Nenshi deserves kudos for standing firm on arena

Let's give credit where credit is due -- Naheed Nenshi saved Calgary residents from one heck of a bad deal.

Not many mayors have the guts to resist when developers come to council looking for arena handouts.

It’s the same song and dance every time – ‘your city needs this to be taken seriously’ – ‘think of the induced economic activity’ – and, invariably, ‘if you don’t give us the money, we’ll take your team somewhere else!’

We saw it play out just a few years ago in Edmonton, where residents are now on the hook paying for Rogers Place for years to come, even though all evidence points to these projects being nothing but boondoggles.

Which makes it all the more remarkable that when the owners of the Calgary Flames came to Calgary city council, demanding hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for a new arena there, the mayor stood his ground.

Your city’s funds aren’t meant to buy hockey arenas for billionaires. Standing firm was the right thing to do and Naheed Nenshi deserves our support.

There’s a concerted effort to run Nenshi out of city council. His opponent for mayor is a past PC president with deep political and financial backing. The conservative political establishment and a handful of wealthy donors have thrown their support behind Smith, several aligned council candidates, and a web of murky organizations and PACs like the recently-emerged ‘Save Calgary.’

Which is all the more reason to reach out and tell Nenshi that you agree Calgary’s municipal funds aren’t there to buy toys for billionaires – that you support his decision to stand firm on funding an arena – and that you don’t want him to back down.

We’ve put together a quick tool to send a letter of support to Mr. Nenshi. If you appreciate that he didn’t buy the Flames' owners an arena with your tax money, let him know.

And feel free to click into the text box and personalize your note – let him know what you want to see in this year’s election.