Committee completes donation to City of Calgary, concludes fundraising

Post Date: Tuesday, August 29, 2017
The following is posted on behalf of the volunteer committee...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 – Today, the volunteer committee raising funds to donate to The City of Calgary concluded their activity by raising $284,835.07 (including a personal donation of $16,910.34 by Naheed Nenshi for donation to The City of Calgary. Mayor Nenshi will not receive a municipal receipt for federal and provincial tax purposes). This value is for the full cost for legal fees and disbursements associated with the defence of Mayor Naheed Nenshi in the lawsuit with Calvin Wenzel settled in 2016. As per the recommendations to Council from the Ethics Advisor, and the Mayor’s commitment to transparency, the committee is releasing the names of the donors.

The City of Calgary paid the original invoice in accordance with Council’s policy regarding indemnifying Council members acting within the scope of their duties. The City Solicitor decided early in the litigation process that Mayor Nenshi was acting within the scope of his duties and therefore entitled to the benefit of The City’s indemnity for members of Council. Therefore, under this policy, no reimbursement would be required.

However, Mayor Nenshi requested that Council also add a provision allowing Council members to fundraise to reimburse The City at their discretion, and he further requested Council to compel him to do so.

“It is vital that public servants are protected and able to do their jobs,” said Mayor Nenshi. “However, paying legal bills is not the best use of taxpayer money and I am thrilled to have been able to reimburse every penny. I’m incredibly humbled that many people joined me in making a donation to The City of Calgary for this purpose. We can now put this matter behind us and move forward with an indemnification policy that is more consistent with other organizations across Canada.”

The fundraising was done by a third-party committee of volunteers. As per the Ethics Advisor’s proposed guidelines, Mayor Nenshi was not directly involved.

“We strongly believe that all politicians should be free to speak their minds without fear of financially crippling legal action,” said committee chair, Dean Koeller. “All members of the committee are proud of the work they’ve done to help citizens make this donation to The City of Calgary. Through this process, we’ve met many, many people who wanted to make this donation to support this democratic value.”

Additional material:
Note: Original reports shared a total of $299,728.59. This was inclusive of GST, which The City, as a government, gets refunded. The total without GST is $284,835.07.