoralty Debate where all nine candidates for mayor attended. At these debates, you never really know what's going to happen and there's always a chance that someone will deliver a knockout punch, which will grab media headlines. There was no knockout punch, but David Bertram deserves kudos for standing up to intolerance.

To quickly recap, a member of the audience complained that the Tourism Calgary, an agency partially funded by the city, had promoted Calgary as a friendly destination for gay and lesbian tourists prior to the North American Outgames, which were held in Calgary earlier this year. The Mayor, to our astonishment, did not defend Tourism Calgary, but went to great pains to distance himself from their actions (i.e. advertising to the gay community). In fact, he actually said that if the decision were up to him, he would not have ran the same advertisement. David Bertram, on the other hand, spoke passionately about diversity and the positive economic impact that reaching out to gay and lesbian tourists had on our city.

At the Better Calgary Campaign, we believe a vibrant city is a city the celebrates and promotes diversity. We are profoundly disappointed that Mayor Bronconnier, when faced with the opportunity to stand up and defend Tourism Calgary's admirable attempt to reach out to the gay and lesbian community, couldn't bring himself to do the right thing. We expected better.

As for the rest of the debate, a few interesting points:

- Alnoor Kassam is clearly the only candidate who is presenting a serious challenge to Mayor Bronconnier. He was particularly impressive on his answers with respect to ethics and campaign finance reform. He also handled potentially troublesome questions about his background forthrightly and with grace.

- Bronconnier avoided answering the question as to whether the West LRT should be rerouted to Mount Royal College. Kassam argued that Mount Royal College should be served by bus rapid transit rather than delay construction of the West LRT. Most of the other candidates were supportive of revisiting the alignment of the West LRT.

- Bronconnier, for the first time that we can remember, mentioned the words inclusionary zoning. He suggested that the city should consider having all new developments include affordable housing. We were unable to find any details of this proposal on his website and hope that he publishes specific details about this proposal.

- The Mayor's ill thought-out secondary suite plan was universally panned by the other candidates. The Mayor's plan would have the taxpayers give $25,000 to homeowners to build suites (which would still be outlawed in most of the city) in their house provided that they agree to rent it out for 20 years.

You can listen to the debate (and Chima and Naheed's questions) at :

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Our endorsements are up

We've been very lax about blogging, but very busy with the campaign overall.

Lots of media coverage all over the place, on big issues like diversity and transit to horse races in the individual wards. No less than three mentions in today's Herald:

Story on our endorsements

Bob Remington column on Ward 3

Editorial on diversity

The endorsements, the rationale for each, and every candidate's survey response in full, are posted on our website here.

We should note that, while we stand by our endorsements, we neither expect nor desire people to take them on blind faith. We are publishing all surveys in full so that those who wish to do so may read them and make up their own minds.

Our job right now is to get this message out to everyone who is interested in the campaign. We're using Internet tools to do this as well as we can, as well as media, but we encourage everyone reading this to forward it around, paste it on your Facebook, publish it on your blog, and let people read these surveys.