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 :


Anonymous said...

Sounds like Dave really dropped the ball. Perhaps you should reconsider your endorsement (with reservations)?

Carter McRae Events said...

Still endorsing current Mayor Bronconnier.


Anonymous said...

I listened to Bronconnier's response to the use of taxpayer dollars to support Tourism Calgary, and the decision to market Calgary to GLBTs.

This guy has no spine. He says he wouldn't have made the same decision if it was his call. Really? Why? Even if he saw the market research that indicated the GLBT populaion is cosmopolitan, educated, have a higher than average disposable income and happen to generally be good tippers? So, if he wouldn't make a marketing decision based on facts, what is really going on here? Do Calgarians who want a "better" Calgary (modern, international, inclusive) really want a mayor with moralistic overtones?

As a professional and former Calgarian now living on the west coast for a decade, I often miss the entrepreneurial spirit of Calgary, but am quickly reminded of the narrow and homogeneous outlook that some city and business leaders espouse. Wakey-wakey.

Unknown said...

I didn't hear the specific comments Bronco said with regards to tourism Calgary's Campaign, so I'm not sure of the context BUT as a queer female activist int he city I certainly wouldn't have advertised Calgary as some sort of gay and lesbian hotspot...and definitely not one suited for trans people. Calgary is still hung up on cultural diversity and all the issues surrounding visible minorites. If we can't even figure out that racism is bad then how can we say Calgary is a 'Fantastic tourist hot spot' for the GBLQT communities?

Anonymous said...

That's Bronco - never found a group he couldn't resist pandering too.


Anonymous said...

I read Bronconnier's "clarification" in the Herald this morning and I don't think he gets the issue. He said that he didn't mean to say he condoned the lifestyle, he condoned the comments about the lifestyle. First of all, it's not a lifestyle Dave.

Secondly, the main problem was that he ran away from the ad and said he wouldn't have done it. So he wouldn't have advertised for the Outgames? He wouldn't have tried to bring more tourists to Calgary?

That makes no sense for me.

Dave's lost my vote. I just wish the media was actually reporting on this a bit more.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really know who this Alnoor guy is? C'mon people read the paper. In Kenya there are death threats against him because he used his time in office to further opress the population and then he stole millions of dollars- which he is probably using to fund his ridiculous campaign- from the Kenyan people. If he becomes mayor of this city, I'll leave. I don't particularly support Bronc, but I'd take him over an evil man any day.

Anonymous said...

Vote Jeremy Zhao. Bronco only spends your money inefficiently and taxes you. We need a change.

Jeremy said...

Once again, I thank the Naheed for putting a good word for me in the newspaper, but a nonpartisan group should have talked about interesting points from all candidates. Perhaps it would be more fair if each candidate was discussed at least once, or else the coverage is inadequate.

Jeremy Zhao

Anonymous said...

Why don't people start looking into some of the other candidates that don't have large funded campaigns but have solid ideas and who could potentially bring new life to this city? check this site out for an alternative view. I am frustrated with only hearing about 2 out of 9 candidates... take a leap and check out the others! Idid and personally I liked what I saw with Harry Heck! He is creative with attainable ideas and gives a sense of understanding for the people. CHECK IT OUT and try a new approach.


Anonymous said...

Bronco knows his audience. This province is blue.. Completely conservative. To publicly endorse anything that is 'different' is often political suicide.

Maybe once the younger generations actually speak up and let it be known that they are paying attention, that kind of statement won't have to be made to keep a position of power.

Anonymous said...

Which office would you be referring to that Alnoor occupied? He was a bank manager. His bank foreclosed on a senior member of Kenya's government. They sent the Police to threaten the lives of him and his family. He fled Kenya to stay alive. Kenya tried to have him brought back on trumped up charges, but being unfounded, the charges were eventually dropped.

If being a businessman makes a person too evil to be in politics, then we should reevaluate every person elected to a canadian office.

Being an employee of the City of Calgary, I personally will look for candidates that are not as interested in showing the population how much they despise us by spending half a million dollars running attack ads, and then turning around and spending a million of our tax dollars trying to advertise what a wonderful employer they are.

Anonymous said...

This picture speaks a thousand words!