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Photo by Megan Koch

Municipal debate at Calgary Central Library

By Sophia Lopez, September 21 2021—

On Sept. 8, My City Speaks to Me presented the first live Calgary Mayoral Candidates Election Debate Night this year at the Central Library Candidates Jan Damery, Jeff Davison, Virginia Stone, Teddy Ogbonna, Zane Novak, Dean Hopkins, Grace Yan and Shaoli Wang attended the debate. They are a few of the 27 candidates running for mayor in the Calgary municipal general election this year which takes place on Oct. 18. 

The candidates were asked questions regarding their plans for the city. Davison, in particular, is focused on creating more job opportunities for the younger generation and making Calgary a place where people want to stay.

“We need to be preparing children going forward for, frankly, the careers that they’re going to want to have, not need to have,” said Davison.

(L-R): Photo of Grace Yan, Jeff Davison and Dean Hopkins by Megan Koch

When asked about some of the barriers newcomers face when they come to Canada, particularly in Calgary, Novak expressed his concern for the lack of support immigrants are given when it comes to gaining recognition for their education and academic achievements from their home countries.

“We need to work with the provincial and federal governments to make sure that we advocate for recognition and academic standing,” said Novak. “We have not taken the lead in helping [immigrants] use their academic background to find their success stories.”

Photo of Zane Novak by Megan Koch

The candidates were also asked about their opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic and how the city has handled it. Damery discussed how she is in support of a vaccine passport in order to keep the city safe and reduce the transmission of the virus.

“I came out in May advocating for proof of vaccination,” said Damery. “Just by showing proof of vaccination, that assures that we can actually reduce [COVID] transmission, which also protects our kids in schools right now.”

Photo of Jan Damery by Megan Koch

The new Green Line LRT was discussed during the debate, and although he agrees with the decision to move forward with it, Hopkins hopes to completely change the transit system in Calgary if elected mayor and have it fully powered by hydrogen.

“I want to bring hydrogen to our city,” said Hopkins. “I want the LRT to eventually be powered by electricity provided by a hydrogen turbine.”

The candidates also shared their point of views on topics concerning the city such as diversity and inclusion. This included questions regarding accessibility for those with mobility challenges, along with local art displayed within the city — to which they all said was lacking and needed improvement. 

To hear more about what the candidates discussed during the Calgary Mayoral Candidates Election Debate Night, watch the recorded livestream

The municipal general election will take place on Oct. 18, 2021. For more information on the candidates present at the debate or the other mayoral candidates, you can find their contact information on the Elections Calgary website.

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