The head of a large Calgary homebuilding firm has sent a memo to his employees encouraging them to vote for councillors who will oppose Naheed Nenshi, who is up for re-election on Monday along with the rest of City Council.
“There has never been a more important time in the history of this industry that our collective voice is heard,” wrote Greg Lefebre, President and CEO of Apex Group. “We encourage each and every one of you to do your own due diligence on the issues at stake in this civil election and elect the candidate that will best represent your interests on our City Council.”
The memo was leaked to the Calgary Herald (embedded below) and includes a city map with preferred candidates highlighted in each ward, as well as an endorsement for mayoral candidate Jon Lord. Who wrote the endorsement? “A Jon Lord supporter,” apparently.
If that weren’t enough, there is also a letter from Jon Lord himself, in which he writes “in defence of homebuilders.” Jesus, talk about a hard sell.
Lefebre is hardly the only developer who wants Nenshi out of office, given that the popular mayor has emphasized urban renewal rather than endless suburban growth in a city that is already fucked beyond repair due to reckless sprawl. In April, Global News obtained a surreptitiously recorded video of a secret meeting among many of the city’s developers as they plotted to curb Nenshi’s influence.
In that meeting, Cal Wenzel, founder of Shane Homes, acknowledged that beating Nenshi was pretty much impossible but that it was still possible to tilt the balance of the council so as to outvote the mayor (and presumably vote in favour of more reckless development in the city). The plan included big donations to the preferred candidates, as well as over a million bucks to Preston Manning’s conservative think tank in order to help groom the would-be councillors into proper, pro-development capitalists.
The candidates mentioned in that meeting are, unsurprisingly, also included in the leaked memo.
So while many politicians like to complain about hidden players working against them, Calgary’s mayor actually has a shadowy cabal of business leaders out to thwart him. And while it’s unlikely many in attendance at last November’s secret meeting were quite as upfront about their political activism as Lefebre, it’s also clear there’s a conspiracy afoot here.
Monday’s election will tell us whether all the plotting actually did anything.
[via Calgary Herald][image: 5of7/Flickr]