News / Calgary

Seven mayoral candidates square off in first general debate

Event at Kerby Centre saw about one hundred spectators in attendance

Seven mayoral candidates took part in a debate on Saturday afternoon at the Kerby Centre. Paul Hughes was billed as being a participant but did not attend.

Brodie Thomas / Metro

Seven mayoral candidates took part in a debate on Saturday afternoon at the Kerby Centre. Paul Hughes was billed as being a participant but did not attend.

Slowly but surely, the Calgary municipal election is starting to heat up.

Seven mayoral candidates squared off in a wide-ranging debate Saturday afternoon at the Kerby Centre.

Although advertised as a debate, the event felt more like a forum, with candidates answering questions in one minute segments.

Members of the audience submitted questions on paper beforehand, and a panel selected from these to put the best to the candidates.

The questioners didn't hold back, with moderator Brian Lee pushing for yes or no answers on issues such as hosting the Olympics and city-wide secondary suites.

Candidates were also able to introduce themselves and make the case for earning the vote of those in the audience.

There were few chances for candidates to debate one-on-one, but some candidates did take aim at incumbent Mayor Naheed Nenshi, and other councillors.

In his closing remarks, David Tremblay brought up the time Mayor Naheed Nenshi was caught on a hidden camera talking about the process to bring Uber into the city.

“Just because he took a selfie with you once, you need to take a look at what’s happening in the city,” said Tremblay.

Speaking after the debate, Nenshi noted errors and misinformation that had come out in the discussion.

“We heard so many things that were wrong, from the cost of the Olympics, to the average increase in taxes over the years,” said Nenshi. “There weren’t all that many facts thrown out, but many, many things thrown out were incorrect.”

Coun. Andre Chabot, the only other mayoral candidate with council experience, said the inexperience of the other candidates showed in their answers – especially in saying they were going to achieve certain benchmarks.

“It's not one person who makes a decision. It’s council as a whole – a majority of council," Chabot said. 

"If you’re not prepared to debate an issue with authority and knowledge, your comments are going to get washed away."

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