Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Calgary elects Muslim mayor

Calgary, a deeply conservative city in the heart of the most conservative province in Canada, the city that pretty much drives Canadian conservatism, has elected... a Muslim mayor?

Many of you may not appreciate the significance of this. For the rest of you, feel free to let out another gasp.

Voting was heavy, about 53 percent, for Monday's mayoral election in Calgary, one of many municipal elections held throughout Alberta. Naheed Nenshi has never held elected office before, but, riding a wave of change in a city of oil and rodeos, he triumphed over his conservative rivals, winning a 40 percent plurality of the vote. Upon taking office, he will the first Muslim mayor of a major Canadian city. The Globe and Mail explains what Nenshi represents:

In many ways, Naheed Nenshi’s come-from-behind win in Calgary’s mayoral race is a traditional story.

Mr. Nenshi is qualified, charismatic and well-spoken. His career path has set him up well, perhaps purposefully, for a political career. He earned key endorsements and had all the momentum going into election day.

But, of course, his victory is unique, both for reasons the 38-year-old is inclined to discuss – such as his impressive grassroots "Purple Army" shoestring campaign – and those that he is not. He represents a changing Calgary, with its 230,000 visible-minority residents (nearly a quarter of the population), as the city's first non-white mayor.

In a province so often dominated by its conservatives, who supported opponents Barb Higgins and Ric McIver, Mr. Nenshi was a rallying point for progressive Alberta – young and old, white and non-white, eager to debunk their city’s conservative Cowtown image.

Of course, Nenshi only won a plurality, not a majority, and, taken together, his two conservative rivals outperformed him, receiving 58 percent of the vote, suggesting that Calgary is not nearly as progressive as his victory might suggest.

Still, this is a hugely significant win for the forces of progressivism, even if Nenshi's views are generally quite moderate (and certainly not radical), in a province that for the most part is staunchly conservative, suggesting that even Calgary, even this bastion of right-wing obstinacy is opening up and liberalizing somewhat, prepared, at least to a point, to join the rest of Canada in a brighter future.

Now it's just up to Nenshi to do the job well, and to expand on what he has built, so that he can effectively guide the city forward.

(As for me, I'm just waiting for American conservatives like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich to complain that this suspicious-looking Muslim was elected mayor way too close to Ground Zero. How dare Calgarians spit all over the memory of 9/11! Perhaps if he were to move further away, say, up to the Yukon. No, that's too close to Alaska. Maybe to Nunavut. No, it doesn't matter where, the problem is really that these good-for-nothing Canadians elected a Muslim in the first place. No wonder Sharron Angle thinks we're to blame! Calgary, thy name is Park51!)

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  • "Deeply conservative"? Riyadh is "deeply conservative." Montgomery is "deeply conservative." Calgary is as "conservative" as Seattle, actually less so.

    The majority didn't vote conservative at all- only McIver was running as a conservative explicitly. Higgins marched in the fucking Gay Pride parade and put expensive ads in the local gay press here (and yes there's a gay press in Calgary- because, see, it's not "deeply conservative").

    Sorry to have burst your bubble.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:34 PM  

  • What sort of People live in Calgary to rollover and vote a Muslim in to run the city? Come to think of it what is a Canadian? From here it would appair that Canadians have no identity, no pride and no ethics. Have you all forgoton 9/11? Have anyone in Calgary ever asked any Muslim how they ALL feel about "non believers" of their faith?

    The bottom line is the people of Calgary are gutless and obsessed with being politicly correct. Quite frankley the people of Calgary make me feel sick.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:48 PM  

  • Its unfair to imply all Canadian cities are like Calgary. Most of Canadians view Calgary as little more than a western joke. The entire city suffers from an identity crisis with half it's population stuck in a time warp thinking they are back in the wild west and the other half made up of ethnics. Little wonder they elected a Muslim to run the place.

    Anyway, who knows perhaps this guy will be good for Calgary and help the city build a better image for itself. Let's face it, at the moment mention Calgary and most people think of mud trails, cows, rodeo and crime.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:35 AM  

  • You are all racest pigs. We won this election because we the Muslim people of Calgary are united and wanted change. For to long we have been forced to remain silent and accept your western ways. This was a fair election played under your rules and still we won.

    If people can't accept the outcome of this election then they are free to leave anytime they want. As for the rest of us we intend to make Calgary a better place to live for everyone.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:58 PM  

  • If it wasn't for Barb Higgins the gay rights supporting big mouth from CFCN Mclver would have won by a landslide.

