No one needs policies anymore. Everything can be decided by using good ol’ common sense.
A group calling itself Common Sense Calgary is telling Calgarians that “the same unions that backed the NDP provincially have now endorsed a slate of candidates to help continue their high-tax, high-spending, high-regulation doctrine at the city level.” While it’s true that the Calgary and District Labour Council (an organization that’s been around since 1905) issued a flyer recommending certain candidates in the upcoming municipal election, there’s not a shred of evidence to show they did so at the NDP’s behest.
A nameless, faceless organization
Common Sense Calgary is a mystery.
Its website says it’s not affiliated with any party or candidate and it promotes “the values of honesty, transparency, trustworthiness, caring, service, and humility, and the principles of freedom, responsibility, and democratic accountability.”
Sadly, this devotion to honesty, transparency, and democratic accountability do not stretch to disclosing anything about the CSC other than the fact that its executive director, Megan Brown, was a policy advisor to the Wildrose and UCP parties and Linda Carlson, “a passionate advocate for conservative economic principles”, joined CSC’s board of directors (whoever they might be).
For all of its talk about being non-partisan, CSC is clearly against the incumbent mayor and many ward councillors. It’s Facebook page bristles with shots at “Nenshi and his spend happy voting block [who] were busy hiking property taxes to pay for bike lanes, blue rings, Italian tile in their “Chamber of Secrets.”
CSC commissioned Pantheon Research to conduct a survey to “find out where the NDP and union candidates are at risk of winning seats, and which candidates are best placed to beat them and keep them out of city hall.” Cue the red scare/Commie baiting crowd.
Pantheon polled 4887 Calgarians, the margin of error for each ward ranged from 4.6% to 6.1% (the margin of error for national pollsters like Mainstreet and Nanos sits around 3.1%), it provided no margin of error data for the mayoral race although a Facebook post says the margin of error in that poll was 1.4%.
But details like poll methodology and margins of error don’t matter to CSC voters. They’re more interested in the colour coded charts which not so subtly tell them who to vote for.
Certain candidates are represented by blue bars while others (presumably the so-called NDP and union backed candidates) are represented by orange bars. Even Naheed Nenshi who is synonymous with the colour purple is represented by an orange bar.
This colour coding works. One voter lamented on Facebook that the “liberal” candidate (red) and the “NDP” candidate (orange) were leading in their ward. Provincial parties do not run in municipal elections.
Using “common sense” to make decisions means voters don’t need to waste time reading a candidate’s policies or thinking about his/her comments in a candidates’ debate. They can simply default to the candidate identified for them by a faceless organization as the one best aligned with the conservative party’s cause, even in the context of a nonpartisan municipal election.
So, forget the fact that Bill Smith, the former president of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party, wants to scrap the Green Line after 6 years of public consultation and risk losing $3 billion in provincial and federal support, vote blue.
Forget the fact that Chris Davis, the former president of the Calgary-Elbow Progressive Conservative constituency association, who is running in my ward muddies the difference between an operating budget and a capital budget when he disparages the City’s public art process, vote blue.
Most importantly forget the fact that municipal government is the only level of government where party politics aren’t relevant. The Mayor is elected by Calgarians, not a political party, he has one vote out of 15 and cannot force his will on Council. He does not have a party whip to smack recalcitrant counsellors upside the head if they vote against his proposals. Councillors, unlike provincial and federal cabinet ministers, are not appointed by a party leader, they are not beholden to anyone but the people who elected them.
Forget all that. Don’t think. Vote blue.