As expected, former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi has joined the contest to replace Rachel Notley as leader of the Alberta NDP, and his arrival yesterday with a slick video, a professional website, highly quotable opening lines, and some high-profile endorsements changes things dramatically. 

Outgoing NDP Leader Rachel Notley before the 2015 election (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Say what you will about Mr. Nenshi’s qualities as a person or a politician, he is a national figure beloved by mainstream media all the way from Calgary to downtown Toronto and back.

His arrival in the race was greeted with an intense media buzz that is not going to go away until the votes are all counted.

A couple of headlines tell the story as the media sees it, and is going to keep on seeing it.

“Naheed Nenshi is sure to shake up the Alberta NDP leadership race,” said The Toronto Star atop a column by commentator Gillian Steward, a former managing editor of the Calgary Herald

“Naheed Nenshi’s entry into the NDP race is a jolt for Alberta politics,” said the Toronto Globe and Mail over Calgary correspondent Kelly Cryderman’s column.

Toronto Star Alberta commentator Gillian Steward, a former Calgary Herald managing editor (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Ms. Cryderman summed up mainstream media’s hopes for the race perfectly, now that the former mayor has added a little celebrity sparkle to the mix: If Mr. Nenshi becomes the leader of the Opposition and challenges United Conservative Party Premier Danielle Smith in the election expected in 2027, she wrote, “it will make for one of the country’s most riveting clashes of political ideologies and personas, ever.”

Well, It’s probably fair to say this means the media was bored with a bunch of candidates they didn’t know or care about and this spices things up for them considerably. 

But, really, it’s true – if Mr. Nenshi wins, the next election will be a riveting clash.

And who can blame a reporter for liking a good yarn? 

Mr. Nenshi’s a performer, he’s got great lines, and he knows how to deliver them. 

A glimpse of Tommy Douglas in an NDP campaign video can never hurt, especially for a newcomer like Mr. Nenshi (Photo: Nanaimo Museum).

“This government is like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” he said yesterday as soon as he’d kicked in the door and started taking potshots at Ms. Smith. “They’re not only incompetent, they’re dangerous. And they’re immoral.”

So, what do you really think, Mr. Nenshi? 

He has more. 

“We need to do better,” he continued. “We need to be better prepared for the future. We need better public services. Because this government only knows how to do two things: They know how to pick fights, and they know how to waste money. 

“And as they’re busy picking fights and wasting money, life gets harder. It’s getting harder and harder to live here. Our utilities and insurance rates are through the roof, too many of us don’t have a family doc, our kids are in larger and larger classrooms, you can call an ambulance and not know if there’s gonna be an ambulance available. …

“We’re still one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the world and this is unacceptable. It is entirely because we have such a terrible government.” 

Former Calgary city councillor and NDP candidate Druh Farrell (Photo: Facebook/Druh Farrell).

Who can argue with that? Who doesn’t love it that he’s actually saying it?

Mr. Nenshi’s slick opening video hits the same notes – and even has a little magic moment when Tommy Douglas briefly appears on the screen. (This isn’t quite Bernie Sanders’ America, though. It won’t make you actually shed tears. But Tommy might make your eyes a little damp. Why didn’t anyone else think of that?)

Whether or not Mr. Nenshi is really the front runner can be debated, but it can be taken as given that from today on, the national media is going to treat him as if he is.

NDP members – old ones, anyway – may not have made up their minds about Mr. Nenshi. 

Many fear, legitimately, that he’s not really a New Democrat and won’t honour the traditions of the party – one of which is that you’re supposed to do your time in the trenches before you get promoted to leader. 

But as I said yesterday, Rachel Notley created a coalition that can form a government again, but only with the help of people like the Calgarians to whom Mr. Nenshi appeals.

It certainly did no harm when former Calgary city councillor and NDP candidate Druh Farrell tweeted yesterday that “Nenshi governed with unwavering honesty and integrity, stood up for human rights and the health and well-being of his constituents, and showed incredible leadership and compassion during times of crisis. Those are all NDP values.”

Calgary-Elbow NDP MLA Samir Kayande (Photo: Divinxx, Creative Commons).

Or that Calgary-Elbow MLA Samir Kayande, one of the star candidates Ms. Notley recruited to win Calgary, tweeted: “I am proud to offer @nenshi my enthusiastic support for the Alberta NDP leadership. He governed Calgary capably, lives by his progressive values, and effectively communicates a strong vision for Alberta.”

