Calgary Minute: Bill 21, Urgent Business, and a Dead Arena Deal
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
- With the end of 2021 upon us, everyone on the Common Sense Calgary team would like to take a moment and wish you a Happy New Year. It's been an interesting year where we've covered everything from tax hikes to the Green Line, and everything in between, as well as - of course - the election. We hope that you will have many blessings in the year to come.
After an eventful last week, City Council is on break for the holidays. Council meetings will resume on January 11th.
The Calgary Flames were scheduled to return tonight, after a break due to COVID-19 protocols, but this has now been delayed again. When the puck drops on the next home game the stadium will be at half capacity, owing to new Provincial capacity restrictions.
Last Week In Calgary:
In truly unprecedented fashion, Mayor Jyoti Gondek stamped her authority over City Council at the last meeting of the year. Councillor Dan McLean proposed an urgent notice of motion to freeze wages of Councillors for 2022. Gondek decided McLean’s idea wasn’t urgent, saying it required a "more fulsome discussion", despite the pay increase being scheduled for January 1st, before the next Council meeting! She did, however, allow an "urgent" discussion on her idea to give $100,000 to Quebec for the fight against Bill 21 (see below) to proceed, even though this case is likely to take months and/or years.
- Council voted to potentially spend $100,000 or more of taxpayer money to fight Quebec’s Bill 21. The controversial Bill 21 bans public servants such as teachers, judges, and police officers from wearing religious symbols from any religion while on the job. While an exact dollar amount was removed from the "urgent" notice of motion, thanks to pressure from Common Sense Calgary supporters, the motion allowed for "resources" and "matching funds". While we at Common Sense Calgary agree that Bill 21 is discriminatory, we also don’t think using Calgarians’ tax money to oppose legislation in another jurisdiction is justified. If you haven't yet signed our petition, please do so!
Mayor Gondek took to Twitter to tell Calgarians that Murray Edwards and Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (the Flames) are walking away from the arena deal over a $9.7 million gap in funding. The Flames claim the extra costs have been imposed by the City, while Mayor Gondek says that the City has already covered many extra costs and the Flames had already agreed to cover any further costs going forward. More than $300 million of public funds, plus deals on surrounding land and construction costs, were already earmarked for the project.
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