Naheed Nenshi’s seven-year reign as Calgary’s mayor has been characterized by incompetence, arrogance, and international scandals – that, and taxes skyrocketing faster than the rate of inflation .
The year before Naheed Nenshi took power, the average Calgary family paid $1128.68 in property taxes. This year, they’ll pay $1823.12 .
Nenshi has turned down numerous opportunities to let Calgarians keep more of their own money. In 2013, he voted to spend $520 million in provincial tax rebates on his pet projects – instead of returning the money to taxpayers .
He’s also failed to settle the issue of secondary suites, resulting in backlogs and massive wait times for homeowners .
While failing to act on pressing city issues, Nenshi keeps busy by picking fights on Twitter and insulting entrepreneurs. Last October, Nenshi was caught on video calling Uber CEO Travis Kalanick “a dick.” In the same video, filmed by a Boston taxi driver, Nenshi claimed that the City of Calgary had recruited sex offenders and violent criminals “to sign up to be Uber drivers to see if they could get through the background check."
“How we found registered sex offenders, I don’t want to know,” he added. “And people with convictions for violent crimes, I don’t want to know why we know those people .”
Nenshi would later walk back these claims, stating, “Who knew I'd have my very own episode of Taxicab Confessions? I should have stuck with Carpool Karaoke .”
It’s nice to see that controversy hasn’t robbed the Mayor of his sense of humour. That said, it also didn’t teach him the value of tact.
This August, after the city blew half a million dollars on the Bowfort Towers art installation (which resembles a derelict construction site and offended the local Blackfoot community), Nenshi compared its critics to “a public lynch mob .” Yikes.
With the election fast approaching, it’s not hard to see why Nenshi would be particularly sensitive to criticism.
In June, he reluctantly cancelled a $2000-$5000 per person cash-for-access campaign fundraiser, after coming under fire from his council colleagues as well as Democracy Watch. He’d previously called the cash-for-access allegations “baseless” and “so dumb .”
Perhaps we shouldn’t be too harsh on Mayor Nenshi for his creative approach to fundraising – if he wants to win re-election after seven years of reckless spending and feckless hubris, he’ll need all the help he can get.