That is excellent. I want to move to Canada to live in his city.
Honestly: it's such an unusual [okay, completely fucking weird] feeling to have a mayor of Calgary whose politics is about openness, engagement and a bit of humour rather than backroom dealing, backslapping and gladhanding with a select class of fat cats. The latter has been the standard for most of the city's history.
The only other time that standard was bucked in living memory, and that only to a certain extent, was by the equally-legendary* Ralph Klein, who was noted for drinking with the hoi-polloi at the Louie, a seedy hotel bar in the downtown core whose big feature event was the "horse races" -- little plastic horses coursing around a toy mechanical track. I'm not even kidding you.
But with Klein that was theatrics dressing up the backroom back-slapping, as he made clear in his transition to provincial politics. Nenshi's appeal lies in his behaving like he actually means
all of the rhetoric about transparency and involvement, a pattern of behaviour he held to even in an actual crisis situation during the recent flooding: when Stephen Harper [our PM; megalomaniacal techocrat with delusions of grandeur, a local boy whom nobody is willing to really treat as a local boy] and Allison Redford [our Premier; fairly typical provincial Tory apparatchik about whom the best that can be said is that she tends slightly toward Lougheed] were doing Potemkin-village photo ops with happy rhetoric, he was actually in the crisis centre answering questions from the public on live television. It's still hard to tell how much of the input he actually takes on board when policy-making, but the mere fact of him acting like consulting with the public is part of his job description makes him an outlier in Alberta politics. (Which itself speaks volumes about Alberta politics.)
I love it. On the other hand, I have to candidly admit part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop and to find out he's into underaged prostitutes or Rex Murphy editorials** or some other damned thing.
(* I actually think this needs the qualifier almost
equally-legendary now. Which is a fucking huge thing to say about a Calgary mayor. But it's true.)
(** Not seriously equating the two, it's just a little CBC humour. Rex Murphy is the Obligatory Wingnut on CBC's eleven o'clock news show The National
; imagine a pissed-off, acerbic Andy Rooney who doesn't quite know what day it is and spends all day yelling at his television.)