    Now that it's all over let's just hope we don't see Higgins crawling back to her old job as Calgarys bimbo of the airways.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:31 PM  

  • Calgary is a city beset with broken families, violent crime, and drugs. Your society divided by race, religion, and huge disparities in income. We long for a uniform life in which all may provide for the basic needs of their families.

    Strong Muslim leadership will give you all this way of live. Why do you fight it? Join the sea of purple or be cast out of the boat. The choice is yours.

    Long live the new Calgary.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:55 AM  

  • Obviously, Calgary is more liberal (relatively speaking) than most of the rest of the province, but the real story here is that Nenshi's religion didn't really have much, if anything, to do with him being elected. He seemed to run an effective campaign that focused not on who he was but on what he was going to do if elected. This isn't even so much about a progressive alternative to Alberta's conservatism, it's about the fact that in the new Calgary his "identity" didn't matter, at least to many, many voters.

    It's unfortunate to see bigotry rearing its ugly head here, but I suppose that's expected. So, too, is the anti-Canadianism, which is obviously a product of deep and abiding ignorance.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 3:09 AM  

  • Intifada !

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:20 PM  

  • The very first words spoken by this guy after wining the election were "today Calgary is a deferent city than it was yesterday". At best I would say this shows just a little arrogance on his part. Let just hope Nenshi is as good at getting results as he has so far been at shooting his mouth off.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:38 PM  

  • I don't feel this is bigotry, Ask ANY Muslim and they will tell you, for ALL Muslims, religion MUST come before nation, friends, family, love, etc. Everything is secondary. That's a fact. And that in a nutshell is why I don't want a Muslim in public office.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:32 PM  

  • I have to agree, Muslims routinely destroy property, threaten death and bodily harm to those who speak out against them, and they constantly fund terrorism throughout the world. In Syria they have burnt an embassy, in Europe Muslims have been responsible for murdering people who have written out against Islam or made movies, and other forms of art. These actions are also approved by Islamic teachers (Imams) and religious leaders, not just undertaken by warped loners claiming to represent Islam quite against the will of the majority or authority.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:11 AM  

  • To the last two anonymous commenters. Have you ever actually met a Muslim? Do you know anything about Islam? Or do you insist on remaining utterly ignorant -- and deeply bigoted against anyone and anything you don't understand?

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 1:18 AM  

  • Michale, I made the last post and and I have to say it's true I don't understand a lot of the ways of Islam. I don't understand why woman are considered less equal to men. I don't understand why it is right to call for the killing of the producers of an American cartoon show because they made fun of Islam. I don't understand why a Muslim girl was recently set on fire for wearing lipstick, or the mother of two young children was stoned to death after having an affair. I certainly don't understand the reason behind the events of 9/11.

    I am not saying that all Muslims are terrorists. But you would have to agree that a large number of terrorists turn out to be Muslims.

    By Anonymous Ian, at 2:50 AM  

  • What you call terrorist others would call freedom fighters. As for our women, Islam establishes the principle of equality between men and women in all aspects of life that they are equal in, because both of them are equally human. However we don't allow our women to dress like western whores. It a matter of values, something you americans do not have.

    You are little more than a bigoted pig. You should keep your views to yourself and not talk about what you don't understand. If you lived anywhere but the west you would not be allowed to say such things. Perhaps if you took the time to learn about what it is to be Muslim you would come to see that Islam is the true faith.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:15 PM  

  • Naheed Nenshi is the best thing to happen to this cowtown in a long time. So what if he is a Muslim if he can do the job let him do it. Remember what makes Canada such a unique place is the fact we don't have a single identity of our own we are a mosaic of all idenitys.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:22 PM  

  • WTF. Is this for real? Calgary must be one fucked up town.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:09 AM  

  • "we don't have a single identity of our own we are a mosaic of all identities" How very sad! At least French canadians have some backbone. As for the rest of Canada, if you ask me, it's just as gutless as Calgary.

    By Anonymous Sue, at 2:37 AM  

  • Anonymous (first post)----

    Um, no, I don't think Calgary is less conservative than Seattle. Calgary is in Texas North, one of the most conservative parts of Canada. Seattle is on the west coast, one of the most liberal parts of the United States. Some parts of the United States are more liberal than some parts of Canada.

    By Anonymous Brandon, at 7:55 PM  

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