Thursday, March 8, 2012

Did Mayor Nenshi lie?

48 hours before the 2010 Calgary Municipal election, then candidate Naheed Nenshi told a crowd of voters at the Food & Sustainability Mayor's Forum, hosted by the Calgary Food Policy Council, that he supported local food production, imagineCalgary food targets and the Urban Chicken Pilot Project. Did Mayor Nenshi lie to us in order to get votes? Well, it wouldn't be the first time an aspiring politician lied... Let's explore this hypocrisy.

His actions to date? 

Nothing... other than to perpetuate Bronco's Local Food Dismissal Machine and the continued prosecution and outlawing of those who grow their own food... Examples?

1. (a) Well, for starters, I'm in court this week defending my actions against the 104 (full time equivalent) staff of the City of Calgary Legal Dept, and the prosecutor from the City of Calgary. Why? Because I had 6 urban hens in my backyard for food. I believe fundamentally that I have a Right to Food as per Article 25 of the UNHRD and apparently so does Mayor Nenshi and the city... but in a move reminiscent of Orwell, all 15 council members have  simultaneously attacked and adopted the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights...  and then they doubled down on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Don't believe me? Well, in January of this year, Calgary City Council unanimously reaffirmed their support for the Fair Calgary Policy, which in its opening "Whereas", states a commitment by the city to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms... Read all the hypocrisy here: Fair Calgary Policy Jan 2012 amended.
(b) The City of Calgary states that those that want to grow and raise their own food can do without for 8 months of the year or apply for a Land Use Redesignation with a $6,000 application fee with no guarantee of approval... and that does not include the fee for an architect and survey crew. The incredibly onerous process can take up to 24 months or longer. Perhaps consider cutting some of that red tape, Mayor Nenshi, in order to increase local food production (an imagineCalgary target, btw).

2. His staff tripped over themselves providing lame excuses for not planting a small 8' x 8' food garden at City Hall that a 9 year old could plant and maintain (I know, because my son did just that).

3. After numerous official meetings and endorsement from the Mayor's office for a Council Innovation Fund application, The Calgary Community Farm Initiative has been sent to the equivalent of bureaucratic hell, the Office of Sustainability.

4. Food & Shelter are the two most significant factors impacting those in an impoverished, low income, disadvantaged environment. Although Mayor Nenshi promotes his "Big Idea to End Poverty", he does not take any action on the vital food aspect of this issue. The status quo reigns in the Purple Kingdom.

5. Mayor Nenshi acted on Food Trucks, which satisfies a sliver of the population and is, for the most part, outside of the budget of low income Calgarians. Now, if only he could apply that "Get 'er done" approach to a policy on food that will actually benefit low income Calgarians.

And here's the goods:

Picture of Mayor Nenshi (l) and Jon Lord (r) at the Food & Sustainability Mayor's Forum at the International Hotel, hosted by the Calgary Food Policy Council, on World Food Day, October 16, 2010. This photo is taken 48 hours prior to the civic election.