Priorities

The next City Council will have a lot of work to do in the next four years as we recover from both COVID-19 and the continuing economic downturn. With my experience, I am well equipped to take a leadership role on Council as we navigate these uncertain times together. 

I will fight to make sure that our great city, and Ward 8 especially, are able to recover and become more vibrant than ever!  I will fight for our communities, I will fight for our businesses, and I will fight for our future.  I will take action to fight climate change, address social inequalities and work to stop the brain drain.

You can trust that I will get the results the people of Ward 8 expect from their representative on City Council.

Climate change is real.  Calgary has borne the brunt of hotter summers, snowier winters, and higher floodwaters.  All levels of government, business, and civil society must work together to mitigate future climate change effects and to adapt to the effects we are currently feeling.  This includes small things, like better recycling of household goods to keep unnecessary items out of the landfill, to larger things like continuing flood-mitigation strategies or greater electrification of our vehicles.  City Council is vital at ensuring the long-term environmental viability of Calgary for generations to come.

Ward 8 was at the heart of the flooding in 2013 and I remember it vividly, both covering it for Global and being a resident who was flooded out of my house for 10 days.  It is also the ward with the most to gain from investments in green projects and initiatives for businesses and residents.  I know that Ward 8 needs to be at the centre of any future climate mitigation strategies in the City so that our communities can lead the City forward on these environmental initiatives.

What I will do:

  • I will propose the establishment of a sustainability office within the City administration to oversee all City matters regarding the environment and the circular economy.
  • I will invest in better recycling and garbage services so that whatever can be recycled is and whatever can't be is disposed of in an environmentally sustainable way.
  • I will ensure continuous review of flood-mitigation strategies and waste- and stormwater systems to prioritize effectiveness and longevity.
  • I will prioritize environmental sustainability in future city developments and city investments and adopt explicit targets for reducing emissions from municipal assets.
  • I will work with all levels of government, the private sector, and NGOs to support green funding and green projects in Ward 8 and around Calgary.

Calgarians need jobs. We have been at the mercy of falling energy prices and a pandemic that brought the world to a standstill.  Now, we need to recover.  But we cannot just try and rebuild the same old way.  Calgary needs to grow beyond just being a hub for resource extraction and development.  We need to encourage more entrepreneurs to start businesses in the City.  We need to facilitate innovation and future-sector jobs.  The City has to step up and make Calgary attractive to businesses the world over.

Two of Calgary's four big capital projects are located in Ward 8, the Event Centre development and the BMO Centre expansion.  These will provide construction jobs in the short term and help develop long term entertainment, hospitality, and retail employment down the road for Ward 8. It's a good start, but for businesses in Ward 8, the City can and must do better to help support our economic recovery.

What I will do:

  • I will continue to support the development of the Events Centre and the expansion of the BMO Centre which will continue to play a significant part in the future economic growth of Ward 8 and the City as a whole.
  • I will promote the City and its workforce as the best place for companies to come and develop Calgary as a new innovation hub in Canada and North America.
  • I will streamline and modernize City services for businesses, including the online services for business license renewal and management.
  • I will increase transparency so that planning and development permits are more accessible to communities and stakeholders.
  • I will work with all levels of government to optimize procurement policy and incentivize buying and hiring from local sources.

I was able to buy a house when I was a young man, a lovely two bedroom in Mission, for my kids to grow up in.  But now they are grown up and looking for jobs, partners, and a house to call their own.  My concerns are that my children, and their peers, might not be able to afford a house at a reasonable price.

The safe and assuring sanctity of a home is a basic human right. Everyone deserves to have a place to call their home.  For those who can qualify for a mortgage, they should be able to buy their own place.  For those that can't, there should be reasonable rental rates and supports available to them.  And for those people who, for whatever reason, find themselves out on the street, there should be housing supports to get them into a long-term place that they can call home.  

What I will do:

  • I will expand the Calgary Housing Company and Attainable Homes Calgary to support affordable housing and promote home ownership in Ward 8 and Calgary.
  • I will make sure there is a variety of housing options available to the people of Ward 8.
  • I will enforce City bylaws around short term rentals and lodging houses to make sure that people like AirBnB owners can be regulated to provide for the safety and security of their users and their neighbours.
  • I will regularly review the secondary and basement suite approval process to ensure it is working for the people of Ward 8.
  • I will follow the lead of cities like Medicine Hat and commit to ending homelessness in Calgary through the 'Housing First' approach by the end of 2025.