It probably didn’t hurt either when the usual suspects in the right-wing Twittersphere started screeching about what a rotten person the former mayor is, promising exposés in their dreary house organs, and huffing that he’d be as easy as pie to beat.

The conventional wisdom in NDP circles is that Mr. Nenshi is going to have to sell a heck of a lot of memberships to overcome opposition from long-time NDP members uncomfortable with the idea of a leader with no history in a party in which until recently – until yesterday, that is – history was everything for would-be leaders. 

Well, the conventional wisdom is usually right, but I wouldn’t put it past Mr. Nenshi to find a way around it this time.

Join the Conversation


  1. Yikes! So many questions about this.

    If Nenshi does not win, will he stay and work with the newly elected NDP Leader keep up the good fight to defeat Danielle Smith and form government?? Or will he just fade away?

    I like Nenshi’s values, they do line up with Orange Crush, but the fact is that he has no NDP roots and has been non-partisan purple in his past political experiences. Why does he want to be the Leader of ANDP, besides eating Danielle’s lunch?

    And if Nenshi wins, who will give up their seat so he can be the Leader of the Official Opposition?

    1. It’s realistic to assume that because Calgary is made up of both NDP voters and ‘conservative’ voters, he’d adopt the persona of a ‘purple’ leader. That way he would have made the effort to offend no one and just get on with the business of governing Calgary.

  2. So, will the ABNDP party brass and “old guard” do a Kenney, and let Nenshi win? And hold their noses like the PCs did?

    Or will it all spawn a TBANDP movement to take over the party board and try a Danielle maneuver? With a left-wing pursuit of party ideological purity?

    Who knows?

  3. For someone who had spent so many years talking about not being so partisan, Nenshi seems to have quickly embraced partisan politics. I suspect his relish in attacking the UCP today is in part payback for all the years conservatives tried to bring him down while he was mayor of Calgary. They may be regretting this a bit now and wishing they had somehow left sleeping dogs lie at times.

    He will indeed make the race more exciting as everyone, in the national media at least, already knows his name. However, while he has star power in those circles, the fundamental problem for the Alberta NDP remains. Lest we forget, he was also not so popular in those parts south of the Glenmore Trail in Calgary that the NDP needed to, but failed to, win in the last election.

    I also doubt being a big city mayor will help him win more seats in rural Alberta, which the UCP despite its weaknesses kept a lock on in the last election. Nenshi has a charm, but it may not be folksy enough for those voters who are generally wary of too urban types.

    Of course, Nenshi is a talented and experienced politician, who launched his campaign with a bit of grace and humility. So he is off to a good start to try win over the first tough crowd he will need to convince – NDPers and NDP supporters, in his quest to win over Alberta.

    In some ways, the current NDP is to borrow a phrase often used for different party, no longer your grandfathather’s party. It is already a coalition of progressive voters that came close to winning again in the last election. So if Smith and crew are as extreme and incompetent as portrayed, perhaps they will end up defeating themselves. However, one problem I have noticed when politics becomes too partisan and divided is people tend to stick with their team even when they shouldn’t. Sometimes it takes a newer face without as much of a track record or baggage, someone whom people haven’t already formed opinions about, to break through all that.

    In any event, a more exciting race will be good: for the media, Albertans and probably for the NDP as well.

    1. I think you nailed it. Nenshi is unlikely to deliver significantly more Calgary seats than did Notley in 2023. He may actually do worse given that many Calgarians are fed up with his bombast, tax increases and inability to execute. He almost lost in 2017 against a low quality candidate who entered the race unprepared at the last minute. Nenshi likely would have lost if Bill Smith hadn’t been so close to the Flames organization. As someone who grew up and lived for many years “South of Glenmore”, those seats are likely inaccessible to the NDP for the foreseeable future due to demographics (i.e. not much income diversity, lots of self employed people, lots of upwardly mobile families, fewer people employed in public sector as no large institutional land uses in that part of the city other than South Health Campus). Nenshi also likely holds minimal appeal in rural AB. So net and net, a Nenshi Democratic Party would likely face the same ceiling in 2027.

      By playing to the Laurentian audience, Nenshi runs the risk of alienating Albertans and actually do worse than Notley. I have no idea if his leadership would drive any Edmonton seats to the UCP.

