Calgary Mayoral 3 Candidate Debate

Here’s is the debate video most Calgarians have been waiting for. The top 3 candidates: Ric McIver, Naheed Nenshi and Barb Higgins.

Source material was culled from the 6 mayoral candidate debates I’ve posted to my own account. These debates can all be found by filtering my blog posts down to those categorized “POLITICS”.

I’ve seen a few comments on YouTube stating that I’m trying to make Barb Higgins look bad. While I certainly didn’t go out of my way to try make her look good, consider that there is a reason Higgins didn’t want a three candidate debate. The reason was not that she kicks ass discussing policy.

This 3 candidate debate consists almost entirely of questions that all 3 candidates had a chance to answer. Not every candidate answered every question! While the early debates consisted of very few questions being answered by every candidate, formats eventually shifted to token systems were candidates were given a limited number of opportunities to respond. This made for more intelligent debates, but meant many questions didn’t get responses from all 3 candidates.

I don’t apologize for showing Barb (IMHO) utterly failing to impress when asked how she’d cut red tape at CivicCamp, all 3 candidates fielded “how” questions, so that was guaranteed to be a keeper. But if you take the time to skip through some of the “complete” debates to monitor Higgin’s responses, you’ll probably find more jems like this one (18:32). Compare Higgins’ response to Jon Lord (who’s response follows Higgins).

Like you care what I think

The election is tomorrow, and I’m just about to share my thoughts now (before bed-time). I’ve waited this long because my opinion shouldn’t be important to anyone. Certainly not compared to facts. Facts are what I’ve been sharing when I shoot video. We’re all entitled to our own opinions, but we’re not entitled to our own facts. So if you’ve consumed any one of my debates, I like to think you’re about to cast an informed vote.

So now that the important stuff is out of the way, what do I think?

Barb Higgins might make an OK mayor. There are certainly other candidates who performed worse than her in the debates …out of a field of 15. But if we had instant run-off voting, my preference for mayor would have to be:

  1. Naheed Nenshi
  2. Wayne Stewart (who has stepped down and endorsed Naheed Nenshi)
  3. Ric McIver
  4. Jon Lord
  5. Barb Higgins

I knew of Naheed Nenshi long before the election from his TEDxCalgary talk which I enjoyed (as one of my favorites from the event) and videotaped for the TEDx team. Because of this, early in his campaign he asked me to help create a platform video, which I was happy to help with. But I felt it was too early to decide who I’d be supporting (or if I would even get involved at all beyond voting).

Naheed Nenshi became my #1 choice shortly after the “We Should Know Naheed Nenshi” event on September 15, during which he fielded questions from a room full of not-yet-convinced voters. His answers conveyed a deep understanding of a bewildering array of civic (and bureaucratic) challenges, and he let me videotape every Q & A exchanged. He did this after I made it explicit to him, I was still undecided and was doing so for my own video blogging purposes, not for his campaign.

What did not happen after that day, was that other candidates did not emerge with detailed policy proposals. It seemed no one else was even trying to convince me they understood how to reform Calgary’s bureaucracy. That they understood precisely why Calgary Transit is essential, and any sub-par performance on its part puts Calgary at a competitive disadvantage. That while our budget must be balanced, the bang-per-buck spent is more important than now many bucks.

Waste is the enemy. Wasted tax dollars. Wasted man-hours. The wasted intellectual capacity of city employees who don’t have an opportunity to improve their own processes.

So I volunteered to help the campaign, not just a good-luck-with-that platform video, but actually get involved. I have to say, if Nenshi can run Calgary as well as his campaign team have run their campaign, our city has some exciting times ahead.

The Nenshi campaign is described in the press as one that “employs social media” to market itself effectively. That is wrong. The campaign uses the internet to get stuff done in the manner any start-up would. That which can be delegated is delegated. That which can be crowdsourced is crowdsourced. Communication channels are always open. Initiatives are taken. Results shared. Lessons learned.

I never saw anyone lose their cool.

I never saw an opportunity that was missed because of a communications bottleneck or someone unwilling to make a decision.

I never saw a campaign dollar spent foolishly.

I didn’t agree with every decision that was made, but I never felt my input was being ignored, or that the decision making process was a poor one. And ultimately I don’t see any opportunities we missed (except for obvious financial constraints). I was (and am) surprised to see perpetual innovation and volunteer initiative. The team was all about getting stuff done.

In short, this was how an organization should be run.

Monday, October 18 is election day. It is going to be a great day.

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