Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Calgary's Angry Old Guy Crowd Speaks Out

Calgary's conservative power brokers are lining up to put their money behind conservative radio show host Dave Rutherford.

I will note that after the last civic election, the Sun became the outlet for the right wing's rage that their man, Ric McIver, didn't get elected to the mayor's chair.  They've been fairly hostile towards Naheed Nenshi ever since.

Of course, we now see Rutherford starting to unveil his thinking in terms of how to attack Nenshi:

Tax hikes of 30% over three years. This year a 13.1% jump in taxes on the city side of the property tax bill if the city takes your $126 provincial tax break.
It is the biggest increase in three decades.
“Do we need a tighter rein on finances? Absolutely we do. Maybe a fiscally conservative candidate could do that and get Calgarians interested in what they’re seeing on their tax bill,” says Rutherford.
Oh yes.  The standard bitching about taxes.  We won't bother to mention that the reason for the bulk of the tax increases was the mess that conservative predecessor Bronconnier left as he handed the developers everything they wanted on a silver platter - and left Calgary with an enormous deficit in terms of infrastructure and sustainability.  Calgary cannot be allowed to sprawl across the prairie indefinitely.

Where the problem lies for Rutherford is twofold.  First, playing the "cranky old man" card doesn't exactly engage voters.  Bitching and moaning about taxes is a popular activity among Calgarians, but most recognize that we have an enormous amount of infrastructure to support - has anybody else noticed the number of severe potholes in our existing roads lately?

Second, much of Nenshi's vote came from younger voters who see things through very different lenses than Rutherford and his crowd.  Nenshi remains highly popular among those voters for good reason - he engages with them directly and in terms that they understand.  

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