      Full disclosure in that as a naturally born libertarian, I would never consider the NDP or any progressively oriented political party. That being said, AB needs a strong opposition and Notley did that better than anyone else in the Province’s history. At this point, Ganley looks to be the leader who might better Notley’s results from 2023.

      1. OMG. Libertarian? Laurentian audience? If you’d just slid in a “woke”, you would have won an autographed set of the unpublished volumes by Ayn Rand “How to be selfish and blame the po’ folk”. It’s a page turner!

      2. You almost had a cogent argument until you dropped “playing to the laurentian audience” in there. The idea that progressive, nay even left ideals exist only to the east of Manitoba is not only a ridiculous statement that shows the small nature of one’s social circle but it completely erases the struggle of labour on the prairies, which was long, bloody, and continues to this day.

        Just a warning the idea that everyone thinks basically the same things you do is a pretty big red flag of hubris imo. While I agree with you that Calgary has very little chance of flipping orange rural albertans are WORKING CLASS people and the UCP is the party of elite enablement. Rural alberta is the NDPs to LOSE imo, they pick up a larger vote share in every election, even in Ponoka. Rachel is from the peace country, not only that, she’s from the MORE rural part of the Peace.

        I’m not trying to be a dick here but the idea that progressive or even radical ideals only come from the city is ahistorical and pretty ridiculous. There is no why it must be true in alberta until the end of time.

        political movements much like people do not fall out of a coconut tree, they arise because of material and historical realities. Like I don’t know, demographic changes, rampant inequality, thousands of unnecessary deaths from poisoned drugs, unstable employment, the government trying to steal your pension etc etc etc

  4. I’ve been an Alberta NDP member for over 25 years but I lost my party years ago. What difference does it make to me whether Nenshi or some other ‘truer’ NDP candidate wins the leadership. Whatever differences may seem to exist between the candidates should all be taken with a grain of salt as it’s impossible to know what they’d actually be like in power. Likely, they’d all be similar to Notley, running as highly competent administrators, and totally uninspiring centrists, unable and unwilling to build anything that lasts longer than 4 years.

    Nenshi just seems (so far anyway) to just have more game to trick people into thinking that he’s going to “shake things up” and “bring real change” or whatever marketing gimmicks will work to get enough people to vote for him.

    This leadership campaign has me thinking I might vote for Nenshi rather than other candidates, for much the same reason people in the rustbelt voted for Trump in 2016, i.e. to blow it all up.

    In the end, I’ll likely vote for whoever APPEARS most sensible and progressive. But it’s likely all for naught. Voting in our democracy without strong social movements pushing candidates/parties is one of the defining paradoxes of our time: it doesn’t really matter but it actually really does. As Astra Taylor correctly puts it, “Democracy may not exist, but we’ll miss it when it’s gone.”

  5. I remember when Nenshi first became mayor. Nobody gave him a chance of winning. He was smart and innovative. When he won he became one of the best mayors Calgary has ever had. He can beat Danielle and win the next election.

    1. Agreed 100%. Nenshi is the only candidate who can topple the incompetent and corrupt UCP. Let’s see if the NDP really do want to win and form the next government in Alberta. If they are serious, they will do what needs to be done. Old-guard NDP be damned.

    2. Nenshi won in 2010 because:
      -Calgary was drunk on a long lived oil boom and somewhat open to Nenshi’s delusions of urban grandeur
      -he had Stephen Carter as a campaign manager
      -Ric McIver and Sue Higgins were weak opponents
      -he tapped into Calgarian’s greatest inferiority complex: being viewed as rednecks. What better way to prove that the city had arrived than voting for a geeky, urbanist university professor?

      Given rock bottom approval ratings for City Council and an ongoing attempt to recall Gondyk, Calgarians don’t seem all that open to social democracy at this point in time. Lots could change by 2027

  6. I am totally opposed to the NDP becoming the vehicle for a political outsider, whatever may be his merits as ex-mayor of Calgary. I think it will be the end of the party.

  7. An impressive opening salvo. Since Bob Rae’s long ago premiership we have had competent NDP leaders but no one with the star status of a Naheed Nenshi. I know nothing about the inner workings of the Alberta NDP but his track record and feistiness may provide you with leader who can send the UCP packing.

  8. This will no doubt be an interesting leadership race. It is very refreshing to hear someone say what needed to be said, that is the UCP is doing a terrible job of running the province. Their primary focus is fighting with Ottawa, rather than using the money they get to help Albertans. I believe there are quite a few in the race that have the experience and the mindset of Albertans in mind, rather than the fluff coming from the UCP.

