Monday, August 30, 2010

Stampede to the Polls: Ric McIver Profile

If I'm going to earn the right to keep the "Calgary" prefix on this blog's name, I feel it's my responsibility to cover Calgary politics. As such, I begin the first of my 764 part series, profiling the gaggle of candidates vying to replace Dave Bronconnier as Mayor of Calgary.

Sadly, with Craig Chandler siting out the race, Calgary doesn't have a mayoral candidate as nutilly right wing as Rob Ford. This is something I will take great pleasure in pointing out the next time a Torontonian tries to portray Calgary as conservative backwater.

However, after 20 years of Liberal mayors, we do have a Conservative frontrunner in this race.

Ric McIver

About Ric: Don't let the mustache fool you, McIver is as conservative as they come. His first campaign manager was none other than the aforementioned Craig Chandler and you can find pictures on Ric's flickr account of him volunteering for Stephen Harper and speaking at a rally against the undemocratic socialist separatist coalition. The site also contains pictures of Ric wearing nothing but a Conservative Party t-shirt.

On council, McIver has spent the last 9 years as the unofficial "opposition leader" to Mayor Bronconnier, earning his "Doctor No" nickname. He has railed against wasteful spending. He led the yellow ribbon charge. He's opposed Bronco's attempts to build bridges.

So it comes as no surprise to anyone that McIver is running for mayor or that he leads all other candidates in terms of name recognition.

(Appearance: 7/10, Functionality 7/10, Content 4/10, Uniqueness 3/10, Overall 6/10)

McIver has run a cautious campaign, and he has produced a cautious website. Candidate smiling in front of Calgary? Check. Donation, Volunteer, and Take Action buttons? Check. Some pictures here, some press releases there? Check. But really, there's little to get excited about on this site. Which is fine - McIver has name recognition, money and volunteers. He doesn't need an aggressive online presence.

Social Media

892 Twitter followers - Ric tweets every few days
1691 Facebook fans
1995 Youtube views - but all his channel has are 2 slide shows

My Take: I actually don't have a problem with Ric, and not just because I made a bet last year that he'd win this election. Even if I don't agree with him, he's always been consistent and true to his principles.

However...colour me unimpressed with his campaign to date. The man has gone from Doctor No to Mister Sure. Airport tunnel? Sure! Ring road? Sure! If you read Ric's "vision" of Calgary, it certainly doesn't sound any more conservative than NDPer Bob Hawkesworth's. Hell, Hawkesworth is against the airport tunnel because it's too expensive.

Beyond that, McIver's one page vision is nothing more than municipal buzzword mad gab.

"Building complete communities where Calgarians can live, work and play without long commutes."
"Thoughtful development of our transit system, continued work on our road network and
intelligent downtown parking policies will help re-vitalize the core."
"Budgeting will be responsible, taxes justified and transparent"

This isn't just me being a jerk and picking out select lines - in McIver's one page "complete vision", the most exciting piece of policy he tosses out is a promise of "smart snow removal strategy". I have no clue what this means, but I'm hoping it involves Mr Plow.

In fairness to Ric, there's no need for him to release his full platform this early in the race, and I expect the surprise entry of Barb Higgins will lead to a bolder campaign than he would have otherwise run. But, so far, McIver appears content running a typical frontrunner campaign.

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