Calgary Minute: No Accountability, No Transparency, No Openness

Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics.

This Week In Calgary:

  • There are four council committee meetings this week, but what will happen (or not happen) at the Priorities and Finance meeting tomorrow is the most interesting. Councillor Farkas' "Keeping Tabs on City Hall" motion was supposed to be debated after being postponed at last week's council meeting, but it's now been further delayed until September - so much for accountability!

  • There was also supposed to be a report on the "Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund" (aka, the $100 million corporate-welfare fund) but that report has also been delayed until the middle of 2020 - so much for transparency!

  • Finally, the committee will discuss the City's "Business Improvement Areas" (areas of the city where businesses have to pay an extra tax). The BIA's audited financial statements will also be released. Oh no, wait, they're being kept confidential until 2034 - so much for openness!

 

Last Week In Calgary:

  • The Mayor seemingly endorsed the city administration's cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face plan to find the $60-million in spending cuts Council have requested. Instead of cutting salaries, pensions, corporate welfare, public art, or bike lanes, Calgary's bureaucrats have proposed cuts to frontline emergency services like fire and police. This is a blatant scare tactic that is so common it actually has a name. The "Firemen First Principle" is the tactic of cutting the most visible or appreciated services provided by the government when faced with budget cuts and is done to put pressure on the public and lawmakers to rescind the cuts.

  • A group of business heavyweights called on Council to hit pause on the Green Line LRT after the City finally admitted that the risks of the project are much higher than they previously said. We've been warning of this for years, and just this weekend the City announced another budget increase, another quality reduction, and another year-long delay to the Green Line. Administration is clearly just making it up as they go along now, saying whatever they have to keep up the facade - just as they did with the Olympics.

  • After a successful appeal against the City that never should have been necessary, Cowboys Music Festival Tent will be allowed to stay open until 2:00 am. While this is better than the original midnight closing time, City bureaucrats couldn't handle not getting their way and have added a weird requirement to switch from live music to a DJ at midnight. Is it really the government's job to regulate the *type* of music a venue can play? Anti-business sentiments like these continue to reflect poorly on our city at a time when we need more business investment not less.