Mayoral frontrunners grapple with left-wing and right-wing labels


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There are not any partisan labels in municipal politics, however voters nonetheless typically need to know if a candidate leans left or proper.

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Most municipal politicians reward metropolis politics for being pragmatic and non-ideological in comparison with different ranges of presidency. However whilst they reward the pragmatism of metropolis corridor, politicians are sometimes unwittingly and generally intentionally hinting at their very own left-wing or right-wing allegiances.

Two of the frontrunners in Calgary’s mayoral race not less than partly declare right-leaning credentials; a 3rd has been resolute in her refusal to be pigeonholed.

“I really like the truth that I don’t have to put myself wherever on the spectrum,” mentioned councillor and mayoral candidate Jyoti Gondek. “My job is to be sure that I make the appropriate resolution on the proper time, given the context.

“That’s what I’m elected to do, make contextually related choices, not deliver an ideological or celebration perspective to the best way I see issues.”

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College of Calgary political scientist Jack Lucas says it’s not stunning that municipal candidates will typically eschew labels.

Coun. Jyoti Gondek says she doesn’t want to be identified as left or right on the political spectrum.
Coun. Jyoti Gondek says she doesn’t need to be recognized as left or proper on the political spectrum. Photograph by Gavin Younger/Postmedia

“You run by yourself title,” mentioned Lucas. “It permits you to develop a basket of coverage positions that may be extra of a combination.

“It may be irritating for candidates once they’re having a dialog with somebody and it’s very clear that this particular person aligns with them on coverage, however clearly dislikes them as a result of they’ve type of a label as a conservative, or a liberal or a progressive.”

Lucas not too long ago printed a paper on ideological politics on the municipal degree based mostly on surveys with mayors and councillors from throughout Canada. He mentioned these on the reasonable proper are the almost definitely to embrace a non-ideological imaginative and prescient of metropolis politics.

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He prompt this stems from the early twentieth century when class or labour-oriented events entered municipal politics in Canadian cities and in response, enterprise elites shaped with their very own events — however as a substitute of being billed as explicitly conservative options, they appeared to reject ideology and partisanship.

“I believe somebody like Jeff Davison matches the story that I’m telling within the paper about of us within the reasonable proper attempting to run a very non-ideological, city-building sort of agenda,” Lucas mentioned.

Coun. Jeff Davison puts himself on the “centre, centre-right” part of the political spectrum.
Coun. Jeff Davison places himself on the “centre, centre-right” a part of the political spectrum. Photograph by Gavin Younger/Postmedia

Davison instructed Postmedia that he sees himself as “centre, centre-right on the political spectrum.”

“My strategy to municipal politics is to be extra pragmatic,” Davison wrote in an electronic mail. “I like to stay grounded and take care of what realistically may be completed on the metropolis degree given the circumstances of every problem.”

Gondek has beforehand referred to as herself “utterly a centrist” and acknowledges she labored up to now on conservative celebration campaigns on the provincial and federal degree however has been open about her disappointment with some conservative partisans.

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Lucas mentioned regardless of Gondek’s constant claims to being a centrist, “due to the character of this mayoral race, she does appear to be coming right into a place because the centre-left candidate within the mayoral race.”

“Of us within the left in Calgary are actually far more prone to help Jyoti Gondek than (Jeromy) Farkas, for instance,” Lucas mentioned.

Gondek mentioned generally politicians subtly telegraph their ideological views utilizing particular language.

“Lots of my colleagues prefer to ship indicators that they’re of a sure ideological persuasion. The phrase ‘enterprise’ will get thrown round rather a lot: enterprise pleasant, velocity of enterprise,” Gondek mentioned. “Others will discuss taxes (however) it’s by no means particular.

“What I discover is that there are large ideological positions introduced, with out speaking a couple of celebration affiliation, essentially.”

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When he first ran for metropolis council in 2017, Jeromy Farkas ran explicitly as “your conservative selection” in his marketing campaign messaging. He has continued to align himself with right-wing council members and politicians all through his time period.

Jeromy Farkas has aligned himself with right-wing council members.
Jeromy Farkas has aligned himself with right-wing council members. Photograph by Jim Wells/Postmedia

Farkas, who’s at present main the race for mayor in line with the newest polling, instructed Postmedia that he describes himself as “progressive on social points and conservative on monetary points.”

However after 4 years on council, he denies the concept that there are clear left versus proper splits on council, pointing to instances that he allied with left-leaning Coun. Druh Farrell, together with on a push for transparency surrounding the Olympic bid.

“It’s not simply defined by left versus proper, in any other case you wouldn’t see the vote breakdowns you do on issues like promoting a metropolis park, continuing with the Olympic bid, going forward with the world deal,” mentioned Farkas. “It makes for lots of unlikely alliances, but it surely makes much more sense whenever you see the break up as extra institution and large enterprise versus the individuals.”

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Lucas mentioned the proof means that ideology nonetheless permeates municipal politics, even when native politicians typically reject the left-wing versus right-wing discourse that consumes different political arenas. However he mentioned that doesn’t imply each single problem ought to essentially be steeped in ideological debate.

“There are numerous choices that any authorities at any degree, possibly particularly municipal, that haven’t any apparent relation to left-right ideology,” Lucas mentioned.

“So the critics of ideology in municipal politics are actually on stable floor once they say, the very last thing we’d like is left-right bickering (and) for every little thing to grow to be a left-right problem, when there are such a lot of points the place we will have several types of coalitions on a metropolis council and get one thing completed.”

[email protected]
Twitter: @mpotkins

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