Calgary mayor wins another term

Incumbents take the day throughout Alberta in municipal elections

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has handily won a third term after a bitter and divisive campaign during which his at-times prickly personality was a focus.

His main challenger, former Progressive Conservative Party president Bill Smith, conceded around midnight Tuesday.

With most polls reporting, Nenshi had nearly 51 per cent of the vote, with Smith garnering around 44 per cent — not as strong as his showing in the 2013 election, when he won 73 per cent of the vote.

Nenshi, who was the first Muslim mayor of a major North American city, gained a national profile with his stewardship of the city through the devastating floods of 2013 and by winning the 2014 World Mayor Prize.

Related: Calgary mayor’s race draws attention

But in this campaign he was accused of arrogance and being difficult to work with.

“Clearly there is some division and it’s important for us to understand the nature of that division,” Nenshi told reporters in a downtown bar crammed with raucous supporters.

“It’s not nice on a victory night to talk about the campaign, but it was a very divisive campaign and I think that the campaign fostered divisions in the community that may not be long lasting.”

Nenshi said he doesn’t intend to soften his demeanour.

“I’m not sure whether people will appreciate a completely different version of me,” he said. “I will still be scrappy. I will still fight for people every day, but I will make sure that people will see that I’m always listening, that I’m always willing to change my mind and that I’m always willing to hear great arguments.”

Related: Calgary Mayor Nenshi, Conservative MP Rempel in Twitter spat over math remark

Smith — a lawyer and former firefighter — said throughout the race that Calgarians were frustrated by high taxes, excessive spending by the city and a continued downturn in the energy sector, and suggested Nenshi had been avoiding those problems.

The Smith campaign celebration was filled to overflowing early in the evening but had dwindled by half by the time the losing candidate arrived.

Smith said he called Nenshi to congratulate him and acknowledged that the two men had a “divisive battle” over the past few weeks.

“I think we need to put all of that aside and get behind our mayor and continue to press the issues that are important to Calgarians,” he said. “I had two speeches tonight and I’m actually not to read either one of them. I’m just going to end by saying that this for me and my family has been a wonderful journey. I will continue serving Calgarians in the way I have before and don’t think I’m done just because we lost one.”

Elsewhere in the province, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson easily won a second term, while incumbents also fared well in other Alberta cities.

Chris Spearman was re-elected in Lethbridge, as was Ted Clugston in Medicine Hat, Bill Given in Grande Prairie, and Tara Veer in Red Deer.

One of the few places where an incumbent was not running for re-election was the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray. Melissa Blake, who had been mayor since 2004, did not run again and will be replaced by Don Scott, a former provincial Conservative cabinet minister.

Blake had been praised for her grace under pressure after a devastating wildfire swept through the city in 2016 and also advocated for more housing and expanded infrastructure when Fort McMurray boomed before the last oil downturn.

By Bill Graveland and Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

 

Just Posted

Friends, family remember Dan Sealey, stepson of Minister of Agriculture, in private gathering

Lana Popham confirmed Sealey died of an accidental drug overdose earlier this month at age 23

PHOTOS: Uptown lights up the holiday season

Annual event drew crowd of all ages for parade and Christmas tree lighting

New figures show City of Victoria spent $30,000 to remove Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Mommy’s Inside Voice: A little piece of you

Mommy’s Inside Voice is a biweekly column by Amie Jay, a local mother of three

High school graduation rates on the rise in Greater Victoria

High school completion up from 71 to 86.8 per cent over 10 years

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Most Read