Mayor Naheed Nenshi to reopen Calgary’s 109-year-old historic Town Hall on September 15, 2020 after undergoing extensive heritage rehabilitation Nenshi announced on Tuesday that he would not be running for a fourth term in the town hall (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jeff McIntosh)

By Terry Haig | English @ rcinetcaPosted: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 07:50
Last updated: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 10:45 a.m.

Naheed Nenshi, the first Muslim to be mayor of a major North American city, steps away from politics

Neshi said on Tuesday that he would not be running for a fourth term in Calgary, the city where he grew up – the son of Ismaili Muslim immigrants of Gujarati Indian / Pakistani descent who came to Canada from Tanzania in 1971, the year before Neshi was born

Neshi has served as Mayor of Calgary since his victory in 2010, skillfully using social media to engage young voters in what has become the Purple Revolution

Nenshi is pictured speaking to the media the day after his election in October 2010 (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jeff McIntosh)

After winning 39% of the vote in that first election, Nenshi was re-elected in 2013 with 74% of the vote before securing a victory in 2017 with just 51% of the vote, as Alberta felt the sting of hard times caused by falling oil prices

In an article published Tuesday night, CBC’s Drew Anderson reported that Nenshi made his decision last Thursday

Perhaps it was the incongruity of all of this that helped make Nenshi, arguably, Canada’s best-known mayor

It was an image that many had trouble dealing with, at least initially: a sometimes disheveled, somewhat geeky, often rambunctious guy who happened to be a Muslim

A guy who looked about as much of a cowboy as The Cat in the Hat was now the mayor of Canada’s oil capital, a town many believed (at least in their imaginations) to be the most close to Texas outside of Texas

Obtaining a master’s degree in public policy from the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, Nenshi, possessor of charm, wit and fierce intelligence, quickly became a familiar figure on national television discussing a wide range of political and social issues, becoming best known nationally for her handling of the 2013 flood that devastated Calgary

Among other things, he became the first mayor to hold the post of Grand Marshal of the Calgary Gay Pride Parade, in 2011

In 2014, he received the World Mayor’s Award, becoming the first Canadian to win this honor

He also brought the new central city library on budget and renovated the city hall while providing better customer service by city bureaucrats

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Nenshi are pictured in Calgary in November 2018 Nenshi said he had had a very frank conversation with Trudeau about Calgary’s vote no on the potential Winter Olympics bid in 2026 (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jeff McIntosh)

But he has come under fire for the city’s handling of property tax redistribution as the value of office towers in downtown Calgary plummeted and his support for bringing the Winter Olympics to Calgary into 2026 was not enough to claim victory in a 2018 plebiscite

“It was a tough decision to make but ultimately I think it’s the right decision for me and I really hope the right decision for Calgary,” Nenshi said on Tuesday.

Nenshi’s announcement follows similar announcements from Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, both of whom said last fall they had no plans to run again

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Naheed Nenshi

World News – CA – Naheed Nenshi to not seek fourth term as Calgary mayor