Calgary entrepreneur W. Brett Wilson says he will donate $100,000 to the Calgary Public Library — but only if city council approves Uber.
Wilson made the pledge on Thursday at the library's Bob Edwards Award Gala, named after the Calgary satirist, writer and politician. It's an annual event that recognizes provocative and outspoken individuals.
Past recipients of the award include Rick Mercer, Preston Manning, Margaret Atwood, David Suzuki, and Conrad Black.
Wilson certainly lived up to the award's pot-stirring namesake, sparking mixed reactions on social media to the proposal. Some accused him of trying to bribe city council, while others applauded the move.
Wilson has no affiliation with Uber, but has been a long-standing advocate for the ride-sharing company. He was even Uber's first official Calgary customer.
When one Twitter user asked Wilson if he would double the donation if the city approves secondary suites — an issue that has been drawn out for years at council — Wilson tweeted back that he would triple the donation.
Secondary suites are "self-contained" unites located on the same property as a single-family home, such as a basement suite or an above-garage apartment. Supporters say legalizing the suites would create more affordable housing for the city.
Wilson also had some snappy comebacks when asked why he chose to tie the donation to Uber's approval.
Because I can ;)— * W. Brett Wilson * (@WBrettWilson) November 6, 2015
1) it's my money so I can.
2) the cause is worthy.
3) uber is inevitable.
Looks like a donation.— * W. Brett Wilson * (@WBrettWilson) November 6, 2015
Currently, UberX is operating illegally in Calgary. Both police and city council have warned drivers they could face upwards of $1,500 in fines if they are caught picking up fares.
The city will be reviewing possible changes to the bylaw prohibiting Uber's operation on Nov. 16.
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