The No ‘How’ Part 1: Ald. Ric McIver

By DJ Kelly May 10, 2010

In follow up to my last post where I asked 2010 municipal election candidates to tell us ‘how’ they will accomplish their objectives instead of just ‘what’ those objectives would be, I thought it was only fair that I take the first ‘kick at the can’ so to speak.

On Friday – almost ironically the same day I published my post – the Calgary Sun published an advertorial by Ald. Ric McIver. The theme of the piece was Ald. McIver’s vision for what he would do if elected mayor of Calgary. I can think of no better place to start off the ‘How?’ campaign, than with that piece.

Below is the article taken from Ric McIver’s campaign site. Text in bold are my comments.


Calgary Sun – May 5, 2010

By Ric McIver

As a candidate for mayor, I would like to suggest a new way forward.

I propose city government should boldly embrace our city’s growth, harnessing the vitality, commitment to progress and entrepreneurship of Calgarians in managing the challenges of a city that can and should become a model to other Canadian cities. [Here is Ald. McIver’s stated goal. An excellent start. The rest of the missive lists the objectives to accomplish this goal.]

I believe we need a mayor who believes in his fellow citizens, who listens to and consults with them [How?], who knows they are the actual builders of this community.

I believe we need a mayor who sees leadership as a team effort to be shared with all members of the community. [Can’t really ask ‘how’ on this one because it is listed as a quality of the mayor not something the mayor would actually do.]

And I believe we need a mayor who is prepared to re-examine the way city government does things, creating a free flow of information and ensuring citizen and employee participation play an integral role in defining and creating the future of our great city. [How would one go about doing this?]

Most of all, I believe Calgary needs a mayor who will do everything in his power to ensure working families share in the growth and prosperity of this city. [How? What is ‘everything in his power’. As a side note, I understand sharing in ‘prosperity’ but how does one share in ‘growth’? I digress…]

So I propose to you the vision of a flourishing, competitive, entrepreneurial city that welcomes working people, small and big business alike, while offering an affordable, high quality of life for all of its citizens [How?] — all of which can and will be realized within a framework of cost control, accountability and transparency. [More objectives, okay. But how will you be accountable? How will you be transparent?]

Calgary will be open for business. We will cut red tape and implement policies that will make Calgary the place to build businesses and homes. [How?]

We will look after the environment. [How? This line especially seems staggeringly in need of detail.]

When a company wants to move employees here, their families will know Calgary has a great arts, culture, sports and recreation scene. [I assume we are not talking about implanting chips in peoples heads when they land at the airport to beam messages directly to them. So if not that, then how?]

Where we fall short, we will work with the private sector to come up to standard. [How will you know when you’ve fallen short?]

We will work with our partners in the Alberta government to complete the ring road and, yes, that will include the southwest portion. [I don’t need if we need to ask ‘how’ here. We know how the City works with the Province.]

We must have and we will have proper access to the airport. [Before I can ask ‘how’ I have to ask: define ‘proper’?]

In the short term, we will review downtown parking policies that make for the most expensive and least convenient parking situation of almost any city in Canada. [This is a great tactic. Two thumbs up for listing one.]

In the longer term, we will work toward spreading out jobs so they are not just concentrated in three areas of the city. [I guess ‘work toward’ is vague enough it’s hard to realistically ask ‘how’.]

We need to look to a future where people aren’t going to the same, limited areas at the same time each day, causing congestion and frustration. [How?]

We will re-build trust in our relationship with the provincial government. [How?]

We will strive for a core transit strategy that will create a zone in the centre of Calgary where people will have a real choice about whether to leave their cars at home. [Another tactic. Excellent.]

We will bring together the development industry, sustainability groups, city council and the administration for thoughtful, realistic discussion on building the Calgary of the future. [Didn’t we just do this with PlanIt?]

We will work with all parties interested, including the private sector, to support the 10-year plan to eliminate homelessness. [Define ‘work with’ and ‘support’; then we can talk about How?]

A vibrant, competitive Calgary that flourishes, with quality services for all, with taxes that are fair must be our shared purpose. [How?]

Our promise that Calgary is the most welcoming place in all of Canada for ambitious, hardworking people should be more than just rhetoric. [Agreed. It should be more than just rhetoric. So: How? Because without that it’s just rhetoric.]

We should not only expect, we must demand a city government that listens to and recognizes the role of its citizens in decision-making. [How will the City encourage/do this?]

This is by no means an exhaustive list of goals but these are goals that must be at the forefront of any candidate’s platform, and I promise you, they are at the top of mine. [There’s more objectives still? How about a tactics listing? I hope there is one of those too.]

I will provide that needed leadership to see these goals through to reality. [How?]

That’s why I am asking for your support and for your vote to become Calgary’s next mayor.

So there you go. Now it’s your turn. And by your turn I mean 1) you, dear reader, should go and ask the same questions of other candidates, and 2) you, Ald. McIver, are welcome to provide some details once you have them ready. I’ll happily post them!

Note: The ‘No’ How post series should not be seen as an endorsement or condemnation of any candidate. They are meant only to encourage the peeling back of layers of rhetoric – purposeful or otherwise – in an attempt to have candidates publicly state how they plan to accomplish their goals should they be elected. No candidate is meant to be harmed in the writing of these posts.