  9. Despite my misgivings about how effectively Naheed Nenshi can lead the Alberta NDP, the fact that former City councillors with the ideological range of Druh Farrell and Jeromy Farkas speak highly of Naheed Nenshi’s leadership of Alberta’s largest city does count for something.

  10. While Nenshi brings some much needed star power to the contest, he sounds even more fossil-fuelled than Alberta’s Pipeline Queen. Unlike Notley, he favors a divorce from the federal NDP. Limiting his appeal to longtime federal NDP supporters in Alberta.

    Like it or not, insiders like Notley and outsiders like Nenshi will continue pulling the AB NDP to the right. Nenshi will sever ties with the federal party altogether. Maybe a name change?

    “Nenshi said he believes the entire constitution of the NDP needs a modernization, including its relationship with the federal NDP, adding his analysis was that the costs vastly outweighed the benefits of being affiliated with the party.
    “But such decisions would be left up to the members of the party, he added.”
    “Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi announces bid for Alberta NDP leadership” (CBC, Mar 11, 2024)

    The upshot? Albertans on the left — not just environmentalists — are going to lose their party to centrists. NDP supporters will wake up one day to find that Nenshi has stolen their party out from under their feet.
    As the NDP morphs into PC-lite, progressives will be left without political representation. The left’s allegiance to AB NDP colors will be based more on sentiment, less on policy.

    What happens when you mix purple with orange? You get brown.
    Your party turns to sh*t.

    1. News flash for you, Hearst: there is no left wing party in Alberta and hasn’t been for quite some time. The choice is simple though, one that you can’t seem to comprehend, and that is a vote not cast for the NDP is a vote for the UCP. Is that your preference? If not then you need to stop with the whole Notley-is-the-devil routine and wise up to reality that the alternative (the Smith/TBA cabal) is infinitely goddamned worse.

      1. The NDP is not a realistic alternative to a united conservative party. The NDP have no hope of winning against a united conservative party no matter how far they slide to the right. Not under Notley, Nenshi, or anybody else.

        The only thing worse than a Smith/TBA cabal is a Smith/TBA cabal in government PLUS a NDP in perpetual opposition abandoning its principles in vain pursuit of power.
        Time to get real. There will be no Premier Ganley. No Premier Hoffman. No Premier Pancholi.
        Nenshi has no pull in rural Alberta. If the polls get too close, the UCP can trade Smith for a blue fencepost and still win.

        “no left wing party in Alberta and hasn’t been for quite some time”
        Notley shifted the party to the right.
        The pre-2015 AB NDP was a force for good in opposition. The only voice of sanity on climate and energy. Notley eliminated that option.
        Now we have zero oil industry critics in the AB Legislature. Banished to opposition benches, the NDP caucus can say nothing about oilsands expansion, oil & gas pollution, and climate inaction — because they shilled for Big Oil in office.
        We no longer have a mainstream party that champions science.
        We no longer have a progressive party in the NDP.
        The AB NDP took away our last hope for real action on climate in AB.

        Notley led a sizable contingent of progressives to support Big Oil’s priorities: low royalties, new pipelines, and a “climate plan” that sabotages Canada’s climate efforts. None of these notions carried any sway among progressives before 2015.
        Notley provisionally supported Kenney’s “investment” in Keystone XL. As Premier, Notley threw billions of dollars at the fossil fuel industry, left royalties untouched, refused to investigate health concerns in the oilsands region, was silent on the industry’s gross under-reporting of emissions, and failed to fix Alberta’s Energy Regulator. Signing on to Krause’s conspiracy theories was just the cherry on the sundae.
        Kowtowing to Big Oil, adopting neoliberal energy policies, flouting science, defying the IPCC, misleading Canadians about our energy future… Is this the leadership Alberta needs in the 21st century?

        Some praise Notley’s “pragmatism”. Our house is on fire. “Pragmatic” is putting the fire out.
        Scientific reality is non-negotiable. Either you accept the science and respond accordingly, or you don’t.
        Political parties who ignore scientific reality do not deserve the votes of responsible citizens.
        Rapid man-made global warming is a disaster.
        So are governments that fail to address it.