Calgary is a vibrant city with acres of parks and natural areas, world class festivals and events, and recreation centers that provide resources to all Calgarians.  I know that a thriving arts, culture, and entertainment sector leads to a vibrant economy, good paying jobs, and livable communities and that's what I want for Ward 8 and for Calgary. I helped found the Lilac Festival on Fourth Street; I know what street festivals can do to build livable communities and promote civic engagement.  I want to continue to make Ward 8 the hub for Calgary's festival scene.  

However Ward 8 is the ward with the least public and park space in the whole city. Its recreational facilities are aging and need immediate investment to ensure they continue to provide for communities for years to come. And City Council has decided to sell of existing green space in the ward, like the Richmond Green development.  And, while Ward 8 is about to become the home of the new Calgary Events Centre, the pandemic has kneecapped our communities and business districts' abilities to host world-class festivals and events.

What I will do:

  • I will fight to protect existing parks and recreational facilities in Ward 8, create new, accessible park and activity space for all age groups, and fight to have City Council reconsider the Richmond Green development project. 
  • I will ensure that the Calgary Event Centre is built on time, on budget, and that Calgarians enjoy the benefits of the redevelopment of the Culture and Entertainment District for decades to come.
  • I will expand Calgary's children and youth programs like Calgary AfterSchool to help ensure healthy living and leadership skills in the next generation.
  • I will work with educational institutions to encourage the preservation and continuing development of the arts community in Calgary.
  • I will encourage street life and public participation in community festivals and neighbourhood events through expanding programs like the Festivals and Events Microgrant program.

Calgary is a city on the go.  Tens of thousands of people travel through Ward 8 daily.  But, while Ward 8 has some of Calgary's most historic buildings and communities, it also has some of Calgary's oldest infrastructure.  Roadworks and lane closures are all too common.  Transit can also be improved in Ward 8, especially once the Green Line stations are built.  And, through collaboration with our residents and businesses, our pathways, bike lanes, and sidewalks can all be refurbished to provide for better and more active transportation choices for residents and visitors.  

I want a Ward 8 that is accessible for everyone.  This means good roads and bridges, plentiful and affordable transit routes, and a responsive City bureaucracy for fixing and upgrading any problems that may arise.  It means accessibility for people with mobility issues and making it a priority that Ward 8 be ready to provide active transpiration that will make our communities ready for a 21st century city on the move.

What I will do:

  • I will prioritize immediate investments in our aging arterial roads and bridges to ensure they are ready for a growing city.
  • I will ensure that both stage one of the Green Line and the 17th Ave SW construction is completed on time and on budget and fight to expand rail service to the airport.
  • I will fight to ensure that Calgary Transit overhead costs and fares are lowered while protecting service and reliability.
  • I will work with communities and local businesses to develop innovative ways to integrate pedestrians, people with mobility issues, cyclists, and vehicle traffic in our City to maximize active transportation.
  • I will pledge that 311 response to sidewalk, back lane, pothole repair, and snow removal in Ward 8 and Calgary is timely and long-lasting.

Taxes are the price we pay to live in a vibrant city like Calgary.  They fund our roads, our emergency services, and the countless workers who deal with everything from clearing our roads of snow to picking up our recycling.  Taxes make the City run.  But, when dealing with public money, City Council has a duty to spend every cent wisely and efficiently.  The answer to cost overruns on City projects is not to raise taxes, it's to make sure there aren't overruns in the first place.

Unlike some of my opponents, I know that your taxes go into a general revenue fund and are not specifically directed to Ward 8.  Ward 8 contributes a lot to the City's coffers and I want to make sure that that money is spent wisely to benefit Ward 8 and Calgary as a whole.  This means value for money capital spending, a streamlined bureaucracy, and diversified revenue streams to supplement property tax revenue.  Ward 8 needs a Councillor who can work with the City administration and the different levels of government to maximize cost effectiveness for taxpayers.  With my experience as the City Hall reporter for Global Calgary, I know how the City administration works. I know the policies, the players, and the politics and I am going to use that extensive knowledge to benefit Ward 8 and Calgary.

