Reasons To Not Love Nenshi

July 1st, 2013 | A. Marshall 

After the June 21, 2013 flood in Calgary, it has been surreal to see some of the city’s best known places turned into extensions of the river. Unfortunately, in times of crisis, people clearly begin to lose their minds. Mayor Naheed Nenshi has been made out to be some kind of super hero for doing his job and it’s sickening.

A ridiculous, nausea inducing “article” was written shortly after the flood that needed some retort, so here it is:

1. “[Nenshi] works harder than anyone”.

Does he? Does he really? What about all of the police, fire crews and individual residents who have been working around the clock? I think this statement is an utter insult to anyone and everyone who has been working towards the relief effort. I’m confident that most other mayors would be doing the same, it’s their job. Especially with an election looming I’d expect nothing less from a municipal leader. Additionally, City Hall was closed for over a week, so, by all means, let him do something!

2. He responds to people personally.”

I realize Twitter is all the rage these days, but there’s hardly anything “personal” about a 150 character Tweet from anyone, even the mayor. He’s not the only elected official to do so, and he won’t be the last. Is being a social media fiend really good indication of great leadership? Not really.

3. He is gracious.”

Of course he is going to thank those who are helping, who wouldn’t? Again, this doesn’t make Naheed Nenshi any more or less qualified to lead the city.

4. He is intelligent, clear and practical.”

I’m not convinced that telling people to restrict water usage qualifies Nenshi as any of the aforementioned. I am also confident that much of the information and statements he issued were being provided to him by background people. Leaders are the figureheads who dictate direction to citizens; they are not the people who do the behind-the-scenes work.

5. He is funny…”

It is understandable that people enjoy seeing a less professional side of their elected officials but, sticking to theme of the original article, I can’t seem to understand how people believe being able to crack jokes is suddenly a top 10 trait for good leadership.

6. He inspires his constituents to love this city more.”

Once again, I find this almost offensive to everyone else contributing towards the relief efforts.  If anyone is instilling the sentiment of love for the city it is all of the individual citizens who are offering their time and donations to help those in need. People who don’t need to be contributing to the efforts but continue to give should be commended – Nenshi isn’t the one orchestrating it.

7. “He values the arts…”

Art is nice, so what? The buskers and people wishing to entertain evacuees were harassing municipal leadership on Twitter until they finally set up the registration Nenshi started to refer to, it wasn’t some grand Nenshi idea. If said artists really wanted to help they’d be getting their hands dirty, but who am I to judge? Government funding or specialized support to the arts is not appropriate, in this case, however, his response was fine. Some of the world’s greatest artists never saw government subsidies, they worked hard to seek private contracts and sustained a living on their own. If the line of work you chose to pursue is not conducive to sustaining your lifestyle then you need to find a new one or amend your lifestyle. Leaders who go out of their way to support the arts with the public purse lack priorities.

8.“He listens…”

This isn’t entirely true. Was the $52 million debate really been that long ago? Remember when Nenshi “listened” to what citizens wanted and then decided what citizens wanted wasn’t the best option? Aside from that, telling people to evacuate based on likely findings made by more background people, wasn’t really an option and I doubt any other leadership would have done it differently.

9. “He harnesses the power of family and community.”

Once again, it is extremely insulting to everyday citizens to continue to credit Nenshi for the selfless decisions people have been making during this time. For those who wanted to help out, they didn’t suddenly just want to do so because Nenshi told them to, it was instilled in them long before he came into the picture. Let’s stop deifying this guy.

10. “He demonstrates that government (or humanity), when done well, is a powerful force for good.”

When done well”… right. Still not sure how government being done well has been exemplified during this flood. What was necessary was done, it's as simple as that. There is little that should lead one to believe any action taken during this flood was unique to Nenshi. People still would have wanted to help their friends, family, neighbours, etc. and the city still would have gone about their business in the same way.