Candidates for mayor square off at Mount Royal University

All ears Tuesday night were on the race for mayor as interested voters packed the library to hear from the men running for Calgary’s top job.

The event was hosted by the Student Association of Mount Royal University (SAMRU) and moderated by political scientist Lori Williams.

Questions were submitted in advance and then posed to the candidates.

Each speaker was given one to two minutes to provide their answers in alphabetical order and Williams reinforced with the crowd that it wasn’t a debate, but a forum, a chance to hear their answers.

Naheed Nenshi appeared to have the loudest applause over the course of the opening statements while Bill Smith got laughs for chatting about his son (a Mount Royal student) being able to visit the library now to cheer on his father.

Much of the questions focused on issues that were of relevance to the student population at MRU.

The candidates traded barbs during scrums with the media after the forum.

“I think people deserve to understand where you stand on things and tonight, there was so much waffling,” said Nenshi. “At the end of the night, I’m not sure if anyone knows if a person will cancel the S.W. B.R.T, what they’re going to do about secondary suites, how much money they’re planning on forking over to Flames owners. It’s odd because they were asked these questions directly and with a few small exceptions, no one would answer them.”

Nenshi says the biggest question he couldn’t get the others to answer who is paying their bills.

He believes it’s extremely important to be able to answer who has given these candidates money and who is “fueling” their campaigns.
One of his top challengers for the job, former Progressive Conservative Party President Bill Smith says his campaign is following the rules.

“I haven’t seen any polls but from what I’m hearing at the door I don’t think he’s leading in the polls and if he is today, I don’t think he’ll be leading in 27 days.”

“I think we have some disagreements on some items already, we’ve always said this is poor leadership, where have you seen two councils that need psychologists, they needed an ethics advisor and an integrity commissioner and still that didn’t work.”

Ward 10 Councillor Andre Chabot believes this comes down to the current mayor’s arrogance.

Chabot, who was late arriving to the forum because of traffic along Glenmore, told the audience the city can be doing more to improve on its environmental record.

“Council is no longer being respected, our mayor is not respected and why? Because he doesn’t respect others. If you don’t believe me ask people who have presented to council, this guy is just too arrogant and he has to go,” he told reporters afterward.

“Not everything council has done has been bad, my biggest issue is I think the mayor was great coming in, the problem is I think he’s gotten bigger than the job. This job should never, no person should ever be bigger than any job, especially not the job of mayor and I think if nothing else comes out of this, hopefully, he’ll learn from it and adjust because the way he’s been treating people and other members of council is disrespectful and it has to stop.”

David Lapp, Emile Gabriel, and Larry Heather also took part in the debate.

Calgarians go to the polls on October 16, 2017.

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