Seemingly in defiance of Alberta's reputation as a very conservative province, voters in Calgary and Edmonton both elected young, progressive mayors yesterday.
Calgary elected the 41-year old Naheed Nenshi for a second term and Edmonton chose the 34-year old former city councillor Don Iveson. Nenshi supports a more compact city with increased density in the inner city and levies on suburban development that reflect the true cost of building suburbs. Iveson appears to be of a similar urban philosophy.
Nenshi easily overcame vigorous opposition from home builders who disapprove of his references to the "sprawl subsidy," the difference between the cost of infrastructure in new suburbs and developers' contribution to it. They
were joined in their opposition by Preston Manning whose Manning Institute recently received over a million dollars from home builders to train developer-friendly candidates.
Other progressives also did well in Calgary with Druh Farrell, Gian-Carlo Carra and Brian Pincott holding their wards and Evan Woolly joining the group. Council still leans conservative, if not pro-developer, but at least there is a strong contingent of progressives pushing for a financially and environmentally sustainable city.