May 18th, 2024

NDP hopeful Nenshi here today


By Lethbridge Herald on April 13, 2024.

Former Calgary Naheed Nenshi is seen in Calgary in March on the day he announced he would be seeking the leadership of the provincial NDP. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

Al Beeber
LETHBRIDGE HERALD

Naheed Nenshi is getting his first taste of partisan politics as he runs for the leadership of the Alberta NDP. 

And today, the former Calgary mayor’s campaign brings him to Lethbridge for a two-hour stop at Essie’s Ballroom in the Sandman Signature Lethbridge Lodge on Scenic Drive South.

He will be back in the city on April 25 for a leadership debate at the Yates Centre from 7 until 9 p.m.

Today’s event will be a meet-and-greet with Lethbridge residents and Nenshi is hoping to learn about issues people here have.

“I’m excited to get down there,” said Nenshi in a phone interview Thursday. He is well familiar with the city, saying his favourite thing about Lethbridge is the “giant, giant prairie sky. I still think Lethbridge has the best sunsets in the world.”

His campaign has gotten a strong response for today’s event and while NDP West candidate Shannon Phillips is supporting Kathleen Ganley’s bid for the leadership, she’s “been very helpful in helping us understand the lay of the land and the folks down there. So that’s been really, really kind and really nice,” said Nenshi, who calls the leadership campaign “sort of a family argument. We’ve all got to get together in the end.”

He said the current campaign is completely different than his mayoralty runs in Calgary because this one is about selling memberships.

Many Albertans don’t think about politics day and night and how the system of politics work so most don’t know they have to buy a membership to be able to vote for a candidate, he said.

Memberships cost $10 and have to be purchased before April 22 “so we’re in the home stretch now,” said Nenshi.

“That’s been an interesting challenge which I wasn’t expecting but I have to tell you that the support has been absolutely overwhelming, far far beyond what we had expected in many, many ways,” added Nenshi.

“And that’s pretty exciting because I don’t think that people are coming out because of my super handsome face,” he joked but rather “they’re saying that for the first time in a really long time they feel like politics is giving them permission to dream big, to actually think about what can be better in the province instead of just defending what we have now.

“And that’s really exciting for me, that people feel like they’ve got permission for some hope and some optimism because I think that’s been missing from politics at all levels for a long time,” said the former mayor, known for his affinity for the colour purple which he is using on his campaign in concert with NDP orange.

Nenshi says politics have been petty and small for too long and “people are really responding well to the idea that we can think bigger and think better about what is possible for the province. And I’ve been loving that, it’s been very energizing for me.”

While Nenshi isn’t shy about calling out government, noting the UCP needs to be called out constantly, at the same time that has to be wrapped into a sense of what’s possible.

Nenshi grew up in northeast Calgary and Red Deer county and after working around the world in his 20s chose to make a life in his home province “precisely because the potential here was so incredible.”

He says it seems like Albertans have forgotten about that potential.

In 11 years of serving as mayor in Calgary during tough times that included natural and economic disasters, Nenshi says civic governance managed to build a city that people were proud of.

“That is exactly the kind of thinking I’m bringing to Alberta and what’s been interesting for me is a lot of people say ‘you were the mayor of Calgary. Do people in the rest of Alberta even know you?’ Well it turns out they kind of do. So it’s been great to sort of reintroduce myself to people who already have a sense of who I am and what I do,” added Nenshi.

Nenshi has been known for the last 14 years wearing the colour purple, and a lot of people see it as a mix of Conservative blue and Liberal red and that it’s really calling people into what I call the muscular middle. Which is true, but it’s not about left, right, centre, it’s a little deeper than that,”  the purple being an invitation to not define themselves by their political identity but rather by their common humanity, he said.

He said today’s Alberta NDP built by Rachel Notley, Phillips and others represents the views of the median Albertans.

“To me adding a little bit of purple to the orange is really an invitation to all Albertans to take another look at what the NDP stands for and understand that’s probably what they stand for, too,” he added.

The job of the NDP now until the next election is to invite Albertans to understand what the party stands for, he added.

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Chmie

Great turnout standing room only. Definitely need a bigger room next time. Positivity and kindness for all Albertans such an uplifting message. Well done!

buckwheat

He’s a tax and spend arrogant liberal wrapping himself in orange cloth and you fell for it.

lumpy

Better than that far right MAGA wannabe dictating this province!
Go kick rocks.

Last edited 1 month ago by lumpy
buckwheat

lol. Prove my statement wrong.

Lethson

He’s definitely a love, hope and optimism kind of politician. It reminded me strongly of Jack Layton. I’m looking forward to the Lethbridge leadership debate at the Yates on April 25th. Sign up to vote for our next Premier by Monday April 22. Any resident 14 years old and up can have a hand in picking the Premier, who will have a large influence on their lives if they choose to live in Alberta. Given our two-party province, there’s a 50/50 chance whoever leads the NDP will be chosen to lead the provincial government in the next election.

buckwheat

Can’t see life long dippers falling for a liberal. If they do it is going after power while b s ing the population that they are for the little guy. If they do they live the Singh/Trudeau love fest.

Last edited 1 month ago by buckwheat


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