Ward 12 councillor Shane Keating, champion of the recently approved Green Line LRT, has announced his retirement from municipal politics.
Keating, first elected in 2010 announced Monday that he won’t be running in the 2021 municipal election.
“It has been my pleasure and absolute honour to serve as the councillor for Ward 12 for the last 10 years,” Keating said, noting that he believes in term limits to a certain degree.
“I believe Ward 12 needs someone who will aspire to be your councillor.”
In his video posted by his office, Keating talks about the time he’s lost to family due to his careers. His wife was diagnosed with cancer in 2019, he said, having several operations and now undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.
“I believe that should be my priority,” he said.
Keating has been a popular Calgary politician in his riding, winning the last two municipal election with 70 per cent of the vote. He first took the ward in 2010, winning with only 42 per cent of the vote.
His mandate was to ensure a robust public transit service made its way to the southeast. He also wanted to see better recreation service in the area. With the opening of the Brookfield Residential YMCA in Seton he helped fulfill that promise.
With the recent Green Line decision, he reached another political milestone.
His area of the city has also seen substantial growth in his time, with the completion of the southeast ring road and the addition of communities like Seton and Mahogany and the expansion of Cranston. In that time, the South Health Campus also open its doors (2013).
Keating said it was time to go.
“Three terms is the right amount of time to serve,” he said.
Trouble in municipal politics
Keating did say that another reason why he’s decided to leave is the increasingly toxic feel of city council and municipal politics.
He alluded to it in his video preamble with the Green Line and how there are always influences trying to stop projects from happening.
“Unfortunately, the political scene, on the municipal level, has taken a downturn,” Keating said.
“It has become negative and accusational, sensational and, in some cases, void of truth.”
He referred to the common Calgary civic politics phrase: Weaponized misinformation.
Keating said there are organizations and individuals bent on rhetoric and information that isn’t 100 per cent accurate.
Family, friends, community
With one year of public service left, Keating said he wanted more time with his family. Keating mentioned spending time with children and grandchildren. He wanted to take more time to care for his community.
He also wanted to make sure there was enough time for candidates to step forward.
Keating said Ward 12 deserves someone who aspires to be a voice for their area.
Someone that listens to “even the naysayers and negative ones.”
“We have to be open to all sides of what makes up our society,” he said.
Despite some of the challenges the city faces, Keating believes that with projects like the Green Line, Calgary is in good shape.
“The future in my view just continues to be bright,” he said.
Calgary’s next municipal election is in October 2021. Keating will continue to serve on council until that time.