Interview: Mayor Nenshi and Y! Canada News

Post Date: Friday, December 21, 2012
Big Rock U with Mayor Nenshi Sept 19, 2012


In early December, Mayor Nenshi chatted with Yahoo! Canada about a variety of topics. The full interview is here, but here are a few of the questions and answers:

Y! Canada News: You just recently celebrated your second anniversary as Calgary's mayor. Since coming into office, what accomplishment are you most proud of?

Mayor Nenshi: Probably the biggest thing … is the engagement and excitement about the city.

There was a survey done earlier this summer in which they asked people in Canada’s largest cities to talk about how they felt about their cities. And Calgary came first in quality of life in six out of seven measures.

And, when Calgarians were asked [if] your city on the rise, an incredible 90 per cent of them were optimistic and said their city on the rise.

To me that’s the biggest thing. Calgarians are feeling great about their community. They're feeling great about the level of service their municipal government gives and [they believe] only better things are on the horizon.

Y! Canada News: Cities across the country have asked for a long-term funding commitment from the federal government. You have spoken out about become less reliant on property taxes. So is there another way to fund city infrastructure?

Mayor Nenshi: Property taxes are one of the worst forms of taxation imaginable. It’s regressive, it’s particularly unfair to seniors and you simply can’t use them to fund capital and infrastructure.

Calgarians send about $4 billion a year more to the province than we get back in all provincial services. The federal government of that number is $10 billion. And our entire operating budget is only $3 billion.

So when I talk about funding from other orders of government, I talk about tax rebates on what we already pay because in order for people to want to live here, to invest here and to pay taxes here, the city has to be a great place to live.

And in order for it to be a great place to live we have to invest in things like public transit, sports facilities, recreation and so on.

I think that’s what the federal government needs to start.

Y! Canada News: You were in eastern Canada last year to head-hunt for ‘workers.’ You have a long-term labour crunch in your city. What’s your pitch to Canadians in other provinces to get them to come to Calgary?

Mayor Nenshi: This is an amazing place to live. It’s a city where as our official mission says ‘It’s a great place to make living, it’s a great place to make a life.’

Yes it’s economically doing great right now. But don’t come here just for a job. Come here because this is a place where you can be at the top of your profession, where you can live an amazing life and raise your family and also be doing world-leading things at work.

If that’s the kind of person you are — if you are willing to work hard and you bring a lot to the table, come to Calgary. Because, as I always say, here in Calgary nobody cares what you look like or who your daddy was or what your last name is or where you come from. They care about what you bring to the table. And if you have that drive to succeed, this community will help you succeed.

Read the full interview here.

(Photo courtesy of Big Rock, available online on Flickr)

- Posted by Daorcey from Mayor Nenshi's team