Bell: Calgary Mayor Gondek responds, including to me

On Edmonton’s Ryan Jespersen’s talk show, Gondek said he was trying to be civil to McLean, but that the councilor was “intended to post things about me.”

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She wasn’t backing down. Far from there.

She is not like that.

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Instead, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek has something on her mind.

And something in his mind pops up when this writer asks him about a social media exchange that caught a lot of eyeballs on Monday.

It was his Twitter attack on a city councilman.

“I’m very interested in civil debate and discussions about nuance, but when the media in particular chooses to offer one-sided news and say things like Big Blue Playpen…”

Hello! I’m over here. It’s my turn.

I was sad that he didn’t mention another nickname for the town hall, The Cowtown Kremlin.

“You know,” the mayor continues, “if that is the vernacular you have instituted then others will probably pick it up. Let’s think about how we participate in the debate.”

“I’d like to do an interview with you any time,” says this writer.

He turns to the other journalists.

“Nobody else.”

On Tuesday, this writer asks Gondek if she thinks it’s appropriate to criticize Coun. Dan McLean on social media and called him “my friend,” followed by a shot at him over an unrelated topic after he published a CBC story about money in city politics.

The CBC story mentioned a group funded by civic unions to the tune of $1.7 million.

In the last municipal elections, this group supported the mayor and several council members.

McLean wrote that he just wanted Calgarians to know who made people choose.

Gondek said McLean’s tweet gave the impression that the money was going directly into someone’s pocket.

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Earlier in the day, on Edmonton’s Ryan Jespersen’s talk show, Gondek said he was trying to be civil to McLean, but that the councilor was “intended to bring things up about me.”

Gondek said McLean intended to “spread misinformation.”

“People think that somehow I magically got $1.7 million, but that’s not the case at all. “So you know I was a little tired of it.”

Then he sent the sarcastic “my friend” tweet.

“I show up as myself every day. “Anyone who knows me knows I would say something like that.”

Again, McLean says he was simply drawing attention to the news.

Daniel McLean
Calgary District 13, Co. Dan McLean speaks to the media at City Hall on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. Brent Calver/Postmedios

Gondek says she’s been called all kinds of horrible things on social media, “but I can’t call someone my friend, so it’s a weird place.”

The mayor also tells the Calgary press that “there is a level of collegiality among council.”

“However, when things become incredibly divisive and polarized tropes are deployed against each other, it becomes very difficult to maintain that civility.”

On the Edmonton talk show, Gondek said he wanted to “overcome the polarization,” but it hasn’t happened.

“I see that we are becoming more and more polarized as a society.”

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Let’s stop right here.

Have you ever noticed that the people who always talk about “polarizing” society are really saying that if everyone just followed their line and followed their agenda, we would all be on the right side of history and everything would be fine?

But if you oppose them, you are “polarizing” society.

These people like Gondek don’t listen to other points of view. They don’t see what they are doing as something they force down our throats.

No, they are just making us see the truth. His truth.

By the way, the majority of the council is called The Hateful Eight by the minority of the council for a reason.

Let’s go back to the story.

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Back on the Edmonton talk show, Gondek doesn’t get much use from the petition trying to oust her from office.

“I won an election fairly. The ability to withdraw without any ethical violation, without any Code of Conduct violation, is an interesting concept,” Gondek says.

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“I think we’re in pretty murky territory right now.”

Then there is the Count. Sonia Sharp.

Remember Sharp was the Calgary councilor last week who told Gondek to put his ego away?

Sharp has something on his mind.

“When you consider yourself the smartest person in the room, you generally have low emotional intelligence,” says the councilman.

Sonya Sharp, Calgary City Councilor
Calgary District 1, County. Sonya Sharp speaks to the media at City Hall on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. Brent Calver/Postmedios

“Everyone should be humble and accept constructive criticism. Every good leader knows that he is not perfect. Unfortunately, those who don’t see that think they’re perfect.”

Sharp says city council has lost the trust of Calgarians, but a minority of city council is fighting the good fight.

By the way, didn’t Gondek promise during the last elections to unify the city council?

“We were never unified on the first day,” Sharp says.

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