There are a few things that Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi does differently than most other Canadian mayors – he's a prolific tweeter and constantly calls out the federal government on their funding of municipalities.
The strategy may be working -- he’s constantly ranked the most popular mayor in Canada. But the constant harping on the Harper government may finally be wearing thin on the Tories.
The Calgary Herald says Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has come right out and told Nenshi to cool it with the criticism and reportedly reminded the mayor the feds consistently give Calgary its “fair share” of funding, including $80 million towards the 7 Ave. LRT line refurbishment project.
“I’ve reminded Mayor Nenshi that we have made huge additional investments in infrastructure in Calgary,” Kenney told the Herald.
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Nenshi's relationship with the feds has been anything but cozy, with its lowest point being when money he said he was lead to believe by the feds was coming for a series of city recreation centres being yanked by the Harper government last year.
The mayor went on the offensive, encouraged Calgarians to call their MPs and said he felt justified in reminding the feds their majority was built in Alberta, not Quebec, and that pulling what would've effectively been less than $25 million in cash proved they had forgotten that fact, CTV Calgary reported at the time.
Scrapping the funding effectively put the rec centre project on ice..
“P3 Canada is meant to be merit-based, and our project was unanimously approved by their board earlier this year. Yet, the federal government, including the six Calgary MPs, somehow decided that this project did not meet their criteria which explicitly includes recreation facilities," said Nenshi at the time.
“I have also requested a meeting with the Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss this development and other options to fund important community infrastructure.
"In the meantime, I encourage all Calgarians who feel they should not be so ignored by their federal representatives to call their local MP. We may not be getting the funding we expected, but we can let Ottawa know we’re unhappy about it.”
And Nenshi hasn't let off on the feds since, publicly resurrecting his plight by hosting a Cities Matter all-candidates' forum prior to the Calgary Centre by-election in November.
The point of the event was to grill the candidates running for the MP seat in Calgary Centre on their stance when it comes to municipal issues at the federal government level. But what ended up making headlines instead was Nenshi's criticism of now-newly elected MP Joan Crockatt. The former journalist had made it a bit of pattern during the campaign to avoid most of the forums and Nenshi was quick to criticize.
"I can't imagine why she would want to miss this opportunity to discuss the government's commitment to Calgary," said Nenshi.
He may have been criticizing a candidate then, but Crockatt is now Calgary Centre's Tory MP, further fanning what may be the feds' desire to turn the volume down on the popular mayor.
Although some watchers in social media were quick to remind Nenshi he shouldn't bite the hand of his 'master,' many more flocked to his defence