        Notley’s oil-soaked “pragmatism” foundered on delusion and denial. Notley’s policies excluded the only rational sane responses to our global emergency — reduce emissions and stop expanding fossil fuel infrastructure.
        Notley’s reign was a step backwards for Alberta’s progressive movement. Climate change disproportionately affects women, children, and indigenous communities. The global poor are the most vulnerable. Does not matter what your policies are on farm labor, GSAs, childcare, etc. If you’re not progressive on climate, you’re not progressive.

        Jim Storrie of Progress Alberta (previous blog post) and jerrymacgp (below) note some of Notley’s other failures.

  11. On another note, more sad media news from the east coast. Don’t know if publications will continue but that’s a lot of jobs and community roots.

    1. Lefty: The jobs will continue until the lawyers and accountants find a buyer for the remnants. At the risk of sounding harsh, though, at this point people pondering media careers should really reconsider. While one feels some sympathy with anyone who has lost a job, at this point, the trajectory of mass media, and in particular print media, should be obvious to all. Virtually the only people in newspapers are there to harvest the subsidies offered by naive politicians and ship the cash to executive bonuses and trust funds in the States. Caveat emptor. DJC

      1. Or the Sobey family will step in and convert them all to grocery flyers and voilà as they say!

  12. If Alberta’s tiny conclave of climate-crazed cardinals was unimpressed by former Premier Rachel Notley’s efforts to address our climate emergency, they are going to be even less enthused by the NDP candidates vying to be her successor.

    The current raft of leadership candidates propose to continue the NDP’s parade down the petroleum path. All oppose the federal carbon “tax”, for example. Not one boasts any climate credentials. Not one supported the 2016 Leap Manifesto.

    The otherwise admirable Nenshi parrots CAPP’s talking points without an ounce of scepticism. For someone who seems well versed on all other subjects under the sun, Nenshi’s ignorance on climate and energy issues is appalling. The King of Purple not only embraces the LNG fantasy, but also supports new oilsands export pipelines (TMX). He clearly has not done his homework.

    “Naheed Nenshi: If you’re hyper-partisan, you may not want to read this column” (CTV News, May 26, 2023)
    “Like almost all Albertans, I also believe that climate change is a critical problem, and that many solutions lie in the Canadian energy sector. I am very proud of our resource industry, and I believe that access to clean, safe, and affordable energy is one of the most powerful poverty-fighting tools we have. Canada can make huge contributions to reducing global emissions by displacing coal with liquified natural gas around the world and we need to be much better at building export infrastructure including pipelines.
    “I must give Notley credit for one big thing, though. Conservative governments over a half century have failed to build even one mile of new oil pipeline to tidewater. The Trans Mountain Expansion would not have happened if not for Notley’s ferocious advocacy over a skeptical Trudeau and the ridiculous antics of BC NDP Premier John Horgan, who was intent on scaring away investment, even if he had no power to stop the pipeline. Do I wish TMX had been built with private capital instead of by the federal government? Absolutely. But after Horgan successfully ran off the private owner, this was the only path forward and it would not have happened without Notley.”

    This moment in history is not calling for more oil-soaked petro-progressive politicians.

    1. It’s possible that even we ‘climate crazed’ fanatics, are going to be forced to hold our noses to get rid of the lunatic TBA/UCP faction that is attempting to divest Alberta of Canada. I doubt that Alberta will actually have true government support of environmental policies until the world makes it 100% clear that there’s no room for the ‘gassy-tar-lovers’ anymore. That may come sooner than any potential TBA/UCP/NDP coalition likes to admit, considering that our biggest (only?) market is now bringing more oil to market than it ever has and considering that their new registrations of ICE vehicles peaked in 2017.

  13. Having read comments from NDP party members in past posts on this site, it is with some trepidation that I join this esteemed and ancient institution as a Nenshi supporter. My apprehension is caused by the feeling that I may not find the hairshirt required for martyrdom to the progressive cause nor the magic elixir that will turn me and the party into a legend in my own mind. I am also not a navel gazer who endlessly prides myself on my principles—I prefer to put my principles into action by winning elections. My fears for the future lie not with the future of the party but for the future of this province and democratic institutions. Until Nenshi arrived on the scene, I was in despair about the selection of worthy leadership candidates. They all appear to be nice people with no record of abusing animals. Some even have limited experience in government, while others have extensive experience in the public arena. But I cannot picture them as party or provincial leaders. So despite David C’s hints that Nenshi is not a team player, I will throw the torch to him. After all, was there ever a shrinking violet who sought office!