What I will do:

  • I will implement value for money audits on all City departments and services to maximize efficiency and achieve full value of taxpayer dollars.
  • I will fight against arbitrary property tax increases and advocate for efficient use of City resources and providing City services.
  • I will look for ways to streamline the City's bureaucracy to enhance productivity. 
  • I will work to diversify the City's revenue streams for stable budgeting for years to come.
  • I will continue to advocate for greater transparency and accessibility of City records, processes, and decisions.

Sometimes you need a helping hand; a friend to be there for you, a neighbour to help.  Society is only as strong as its most vulnerable citizens.  I support a robust social safety net to care for the most vulnerable in our City.  Everyone from our children to our seniors, First Nations to new Calgarians; anyone who calls this City home.

Calgary's social service infrastructure needs improvement.  Because of the pandemic our rates of homelessness and poverty increased dramatically.  This is especially pronounced in minority communities, people with disabilities, and seniors.  City Council must improve and make more accessible our social service infrastructure, both those directly funded by the City and those services that the City partner's with organizations to provide.  We also need to start to think outside the box for ways to improve the lives of those who need help most.

What I will do:

  • I will support the continued use of City-subsidized programs for low income Calgarians like the Fair Entry program.
  • I will enhance and expand the Community Social Worker program including the Community Hub Initiative.
  • I will promote and improve the recreation programs and fee assistance offered by the City of Calgary for seniors.
  • I will update and make more accessible the resources of the City for newcomers to Calgary.
  • I will advance a made in Ward 8 solution for food security through community gardens and cooperatives for locally grown food.

Every Calgarian should feel safe in their community. This means being able to park your vehicle without someone breaking a window or going for a walk at night without being accosted by a violent criminal.  Ward 8 has some of the highest crime rates in Calgary and residents are telling me that the City has to get public safety right. Community policing is an integrated model and not every 911 call requires a police officer to respond.

But public safety in Calgary is also about bylaw enforcement and fire prevention and general community preparedness.  Calgary has the 311 system to respond to non-emergency requests for city services but it is clear the system is overwhelmed and needs additional resources.  The people of Ward 8 and Calgary deserve better.

What I will do:

  • I will boost community policing to ensure public safety and make sure that the resources allocated to the Calgary Police Service are benefiting the people of Ward 8 and Calgary. 
  • I will invest in community safety programs and resources so that there are non-police options to respond to all Calgarians' needs such as mental health, addiction support, homelessness, and domestic trauma.
  • I will call for an immediate review of fire and emergency response plans in the City to make sure that the current service plans meet the effective response times to serve the needs of the people of Ward 8 and Calgarians as a whole. 
  • I will work to ensure that bylaw violations are dealt with in a timely manner.
  • I will prioritize the continued digitization of 311 services so that Calgarians can access services faster and track the status of their complaints online.

Diversity is one of our great strengths.  We are an immigrant nation, built by the coming together of people and cultures from around the world.  Calgary was built on land where the First Nations of Treaty 7 traditionally live.  Calgary has benefited from immigrants since its founding. People come here in pursuit of a better life and to build a brighter future for their children.

As Calgary continues to grow and welcome more people who want a city to call home, we must recognize that our government services and structures have historically been designed without a care for equality and equity between different people.  This was not right then and it's not right now.  City Council must continue to spearhead improving our City by breaking down barriers that hinder inclusivity and promoting greater diversity in ideas and viewpoints.  As we go forward we must also remember and learn from our past mistakes and work towards reconciliation with groups who have been historically harmed by government policies.

What I will do:

  • I will ensure that City Council fulfills the recommendations of the White Goose Flying Report from 2016.
  • I will fight to ensure that systemic racism is eliminated throughout all city departments and administration.
  • I will mandate gender equity throughout the city administration.
  • I will identify and implement a wholistic network of resources for people with disabilities.
  • I will collaborate with the Federal and Provincial governments to secure funding for diversity and reconciliation programs.

If you support my priorities add your name below