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Photo by Justin Quaintance

Graduate Students’ Association hosts mayoral candidate forum

By Scott Strasser, April 4 2017 —

Four of the six candidates currently vying for the top job in Calgary City Council squared off at a mayoral forum hosted by the University of Calgary Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) on March 30.

The event at the U of C marked the first mayoral forum of the 2017 Calgary municipal election campaign. The election is scheduled for Oct. 16. 

Forum participants included current Ward 10 councillor Andre Chabot, Calgarian David Lapp, urban farmer Paul Hughes and entrepreneur Shawn Baldwin. The candidates answered questions for about 90 minutes.

Incumbent mayor Naheed Nenshi — who is running for a third term — did not attend the event. Neither did mayoral candidate Katherine LeRougetel, who is running as a member of the Communist League.

The GSA’s external relations standing committee organized the forum. Committee chair Claire Cao said the event aimed to encourage students to learn more about the upcoming municipal election.

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Claire Cao is the chair of the GSA’s external relations standing committee // Photo by Justin Quaintance

“We had held a panel previously on labour relations, but the turnout wasn’t so great and we thought we could have made it a little more constructive to the students,” she said. “So this time we actually invited the candidates so they could talk about their platforms.”

Topics covered during the forum included secondary suite legalization, public transportation, innovation and development within the city, funding for the arts and reducing bureaucracy in the municipal government.

The candidates also answered questions about Nenshi, including what they liked about his leadership and what they would do differently.

“It was really great. I thought the turnout was okay and the candidates really had the opportunity to meet with students, which a lot of them didn’t have the chance to do before,” Cao said.

Nomination day for the municipal election is Sept. 18. As of April 4, 68 candidates are listed on the Election Candidate Registry. According to Cao, the GSA intends to hold another event once the nominees have been declared.

Roughly 30 students and faculty members attended the forum, which took place in ST 147.

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