    1. I voted for Nader in the year 2000, and that ended my experiment in purity politics. I am interested in seeing the NDP turf this cabal of grifters and win government. Nenshi has my support.

  14. A candidate who boasts that he can “get under the skin” of the current Premier is not really what we need. And as the current iteration of the NDP goes stomping after the neo-liberal ‘light’, it would seem that accepting of so-called “progressives” of any kind has become the bell-weather of ‘success’ – winning power over and above values and commitments.

  15. I laughed at your title, very clever. Then I thought, maybe Nenshi will steal the show like Ryan Gosling did at the Oscars.

    1. Thank you, Valerie. Few got it, I think. And when I checked, the line wasn’t exactly as I recalled it. Still, close enough for government work! DJC

      1. My church girls’ choir was singing those songs even before the movie came out in 1977 and my sister had the songbook. I remember most of the words.

  16. Media is very important. During the last campaign I heard people saying the NDP had no policies. FALSE, they had great policies but media didn’t cover them , it was more interesting to cover the crazy. Sound familiar. I watched the Nenshi video and he got the assignment. Perhaps other candidates can learn from this.

  17. The beauty of a ranked-choice ballot is just that: We have months to evaluate the candidates and decide how much weight to give ideology, personality, party loyalty, local representation, etc., and which candidates comes closest. I already have an idea who my top three are likely to be, but not in what order. If Nenshi makes it into enough members’ top choices, he’s got it nailed, but we’ve got a lot of time to pick not only our favourites, but our possibles and definitely-nots. As we’ve seen before, ranked-choice can produce surprises.

    1. Very good point, Robert. I should have mentioned this. But I do struggle to keep these things under 1,000 words. And I agree with your analysis. I think a lot of stalwart long term New Democrats will place Mr. Nenshi in the No. 2 spot, and from that can come a victory. DJC

  18. My goodness. Is this the figure skating world, where for years judges awarded medals to those who had been in the trenches the longest, regardless of how they performed on the day of the competition?

    The Alberta NDP needs to consider if it wants to evolve and open its doors to newcomers, like the people of Alberta who voted it to power in 2015 and gave it the largest number of opposition seats in Alberta history in 2023. These people may have been “tepid” party supporters in the past, but now they’re buying NDP memberships. Just like Naheed Nenshi.

      1. I should have said *allegedly*, although in the *once* corrupt world of figure skating judging, this probably isn’t necessary. It’s something TV commentators often alluded to, after the winner of a competition had a performance that bombed, with several missed components and falls. Another performer might have been flawless, with all components achieved and an equal level of difficulty. The best performer of the night became the loser. Commentators, themselves past performers in this system, would say, “Oh, but the judges saw them perform those elements perfectly in practice, and they’ve paid their dues over the years.” Only in figure skating would the judges award medals based on practice sessions and familiarity, rather than delivering results when it counts. Why judges were allowed to attend practices, I’ll never know.

        In the world of elections, the only thing that matters is performance at the polls. It doesn’t matter how long a person has been a member of a party. The work they do leading up to an election matters, in terms of convincing voters to show up and vote during the election period, but it ultimately doesn’t matter at all if they lose. That’s my *tepid* analogy.

  19. Looks like there is the possibility of facts with emphasis entering the race. The last NDP effort seemed unwilling to challenge even the most odious affirmations of cherokee dan, willing apparently to have voters realize on their own the fallacies without even a hint of the truth provided for voters to compare dani garbage to.
    To be NDP all you need is a heart that cares for more than yourself and your voting base.
    Nenshi fits the bill .
    The only reason that NDP governments fail is they continually advocate for a better deal for the people. The appearance of economic failure is corporate withdrawal and manipulation to reinstall those willing to trade the people for continued business support and profit.

    1. Wonderful thought and brilliant motto supposing the NDP actually had anyone with PR acumen: “To be NDP all you need is a heart that cares for more than yourself.” Thank you, Lungta.

