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YYC Matters: Mayor Nenshi lays out Calgary federal election priorities

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi said he would have preferred to hear fewer personal attacks on day one of the federal election.

“I remain hopeful that this election will be dominated by real conversation about real issues, not by reactive social media,” Nenshi said Thursday as he presented YYC Matters, the city website dedicated to keeping Calgary issues atop the federal election agenda.

Nenshi said the site is made available so Calgarians have access to an unbiased information centre on what each party is promising in relation to the cities. They also sent a detailed survey out to the respective federal parties to see where they stand on these civic issues.

Calgary federal election: Economic engine is sputtering, Nenshi said

The top issue on mayor Nenshi’s list is the economy – specific to Calgary.

“Because fundamentally, the federal budget will not be balanced unless Alberta is running on all cylinders,” he said.

“It’s really important for these federal politicians to understand that while the economy is absolutely booming around the rest of the country, the actual economic engine is sputtering.”

Nenshi acknowledged that most of the federal benefit comes in financial help – for projects such as the Green Line. In the future, they’re hoping for help on the Arts Commons expansion and the construction of a multi-sport fieldhouse, he said.

He pointed to the doubling of the gas tax transfer. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities once again advocated for this Thursday morning. Nenshi also wanted a more direct flow of cannabis-related cash.

Nenshi said the current system has cannabis revenue share sent to the province.

“We’re just not getting anything out of the province,” Nenshi said.

Placards on display outlined some of the city’s priorities. DARREN KRAUSE / LIVEWIRE CALGARY

The mayor also said the rhetoric around immigration and diversity that he’s heard from some campaigns is “reckless.” He pointed to Calgary’s recent census results showing an aging population in the city with fewer young people coming to the city.

“That is a very, very, very big problem. To be clear, we no longer have the luxury to indulge ourselves in this kind of divisive rhetoric because we think it might get us folks here or there. We can’t afford it,” he said.

“And so it’s important as well, to understand what the parties are going to do to make sure to Calgary remains an open and welcoming magnet for the very best talent from around the world.”

Citizens can view Calgary federal election content at yycmatters.ca. Once survey responses are received from the political parties, visitors will be able to view the answers.