Nate Pike has seen firsthand the impact a city councillor can have by doing the little things for citizens.
Pike, a 32-year-resident of Calgary and 11-year paramedic, wants to follow that in his run for the Ward 3 city council seat.
But, he said he wants nothing to do with the partisan politics that have filtered their way into Calgary’s municipal political scene.
“I’m wired in a way where if something’s wrong, then it’s wrong,” he said.
That’s helped shape the theme of his upcoming campaign: What happens if we just tell the truth?
Pike grew up in northern Alberta. He spent a short time in Drumheller and then moved to Calgary when he was 12. He’s lived here ever since.
After going to school for criminology, then realized being colour-blind hampered life as a police officer, Pike turned to music.
He worked for a time in middle management at a telecom company before struggling with ethical issues in the role. That’s when he turned to emergency services.
His entire life he’s been exposed to Alberta’s political scene. His grandfather on his mom’s side was once mayor of Taber, and also ran the Taber Times. The dad-side grandfather was a founding member of the Reform Party and the Canadian Alliance.
Pike himself ran for the Alberta Party in the last provincial election. He now runs a popular podcast/vlog called the Breakdown, focusing on provincial political issues.
What he’s learned along the way helped him form his own political perspective. Pike said developing policy with the Alberta Party showed him that it’s about the merit of an idea.
“It really underscored the importance of being able to listen to an idea,” he said, adding that it doesn’t matter who the idea come from.
In seeing where politics is going today, Pike said there’s a growing number of citizens just looking for honesty.
“I do believe very strongly that there’s a drive and a hunger from people to have somebody who’s just going to tell the truth. And who’s willing to own their mistakes and who’s willing to try to do better,” he said.
“Right now, we have a lot of people who have lost focus of the fact they’re supposed to be representing people, and instead put a lot of energy into the theatre.”
Issues in Ward 3
Like his predecessor, Jyoti Gondek (now running for mayor), Pike believes that north central Calgary has long been neglected.
He said the Green Line is a perfect example. It took consistent pressure from Gondek to get a commitment to build a better system north.
“Still, it doesn’t help Ward 3 for a very long time,” Pike said.
Pushing ahead on the Green Line and the correlative improvements along the Centre Street corridor are critical, Pike said.
“The reality is that public transit is key to having successful neighborhoods, particularly when we’re talking about the people who are most adversely affected when there’s not effective public transit,” he said.
Pike also said the city’s budgeting process needs an overhaul.
“It’s a big part of what’s contributed to the unpredictable nature of property taxes,” he said.
He said there are common sense solutions for getting that back on track.
An emerging issue that he’s heard on doorsteps recently, collecting signatures for his nomination papers, is this idea of the youth migration out of Calgary.
“I think a lot of that comes from the fact that there’s a perception that Calgary’s opportunity is gone,” Pike said.
“I strongly disagree with that. As someone who’s lived in the city for more than three decades, I think that Calgary is a city of unbelievable potential.”
He said we need to move past the division and noise.
“But it’s true. We need to show the young people that there’s opportunity here. That this is a city that can, and will, move forward.”
No 20-word, ‘why you should vote for me’
Pike said he wants informed voters.
If that means casting a vote for another candidate, so be it.
“What I can commit that I’m going to try to do over the next six- to-eight months, is make who I am as abundantly clear as I possibly can,” he said.
“If we keep electing people who are just going to say what we want them to say, we’re never going to get any better.”
He said if candidates are willing to be honest, to tell the truth and conduct themselves with integrity – what could the possibilities be?
“I think if we can have enough people step up and say, ‘I’d be willing to do that,’ without having to worry about their egos getting hurt or whatever, that’s how we’re going to move this city forward.”
The Calgary municipal election is Oct. 18, 2021.