  20. I believe that if Naheed Nenshi were to debate Danielle Smith, she would lose very easily. Within 5 minutes, she’d slip up. The media didn’t take Danielle Smith to task for the very major failures of the UCP, and that’s how the UCP won a second term. The media won’t be able to stop Naheed Nenshi. It takes someone of a higher profile, like Naheed Nenshi to show how much damage these phony Conservatives and Reformers are doing to us. Rachel Notley led very similar to the way Peter Lougheed did, and he had a cabinet minister who said that. If Rachel Notley were still in power, we’d have the oil royalty rates, and corporate tax rates the way Peter Lougheed had them, and we wouldn’t see very pricey shenanigans that happened for all these years, especially from Ralph Klein, on down, from the other bad Alberta PC premiers, or with the UCP. Important things like public healthcare, public education, social services, and infrastructure, would be well looked after.

    1. With respect, Anonymous, I believe underestimating Ms. Smith is a big mistake, one that the NDP made last year. She is a clever liar, and absolutely shameless. She will look you in the eye and make stuff up and sound very convincing. It’s not easy to counter that kind of rhetoric. Nenshi may be the man to do it, but he may not, too. DJC

      1. David Climenhaga: I do know that Danielle Smith is good at lying. She excells at it, and tries to sound convincing. There is only so much of that that people will take. It just has to catch up to her. Danielle Smith used to be the leader of the Wildrose, and her lies were one of the reasons why she was dumped from that party. She hasn’t changed, or learned.

        1. Unfortunately her lying is gold to supporters outside Calgary or Edmonton. Recently spent weekend watching grandson’s hockey in Viking and was a little shocked at how far down the rabbit hole some rural folks are. About vaccines, energy, politics and Ottawa and were shocked when I suggested Harper actually had scandals!

      2. I don’t think Naheed Nenshi underestimates her at all. He has known her since their U. of C. student days. He has an insider perspective into what she is, what she does and what she might do in the future. This includes knowing her weaknesses: “incompetent, immoral, dangerous”. Her actions have brought him out of his political hiatus.

    1. It’s a dirty job, Peter, but somebody has to do it, and Jason’s not around any more. DJC

  21. We know that with Smith and the TBA/UCP in Government it is a virtual certainty our pensions will go up and down yearly with the price of oil, our health care will be privatized along with our schools and the response to the next pandemic will be political, not scientific. So by all means, let’s pick an NDP leader by virtue of whose turn it is and not by someone who will give us the best chance of winning the next election, whoever that may be.

    We will know if Smith considers Nenshi a threat if she designates a stalking horse.

  22. Love the picture of Tommy Douglas! Thank you.
    Knew who he was since I was a kid but had never seen him in “real life”. While visiting friends on Mayne Island back in the early 70s. he came to the Island to give a speech. Went to see and was shocked. He was not a big man in size, but he certainly could captivate a crowd. There was just something about him. The NDP hasn’t had a leader like him since. Dave Barrett certainly had the personality and brains, but he is about the only one. which brings me to Nenshi. Your picture of him, isn’t his best. However, he never got by on his looks any how. What he got by on was his organization. Friends in Calgary had informed me, his first campaign was something else. They thought he was a wonderful mayor. Now will that translate to being able to be the leader of the NDP? Don’t know. if the other candidates line up against him, he would have a difficult time being elected. On the other hand, no one thought Bob Skelly would be elected NDP leader in B.C. back in the day and it sure was interesting to see how that played out in real time.
    Might be time to visit Calgary once again just to watch the show.
    As to signing up new members, if his team works hard at it, they can do it. The question is, is his team big enough.

    1. e.a.f.: My dad took me to hear Tommy speak at the Memorial Arena in Victoria in 1962. As you say, he sure could captivate a crowd. Of course, I was 10, so I can’t recall a word of what he said in his speech, but he had the folks there eating out of his hand. Later, as he was leaving, my dad took me down to the door whence Tommy was leaving, shook Tommy’s hand, and introduced me. Tommy shook my hand seriously, as if I were an adult, and said, “Good luck, son!” Those words I do remember clearly. Sure wish we’d all had cellphone cameras back then! DJC

  23. I think rational folk are missing the potential of a Nenshi candidacy. He is the NDP’s very own Kamikaze Kandidate™. Nenshi is the ideal candidate to directly criticize the UCP. He is knowledgeable about issues, has a relationship with the premier, and has certain traits the TBA and less progressive types will attack (ethnicity, religion, lifestyle, cough, cough). His candidacy will absorb all the invective, anger, and attention from the UCP media acolytes. In this way, the remaining NDP leadership candidates can have adult discussions about policy and the future, without the need to daily rebut mistruths and accusations lobbed their way.

