It’s been less than 24 hours since Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi announced he will be seeking re-election in next year’s municipal elections but some boosters are suggesting an even higher office may be in order.
Social media and comments boards have been lit bright with expressions of support, offers to volunteer and to encourage Nenshi to perhaps consider running for premier, or even prime minister.
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But at the heart of a video message by the popular politician, in which he announced he will be seeking a second mandate next year, seems to be the motivation of a man faced with the specter of leaving behind a job left unfinished.
Nenshi told Metro there is still work to be done in terms of Calgary Transit’s long-term-strategy RouteAhead, his desire to overhaul city planning through the NextCIty initiative, “And we’ve got to get some real good headway on our conversations with the province around our city charter.”
The mayor has been asking the province for greater taxation powers.
But to continue to burden himself with the challenges facing the city wasn’t an easy one, Nenshi told the Calgary Herald.
“There were a couple of points during the mandate when I said you know I think I’ve really accomplished what I wanted to accomplish and it’s time for somebody else to take the reins,” he said.
But the Calgary Sun’s Rick Bell said Nenshi had his chance to do what needed to be done but has failed to deliver on the platform that got him elected in the first place.
“The scribbler expected big things, a revolution of sorts, a clean sweep at city hall, a shakeup at the big blue playpen,” he said, adding he recalled, “Nenshi talking about going down rabbit holes to find out if there was any questionable money spent or shifty deals made.
“He remembers the mayor casting himself as an east Calgary kid who knew the value of a buck and how hard it is for some people to make one.
“But now the writer of this column feels like an army of one.. Four years ago citizens stomped into city hall up in arms for what they now accept. Tax hikes previously thought politically dangerous are greeted with nary a whimper.”
But according to most polls, including some conducted in recent months, Nenshi is likely the most popular politician in Canada. The effect Nenshi has had on Calgary may not always be tangible but Calgarians still can’t seem to be able to get enough of him.
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The man’s popularity can be a intimidating for anyone thinking of taking a run at the mayorship.
Ald. Andre Chabot, who had contemplated running for mayor in next year's ballot, told Metro “I don’t believe I could defeat the mayor.”
Chabot was the only name that had been brandied about. No one else has yet to throw their hat in the ring.