Hot on the heels of the home builders' video controversy last week, Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi has come up with a way to turn the scandal into dollars.
As part of his re-election campaign, Nenshi's camp sent out an email blast to supporters this week with the title "Naheed needs your help!"
“Help us fight for Calgary during this campaign and stand up to those who are pursuing their own interests over what is best for us all,” an email to supporters from Brian Thiessen, fundraising chair for Nenshi’s 2013 campaign, reads.
“Donate today – as little as $5 will help make a difference.”
According to the Calgary Herald, the donor pitch recalls some of Nenshi's ideas for campaign finance reform and includes a link to his donation page, where people can donate $5 - $5,000.
The Calgary Sun reports Nenshi wants the maximum donation limit to be decreased from $5,000 to $2,500, as well as campaign surpluses to be given to the city, returned to donors or donated to charity following each election.
He is also calling for a public disclosure of donations before election day, instead of after the vote.
The email comes after a leaked video of Shane Homes founder and CEO Cal Wenzel was shared with the media last week. In the video, Wenzel is seen talking to a large group of industry members and explains how development-friendly council members have been "looked after," while other ones need to be removed in the coming ballot.
Wenzel goes on to name the "friendly" aldermen and the ones that are on "the dark side" by name.
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Mount Royal University political analyst Duane Bratt told Metro Calgary he's not surprised the mayor is using the incident to raise money.
“This is common political practice,” he said.
“It’s just another tool to raise money to say, ‘There are groups trying to defeat me, please send me money.’”
Ward 9 Ald. Gian-Carlo Carra, who was one of the council members targeted in Wenzel's speech, told the Calgary Herald he will also launch a similar fundraising tactic.
“When I do my big ask to my big supporters, and expand my big supporter base, it will be surrounding the question of what kind of a city do we want to have,” Carra said.
“Do we want to have a city council that’s controlled by special interests, or do we want a city council dedicated to being an excellent board of governors.”