ALBERTA

Naheed Nenshi Wins: Popular Calgary Mayor Re-Elected

10/22/2013 12:02 EDT
Video source Global Calgary

Calgary's mayor Naheed Nenshi was a little less purple prince and a little more bruised scrapper as he headed into what was predictably an easy win at the ballots on Monday.

When Calgarians gave Nenshi an overwhelming win three years ago, the Harvard alum was a smiley, friendly teddy bear who filled his purple campaign with hope, promise and a positive message.

It was a positive message about the greatness that he believed Calgary was capable of, from a metrosexual scholar in a city better known across Canada for manly men in the business of herding cattle and drilling for oil.

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Nenshi Wins 2013

But as Calgarians headed to the polls this time around, Nenshi had three years of political jousting under his belt. He has lived through glorious triumphs and resounding victories. But there were also bloody noses and black eyes, often handed to him by his colleagues on council who many times didn't like him as much as Calgary's general populace does.

Running for a second term as one of Canada's most popular mayors - at times during his tenure, he was the country's most popular politician - Nenshi is not the cuddly, purple bear of yore, but a political operative; he struts more like a fighter, his tone is more focus and less pie-in-the sky.

Rather than introducing himself to the voters with eloquent messages of Calgary's potential greatness, Nenshi launched his latest campaign with a pointed, preemptive strike against the city's developers and feverishly defended his mayoral record.

Before campaigning had started, the city's developers made their dislike of the mayor abundantly clear and put their money where they proverbial mouth is, funding a one-million-dollar effort to elect a city council that would neuter Nenshi's war against urban sprawl.

It's a war against unsustainable growth, according to the mayor, and Nenshi didn't let the attack go unanswered.

But his win is not the clean, overture of three years ago, after he failed to deliver on items, such as a cohesive secondary suite policy, that many Calgarians elected him for but that never materialized.

Nenshi may have brought a slicker, cut-throat political persona to the election this time around but the persona of the man who vocally and emotionally guided Calgary through the worst natural disaster in Alberta's history, also came along for the ride.

As a result,and at last count, Nenshi garnered 74 per cent of the vote in a field of seven contenders, and will serve another four years as mayor of Calgary.