Congratulations to the new City Council

Being a former educator for 31 years, my life has constantly revolved around lessons and learning; working on Council with The City of Calgary has not been much different. Over the past ten years I have seen other’s focus more time on what’s wrong and not implementing lessons learned for improvement.

Within our Country of Canada, Province of Alberta, and City of Calgary – I have seen discontent and anger building within our political spectrum. It seems some leaders have replaced consideration for positive impact with expressions of blame, chastisement, and negative rhetoric; whether it’s about: Covid-19, economics, taxes, or the direction of our future.

My last posting as a principal at a newly formed school, we were tasked with defining a mission statement and vision. The school chose 3 power words and I still hold them close to this day: Accept, Achieve, and Aspire.

  • Accept all as they are
  • Achieve to be the best of their ability
  • Aspire to be better than we are individually and as a group

During this 2021 Municipal Election, I witnessed the best and worst in campaigns. Despite the negativity and manufactured bitterness, there was one campaign that also used 3 power words deserving Calgary’s support: Positivity, Possibility, and Policy. These words ring true in an environment that is sometimes overflowing with misinformation and selfishness.

My interpretation of these 3 words are:

  • Positivity – While we might not agree on a given issue, we endeavor to always be respectful and compassionate when having these discussions
  • Possibility – Always trying to aspire to enable possible course-of-actions to move forward on a given issue with the focus of improving Calgarian’s quality of life
  • Policy – Utilizing solid governance and adjusting policy in a responsible way that respects all parties and political processes

My sincere desire is for political environments, not only within our city – but across our entire country, adopt the intent of incorporating these 6 power words. While we must continue to be open-minded, evaluate different views and political aspects; as political leaders we must embody decency, ethics, and honesty.

Looking back to when I was first elected in 2010, I can’t help but get nostalgic about the well-maintained atmosphere of mutual respect of City Council at the time. Serving constituents meant conducting ourselves in a way that was collaborative, communicative, that demonstrated honest integrity. We solved many problems by being respectful when thinking critically, and strategic in our decision-making. Politics used to create meaningful and positive change, however much has eroded since then. It is up to this new generation of leaders to help rebuild political higher standards.

I wish to congratulate the following individuals on their achievement, and ask them to think of these 6 power words on behalf of all residents of Calgary. Thank you.

Ward 1: Sonya Sharp

Ward 2: Jennifer Wyness

Ward 3: Jasmine Mian

Ward 5: Raj Dhaliwal

Ward 6: Richard Pootmans

Ward 7: Terry Wong

Ward 8: Courtney Walcott

Ward 9: Gian-Carlo Carra 

Ward 10: Andre Chabot

Ward 11: Kourtney Branagan

Ward 12: Evan Spence

Ward 13: Dan McLean

Ward 14: Peter Demong