Calgary Civic Election 2013
So I lost my last blog post. Maybe it’s for the best, this one won’t be quite so vitriolic. I hope.
I know I haven’t been as involved in this election as I was in 2013 for very personal issues that have arose. This year hasn’t gone as planned and I have a lot of work ahead of me still. Although I haven’t been as active as 2010, I have still been involved and informed, and I don’t feel that will ever change now.
In short, I got involved in 2010 because I did not like what I saw in City Council. I truly hated the 8-7 splits on votes. I hated seeing the same characters line up the same predictable ways. Our representatives are meant to represent us, but they have to represent all of us in some fashion.
When I decided my first choice for mayor was the wrong choice for mayor, I looked to others and tried to find the person who most aligned with my views. I chose Naheed Nenshi and I have never once regretted that decision. Naheed demonstrated three things in that campaign: 1) Tireless energy getting to every forum imaginable, 2) A solid ability to communicate a platform of better ideas to Calgarians using clear language, and 3) A gift for drawing together a bunch of rather green political volunteers into a Purple Army dedicated to making their city better.
He showed it time and time again as the mayor, most specifically when Calgary was hit by the flood. His indefatigable drive is legendary, but to me even more impressive was his ability to communicate to Calgarians with so little sleep during that period.
But what impresses me the very most, above all else, was that the City Council of 2010-2013 was so much more effective than the previous council. There wasn’t a lot of change in the personnel, but there was a major change in the attitude and that was very appreciated.
After this election, there is still much work to accomplish, there are more changes to council (I’ve lost some of my favourite people there), and we know with certainty that there has been a disruptive attitude running up to the election. That has not been okay in my eyes. I love the debate, I love the differing viewpoints, I love others bringing up facts I did not know or ideas I did not understand. But intransigence for the sake of being intransigent just doesn’t cut it. I want better, I want more from our council and I do not want to return to the dysfunctional council of not that many years back.
It’s a tough job, but I’m pretty sure the attitude of making Calgary better will prevail. We’re going to have loud arguments, we’re going to make mistakes, but that really isn’t much different from, well, ever.
The single greatest lesson I learned from the 2010 municipal election is really not much of a surprise to anyone. It’s the basic lesson that all the work in the run up to the election is miniscule. It amounts to the smallest of tasks. The real work is about staying engaged and working hard between elections to make Calgary better.
Yeah, we’ve elected another version of City Hall, but it’s what you and I do in the meanwhile that makes the difference. Act, do something, make something, create something. Become part of the process to make Calgary a better place. Through that involvement you become in touch with the city around you, you can spot real issues and work on the things that really matter. It might be a hockey rink, it could be a busted sewer pipe, it could be cleaning out a stranger’s flooded basement.
We are Calgarians today, every bit as much as we were yesterday. It is the work between elections that define us. Don’t stop.