Story:

Mayor Nenshi on protests outside City Hall

What makes this country work is the fact we can live together and disagree on things respectfully. People must be allowed the freedom of expression, but there is no place in our community for violence as we exercise our freedoms.

We all must condemn violence.

The Calgary Police Service will investigate every allegation of physical violence and appropriate charges will be laid should the evidence support it. They ask that those who believe they were assaulted at this event, contact them by calling 403-266-1234.

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi
Story: ,

Mayor Nenshi's gift disclosure: January - June 2014

In 2013, Mayor Nenshi and Council agreed to a new ethics policy that includes the disclosure of gifts and benefits to members of Council (including event tickets and hosting given to their staff).

Starting July 1, 2013, members of Council must disclose their gifts (physical gifts, event tickets, honoraria, donations, or event hosting) semi-annually. Although the policy states that this only applies to gifts over $150, Mayor Nenshi has chosen to disclose all gifts he receives.

Download and view the gift and benefits disclosure list for January - June 2014.
Story: ,

Mayor's Office meeting register: April - June 2014

Office sign photo

Since Mayor Naheed Nenshi was first elected, he has published monthly lists of meetings he's taken in his office. This was a voluntary action in the absence of a formal policy. In July 2013, at his urging, Council agreed to publish quarterly lists of meetings held with members of the public (IE: not City of Calgary employees) in the offices of the mayor and councillors. This is the list of meetings for the second quarter of 2014.

Click here to view a list of meetings with Mayor Nenshi.

Click here to view a list of meetings with Mayor Nenshi's staff.

The details of the new disclosure policy can be found in the Ethical Conduct Policy for Members of Council. Here is the specific quote related to disclosing meetings:
All visitors shall be encouraged to sign a form with appropriate language allowing release of their names as per Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation. Members of Council and their staff shall disclose a list of those external visitors to The City (excluding Media), with whom they have met in their offices quarterly.
Story:

Moving forward: more than a year after the 2013 flood



High water season in Calgary ends tomorrow (July 15). As Mayor Nenshi explains, throughout the past several months The City worked diligently to manage and prepare for short-term risk while simultaneously managing long-term risk.

We had a chance to reflect on the tough times and also celebrate how the community came together during the 2013 flood; however, our work is not done.

Individual preparedness and staying informed are important ways to stay safe. Stay connected with us via our social media channels, apps and website - make sure you know what's happening, so you know what to do.

Find more information at calgary.ca/floodinfo.

(Cross-posted from the Calgary City News Blog)
Story: ,

Happy Stampede!


Happy Stampede!

Just finished one of my favourite parts of being mayor: riding a horse in the Stampede Parade. Here's my annual picture from atop Garfield (he's been my trusty steed for the last four years). I hope you get a chance to enjoy this amazing city-wide festival with friends and family and the many, many visitors who come from around the world! Of course, there's so much to do with the official Calgary Stampede, but I encourage you to track down your local community pancake breakfast or barbecue and enjoy some western hospitality with your neighbours. I'm looking forward to visiting as many as I can in every corner of Calgary--hopefully I'll see you around as we celebrate what makes this city great.

And, oh yeah: YAHOO!

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi
Story: ,

Mayor's Office meeting register: January - March 2014

Office sign photo

Since Mayor Naheed Nenshi was first elected, he has published monthly lists of meetings he's taken in his office. This was a voluntary action in the absence of a formal policy. In July 2013, at his urging, Council agreed to publish quarterly lists of meetings held with members of the public (IE: not City of Calgary employees) in the offices of the mayor and councillors. This is the list of meetings for the first quarter of 2014.

Click here to view a list of meetings with Mayor Nenshi.

Click here to view a list of meetings with Mayor Nenshi's staff.

The details of the new disclosure policy can be found in the Ethical Conduct Policy for Members of Council. Here is the specific quote related to disclosing meetings:
All visitors shall be encouraged to sign a form with appropriate language allowing release of their names as per Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation. Members of Council and their staff shall disclose a list of those external visitors to The City (excluding Media), with whom they have met in their offices quarterly.
- Posted by Daorcey from Mayor Nenshi's team

Story:

Mayor Nenshi on multiculturalism and diversity



In June 2014, New Canadian Media met with Mayor Nenshi do discuss diversity in our community and his personal story of growing up in Calgary. Here is the full test of the resulting article


Naheed Nenshi’s meteoric rise – from relative obscurity to being the new face of Western Canada – was fodder for international media when he first became Calgary’s mayor in 2010. Since then, he has orchestrated the city out of last year’s devastating flood, winning him accolades, trending hashtags, and a second term in office.

Yet four years ago, political pundits wondered: how could Canada’s arguably most conservative city elect a non-white Muslim mayor?

Nenshi – a former Harvard-educated academic – says Calgarians didn’t care much about his background or his skin colour. In fact, they bristled at anyone who did.

