04/23/2013 09:36 EDT | Updated 04/24/2013 05:35 EDT

Cal Wenzel Calgary Election Video: Naheed Nenshi Wants Investigation

Video From Global Calgary

The mayor of Calgary is calling for an investigation into a video that appears to depict a plan to control city council's decisions on new housing.

The video obtained by Global Calgary shows a meeting last November where a plan is discussed to defeat members of council who are perceived to be anti-development.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he believes there are some things in the video that may violate election laws.

Coun. Andre Chabot says it's disconcerting if there's intent to control members of council.

The video shows a Calgary home builder listing councillors he approves of and who he says he is supporting with campaign donations in this fall's municipal election.

He also mentions current and former municipal and provincial politicians by name.

"When you see this live, captured on tape in this way, it's very distasteful,'' Nenshi says. "And as viewers watch this, I think they will agree this is shadowy, weird and unpleasant.

"I have no idea what this small group of extremely wealthy individuals is so mad about. Our housing starts are really healthy. They all admit the industry is extremely profitable.''

Nenshi says he works with his councillors every day and he's certain not one of them can be bought.

The same videotape is also raising questions about political donations made to the Manning Centre.

The organization, founded by former federal opposition leader Preston Manning, offers a program to train and support civic election candidates.

On the recording, the same builder says he and 10 colleagues put up a total of $1,100,000 ``in order to bring Preston on board.''

Duane Bratt, a political analyst at Mount Royal University, says the donations need to be explained.

"It doesn't sound like they (the Manning Centre) are an impartial, non-partisan, not-for-profit think-tank as they describe themselves,'' says Bratt.

"So if that is, in fact, party building, I think an investigation is warranted and I think Preston Manning has a lot of questions he needs to answer.''

Manning was out of the country but Chuck Strahl, a former B.C. Reform MP and a Manning Centre director, says the centre has done nothing wrong.

Strahl says the centre's purpose is to support and train future politicians and he defends donations from home builders or anyone else. He says the donations aren't any different from those given to civic candidates.

"These people tend to be very involved in civic politics,'' says Strahl. ``I bet they gave to many candidates in the last election, including the mayor, but that's as it should be. In our case, they gave more broadly to political education and training.''

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