During the time that I've followed municipal politics, I have not seen a more devoted individual than Chris Harper when it comes to his community.
If there was one individual who deserves the extra 87 votes, it would be Chris. To be so close to your goal after 3 plus years of labour, and then to lose it all in a heart beat is something that this author would not be able to readily comprehend.
This election was certainly more divisive and polarizing than years previous, but Chris was able to garner the respect and admiration from across the political spectrum like I had never seen before. While the results of Wednesday's recount might not have been what the Harper team wanted, rest assured that people from the other 13 wards were and will continue to stand behind Chris in whatever endeavours he chooses to take up in the future.
My brief encounters with Chris primarily revolved around the interviews that I've done with him for CalgaryPolitics.com. Chris made it a point to do this election's CalgaryPolitics.com interview with me a day after I sent an email out to candidates. It didn't matter to him whether or not this interview would see 5 hits or 5,000 hits in its lifetime, he made it a point to treat me with the respect and expediency like he would with any other media outlet.
On a much bigger scale, Chris had to overcome many curve balls and distractions during the campaign trail. Some of these distractions were quite honestly hurtful and uncalled for, yet the Harper campaign never made a fuss about it.
When the outgoing councilor of Ward 1 endorses your strongest opponent, how do you react? When one of the candidates in Ward 1 drops out, makes wild and unprofessional comments against you at a forum, and endorses your main opponent, how do you react? When you are attacked for being who you are, how do you react?
All of these factors in a span of 4 weeks worked against Chris, and it took away his three-plus years of dedication, long hours of campaigning, and he giving up on something called "personal time".
Chris Harper acted rather than reacted with class and professionalism. He took it all in stride and moved on, focused on the issues, and committed himself to Ward 1.
So to Chris, thank you for your service to our city and thank you for listening to a no-name like myself.
You didn't win this election, but you've won the hearts and admiration of so many people in this city. I'll try to roll up my sleeves to make a difference in this city, and I hope others join in too as one of our thank-yous for your service.