Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Better Campaigner Wins Calgary Mayoral Election

Unfortunately, in western democracy, the better campaigner typically wins elections, and not necessarily the better representative of the people. Political influence and manipulation, an academic term, for political campaigning, was in full force in the Calgary mayoral election, as apparent frontrunners Higgins, McIver, and Nenshi competed for the lone mayoral position. Campaign signs, t-shirts, leaflets, sound bits were ubiquitous in Calgary over the last couple of months.

The FDA Calgary audit focused on the substance of each mayoral candidate, and ranked them accordingly. The mayoral candidates' campaigns themselves had nothing to do with the FDA audit. And the FDA results reflected the substance each candidate offered Calgarians, and not necessarily the views of the Calgary public as a whole.

The FDA ranked and graded the Calgary mayoral candidates as follows:

1. Jon Lord 57/100 57% (D+)
2. Barb Higgins 53.8/100 53.8% (D)
3. Naheed Nenshi 51.8/100 51.8% (D)
4. Richard McIver 43.8/90 48.6% (F)
5. Joe Connelly 42.7/90 47.4% (F)
6. Dan Knight 46.8/100 46.8% (F)
7. Barry Erskine 38/90 42.2% (F)
8. Bonnie Devine 29/100 29% (F)

Jon Lord is the FDA's better representative for Calgary, followed by Higgins and then Nenshi. All the candidates in the FDA audit had either a barely satisfactory grade or a failing grade.

Note, Gary Johnston, Oscar Fech, Sandra Hunter, and Amanda Lui were removed from the FDA audit, due to lack of information on these candidates. Hawkesworth, Stewart, and Burrows gave their support to Higgins, Nenshi, and McIver, and thus were removed from the final FDA ranking and grading.

The Calgary election results:

1. Naheed Nenshi
2. Richard McIver
3. Barb Higgins
4. Joe Connelly
5. Jon Lord
6. Barry Erkskine
7. Bonnie Devine
8. Amandu Lui
9. Sandra Hunter
10. Dan Knight
11. Oscar Fech
12. Gary Johnston

In reconciling the results, the FDA believes that the better campaigner won the Calgary election. Moreover, the FDA is concerned by the poor election results for Jon Lord, who was the FDA's better representative for Calgary based on the substance of his background, vision, and policies. Did the Calgary public and media take the time to become acquainted with Lord's background, policies and vision, or were they caught up in the campaigns of the so-called frontrunners?

Ironically, Nenshi ran on a campaign of "Better Ideas, Better Mayor." Yet, based on the FDA's audit findings, Hawkesworth had the better policy ideas (55%), followed by Higgins (52.5%), and Lord (51.8%). Nenshi scored a mere 41.4% for his claimed better policies. So does that mean Nenshi will concede the mayor position to Hawkesworth?

The disturbing aspect of Nenshi is that he demonstrated no sense of fiscal responsibility or tax relief for the public in his policies. In fact, his 8 so-called better ideas, did not address the City budget or City taxes. He received a 0% score for budget and tax policies. Considering the City of Calgary had a deficit of 60 million last year, and has a debt of about 3 billion, the next three years does not bode well for Calgarians. Through Nenshi the City debt will likely grow, and the City taxes will increase.

In final analysis, the Calgary public is responsible for who their mayor is. Hopefully, in three years, they will not be regretting that they did not take enough due diligence in deciding their mayor.

The Nenshi campaign reminds the FDA of the Obama campaign in 2008, in which it was based on a backlash to Bush, and the illusion that Obama would make things better for Americans. Obama's ratings are at an all-time low, the US deficit and debt have risen alarmingly, and Obama has failed on many campaign promises.

In economic hard-times and an increasingly unstable world, the FDA is amazed that the Calgary public would elect a candidate who in the opinion of the FDA could not be more worse for such conditions--no elected political experience, no budgetary and tax restraints, and policies of increasing government spending and cutting public expenses such as parking fees, and thus City Hall revenue.

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