“The issue of my faith came up exactly twice [in Calgary], and both times there was a huge backlash against people even talking about it,” says Nenshi, his first term evidenced from the multiplying grey hairs in his messy mop of trademark curls.

“People would phone the newsrooms and say, ‘Why do I care? I want to know what he wants to do about transit. It was only after I was elected – immediately after I was elected, within hours – that I suddenly found myself being very famous. And people from outside of Calgary wanted to know about this Muslim mayor.”

Nenshi says he was reluctant to discuss his heritage at first, deeming it irrelevant to his work as the city’s mayor. Today, he admits it’s “an incredibly important part of my identity and the way I see the world.”

Personal story

His story is not unlike that of countless other Canadians, who left their home countries in search of brighter prospects. For the Nenshi family, it meant leaving their native Tanzania in the early 1970s while the mayor’s mother was still pregnant with him.

He says he grew up wondering why his family had “big fancy citizenship certificates” and all he had was a “lousy birth certificate,” realizing later in life those pieces of paper were deeply meaningful. It was a sentiment that snowballed and soon morphed into a profound sense of appreciation for what makes Canada a beacon for immigrants.

“As minority communities, we often focus on things that could be better, such as the discrimination or lack of equal opportunity,” says Nenshi.

“We need to focus on the extraordinary place in which we live,” insisting that every child, regardless of where they come from or what they look like, has the opportunity to realize their Great Canadian dream.

“I believe I’m one of five non-white city council members ever, in history,” acknowledging his own Great Canadian dream realized.

Nenshi wants to see other newcomers looking to fulfill their own ambitions – not just for their children. In order for that to happen, he says, more groundwork needs to be done, be it through offering incentives to quit their jobs and return to school, improve their English skills or acquire accreditation in the professions for which they’ve already been trained.

“People have to be able to understand that it’s possible here and it isn’t possible everywhere,” says Nenshi. “For many of us, it isn’t possible in the countries we came from.”

Success stories

He rattles off some success stories with a deftness that hints he’d told them many times before: a man who immigrated from Colombia after being mayor in his own hometown, and found work in Calgary as a house painter, only to quit his job, enroll in college and take on an internship in city hall, which would soon lead to work in Mayor Nenshi’s office.

Nenshi then recalls meeting a woman from India who worked as an assistant manager at McDonald’s, who was able to put her son and daughter through college, yet still continued working at the restaurant for 27 years simply because she liked working there and wanted to ensure other newcomers who came after her could have the same experience.

The stories – albeit uplifting – may perhaps be a way to offset the negative publicity some of the country’s immigration programs have garnered. Chiefly, the Temporary Foreign Worker program which continues to get mired in controversy. The TFW program was designed to be a two-way street: an avenue for foreigners seeking work and a pathway to eventual Canadian citizenship, all while filling a void in the country’s labour market. Today, Nenshi says, the public perception of the program has changed.

“Now what you have is people saying Temporary Foreign Workers are not well treated, that we’ve created a second class of Canadians – people who don’t have the right to stay here,” says Nenshi.

“Those are very deep moral issues that we have to talk about.”

He says the success of Canada’s immigration system hinges on three levels: policy, programs and people.

“The [federal] government has to get the policy right – how many people do we let in? What kinds of people do we let in?” he says, adding the other two facets are even more important than getting policy right.

Settling in

Newcomers can’t walk that road alone. Nenshi says non-profit agencies, government, and immigrant-serving agencies all have a role to play in offering programs to assist immigrants settle in, from accessing language training to getting a foreign degree accredited.

Nenshi admits he may not be politically correct, but integration entails “fluency in English, reducing accents, [and] being able to get more in the workplace.” He says confronting that issue can mean wiping out other social problems that arise from it, such as generational poverty.

Yet, at the heart of it all, people can make all the difference in assisting newcomers and prove to be the most vital element.

“It really is about those human linkages and human beings helping one another think about better ideas,” he adds.

He says he’s “very optimistic” the community will tap into its full potential and continue to welcome immigrants, in spite of “little strains of xenophobia that have crept into the conversation.”

Case in point: Quebec’s controversial Charter of Values, a bill that was famously proposed by the former Premier Pauline Marois in 2013, which restricted government employees from wearing religious symbols, such as turbans and hijabs.

“The fact that the ‘Charter of Racism’ (as I call it) was voted down soundly in Quebec says a lot about who we are as a community,” says Nenshi. “It’s because people fought against it and stood up and said, ‘That’s not right. That’s not the Quebec we live in, that’s not the Canada we live in, that’s not the world we want for our kids.’”

“We have to keep doing it every single day or we risk sliding backwards,” he adds.

Nenshi says he’s heartened by the strides made in Calgary, suggesting the city may truly be colour blind – or at least partially.

“Those of us who are minorities learn to live with it and we learn to overcome it,” he says, citing his own Member of Legislative Assembly, Manmeet Bhullar. “[Bhullar] is a large man with a beard and a turban, and nonetheless is the Minister of Human Services.”

“I think that speaks incredibly well of our ability to move forward.”