    At the last minute, Nenshi can gracefully bow out of the race (maybe by garnering a senate appointment from PM Trudeau, not necessarily for AB, maybe for SK to rankle PP), and one of Ganley/Hoffman/Pancholi (sorry McGowan and Calahoo Stonehouse, not this time anyway) can then lead the party with a relatively clean slate. Any future investigation will take at least seven years and not result in any charges.

    Hey, this won’t be the craziest thing most of us will read today………………….

  24. I guess part of the problem with Nenshi’s entry into the ABNDP leadership race is that he will be dubbed a carpetbagger by those candidates who have fought long and hard over the years for Albertans. Being a mayor, and a very popular one, of a very large city is one thing; how will this background translate into the provincial domain?

    The best thing that can be said about Nenshi is that he built bridges and pulled coalitions together — coalitions that held together through his entire tenure as mayor. Bridging Alberta’s yawning urban and rural divide will be no small feat. If anything, it will be a task of Herculean proportions. Nenshi wasn’t a bad mayor, that much can be seen in the apparent silence from those who railed endless against Rachel Notley for being too cozy with PMJT. If anything, Notley was bitterly opposed to much of what PMJT had in mind. In a recent interview, Queen Danielle even had to admit that she does find enough common ground with Trudeau and Ottawa that she can get things done. Maybe partisanship in Canada hasn’t gone as far over the edge as it has in the US.

    Of course, there will always be rabblerousers, like David Parker and TBA, who are all about confrontation, tribalism, and scorching the earth for the sake of their own tender egos.

  25. I have supported the NDP for all of my voting years, but I think it is time for a change at the top. Although the candidates with the deep roots in the party are all decent, well-meaning, capable people, i don’t think they will shake things up in either the party or Alberta. Ideological purity is all very well on paper, but without the power to actually do anything —that is, form government —that purity is useless. Never has a change of government in Alberta been more crucial. Another term with the dastardly Danielle will mean the end of our public institutions. I think it is time for the NDP to be more pragmatic, and I think Nenshi will be both progressive and pragmatic. I think he can win over a broader swath of Albertans. He has the intelligence, the knowledge, the communication skills, and the presence to lead and, by contrast, to remind people what a puny little person Smith really is.

    1. The Alberta NDP — at least in its current iteration, which began when it first won government in 2015 — is extremely pragmatic. It has avoided openly campaigning on a number of genuinely left-wing policies, and eschewed those very same policies when in government.

      – public auto insurance, as exists in Manitoba, Saskatchewan & BC
      – returning registry services to the public sector
      – ending the failed 30+ year Klein-era experiment of privatized & deregulated power and natural gas utilities

      … just to name a few.

      How much more “pragmatic” do we want the NDP to be?

  26. The Ndp will never win unless they move to the centre and win disgruntled Tories hearts and minds. As a union member in various organizations over the past 45 yrs I too realize that just staking a position on the left is a losing proposition in Alberta. I definitely will be voting for the Mayor in the leadership race.
    Seeing the reaction of many on the right they too fear what Nenshi will bring to the table.

    1. Hammer: The experience of the last half century would tend to support your argument. That said, I’ve been arguing for a while that in many regards, the NDP under Rachel Notley became the New Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta. As a result, I think a couple of the candidates to lead the party coming from within the party ranks are noticeably to the right of Mr. Nenshi. DJC

  27. Awaiting moderation. Well, let me say this and hope it gets through. A lot of these people won’t like this.

    Yes, Nenshi is a personable person. I have even him in person though I have not lived in Calgary for thirty years. It would be good to have someone in office who is not a crook or a whacko, and even has a little brains and charisma.

    Like with Notley or any other NDP leader or any progressive politician at all, he will not be able to do anything. The decline of society and economy and government will continue in Alberta and in Canada. No government working within the rules will be able to change that.

    What it will take to reverse decline is way too big a topic for a comment box, but it will not involve getting elected. The sad thing is that Nenshi, an admirable person, could only be the scapegoat for the decline he can do nothing to prevent.

    1. Tim: As I’ve said before, this blog is a hobby, not my day job. In addition, I moderate all comments. There are days when I can’t get to the comments, which I sincerely appreciate, as quickly as I would like. DJC

      1. Well, some bloggers are a bit censorial about their comment boxes. I like to know I got through. I do my own blog. I think very few people are really able to do it for a living.

        I follow a number of bloggers. It is hard to keep track of the idiosyncrasies of each.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.