Mayoral candidates come to campus

photo by Bree Gardner

For those of you who secretly wished to be American just for the chance to vote for Obama, saddle up. The candidates in Calgary’s Municipal Election came bearing textbook Obama platforms
during Tuesday’s mayoral debate held in the Heart Building.

The theme for the evening seemed to be ‘change everything’ as eight of the fourteen mayoral candidates duked it out in front of a crowd of nearly 300.

Naheed Nenshi, the most statistically popular candidate present, pointed out his belief in the need for a complete overhaul of the system. “What I can provide is leadership to get beyond a
broken, partisan system,” he said. Nenshi said the city needs to start the system over.

Wayne Stewart took a different approach, stating city council isn’t broken. It’s just in need of some new methodologies.

“I think what we need is someone who can bring people together,” he said. “Someone who understands that they are one vote of 15.”

Representing a more student-based approach was candidate Craig Burrows. “We need people to use transit because it’s the best way to get around,” Burrows said. “Stop making people pay
$3 to get downtown.”

Bob Hawkesworth promised to enhance public services. “We have to make some tough choices,” he said. “The kinds of services and quality of life people ask for costs money. I can’t promise you everything, some things cannot be afforded.”

Among other candidates was Jon Lord, who repeatedly stated Calgary’s need for an entrepreneurial approach, and Joe Connelly whose main platform involved references to “taking back city
council,” and “using the power of the Internet to bring people together.”

The most passionate of all, however, was Gary Johnston’s plea to the media.

“I know I don’t have a hope in hell’s chance of winning,” he said. “(But) just because a poll says there’s four front-runners doesn’t mean you should leave the rest of us in the dust.”

Oscar Feth based his platform off a long-standing history of watching city council, and being thrown from it on many occasions for what he said is “speaking the truth.”

Barb Higgins and Ric McIvor were both absent.

Few students were present for the debate. SAITSA only received 25 tickets to distribute, said research and communications co-ordinator Kristin Eberth. “We would have liked to promote it and
get a lot of students out, but it wasn’t really possible.”

The Chamber of Commerce planned the event, and didn’t want the room stacked in favour of any one candidate so tickets were limited.

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