Calgary’s New Mayor Says Her City Is More Than an Oil Town

With the latest oil value restoration, Calgary has woke up from an extended financial slumber, and its new mayor needs to assist town cut back its dependency on oil by changing into a frontrunner in new sources of power.

Jyoti Gondek has a Ph.D. in city sociology, was a member of town’s planning fee and a metropolis councilor. She promotes insurance policies that put her at odds with town’s conservative institution, which is entwined with the oil business.

Oil’s final collapse, in 2014-15, gave Calgary, a metropolis of 1.3 million, an issue now going through most cities: discovering new makes use of for empty downtown workplace towers. As has been the case with many cities because the begin of the pandemic, Calgary has additionally discovered rising numbers of individuals, many with extreme psychological well being and drug issues, dwelling on its streets.

I met with Ms. Gondek, town’s second consecutive mayor of South Asian heritage, earlier this week at metropolis corridor, days after town and the province had introduced that they might each contribute a complete of 867 million Canadian {dollars} to construct a brand new area for the Calgary Flames. The announcement was extensively seen as a transfer to bolster the re-election hopes of the premier, Danielle Smith, who usually stymies Ms. Gondek’s political agenda, within the present provincial election marketing campaign. Our dialog has been edited for size and readability.

What do individuals get fallacious about Calgary?

People that don’t dwell right here and haven’t visited right here have been bought a stereotype of who we’re. It’s form of this cartoon picture of Calgary. And I believe we’ve finished a remarkably poor job of telling our story correctly as Calgarians.

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The narrative developed that we have been solely serious about oil and gasoline — and that was about it. We’ve let it get away from us and we’re attempting to regain it now. The funding that we’d like right here is just too essential. We should be speaking about who we actually are.

How has Calgary’s rising ethnic variety modified town?

It’s the third most various metropolis in Canada, and but lots of people don’t know that about us. However when you spend any period of time right here, it’s fairly evident.

The capability constructing that many ethnic communities have finished permits newcomers to come back right here and really settle right here and never simply make this a touchdown place. Folks come into Calgary they usually keep.

That comes about with a few issues. There’s the financial benefit. If it’s simpler to get a job, the higher the revenue ranges are, the extra reasonably priced your housing is — all these elements definitely play a task. However while you see individuals who appear like you, while you’re out someplace and also you hear your mom tongue, if you find yourself embracing a cultural exercise and also you discover a piece of your individual historical past in it — all that makes you are feeling like this place understands you, that you simply belong right here. It’s taken a very long time to domesticate that.

There have been many oil- and gas-related booms and busts. Is that cycle doomed to proceed?

We at the moment are at a exceptional level the place true power transformation is feasible, however we have to make some fairly important investments. So we now have an power transition heart within the metropolis that’s taking a look at some large, daring strikes in partnership with numerous our oil sands corporations. We’ve of us who’re actively taking a look at hydrogen and important mineral methods.

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So we’ve obtained numerous actually large curiosity in the way forward for power manufacturing. Whereas we have been a hub for oil and gasoline, we proceed to be a hub for the brand new face of power.

  • Dan Bilefsky met with one other of Canada’s new big-city mayors: Ken Sim, Vancouver’s first mayor of Chinese language descent. Mr. Sim has been drawn into the present political storm brought on by claims that the Chinese language authorities interfered in Canadian elections.

  • Canada expelled a Chinese language diplomat whom it accused of intimidating and gathering data on a Conservative member of Parliament. Quickly afterward, China retaliated by sending dwelling a diplomat from the Canadian consulate in Shanghai.

  • Wildfire season in Alberta and British Columbia has began, protecting an unusually broad swath of the province. Forecasts of scorching climate for the weekend have officers bracing for extra fireplace outbreaks.

  • Striker the Samoyed stole the present finally yr’s Westminster Kennel Membership Canine Present, solely to lose within the remaining spherical. He’s now retired, and Sarah Lyall stories from his dwelling in Toronto that Striker “continues to be a champion, and he’s nonetheless busy — taking part in, romping, posing and shedding.”

  • Canada is increasing its coaching program for Ukrainian forces to a NATO base in Latvia the place about 800 Canadian navy members at the moment are stationed. Canada has had a presence there since 2017 as a part of a battle group to bolster the alliance’s safety efforts within the Baltic area.

  • “BlackBerry,” a comedy about Canada’s onetime tech large directed by Matt Johnson, is a New York Instances Critic’s Decide. In her evaluation, Jeannette Catsoulis writes that it’s “a story of scrabbling towards success that tempers its humor with an oddly transferring wistfulness.”

  • A Canadian actor is the topic of one other Critic’s Decide. “Nonetheless: A Michael J. Fox Film” is a biographical documentary that each opinions the actor’s profession and explores his experiences studying to dwell with Parkinson’s illness.

  • After 27 years of performing and recording, the Canadian band Sum 41 is breaking apart its act.

  • Denis Shapovalov, the Canadian tennis participant, who’s at the moment ranked twenty seventh, is amongst these criticizing some tournaments, together with Canada’s Nationwide Financial institution Open, for nonetheless providing much less prize cash to girls than they do for males.

  • Connie Walker, a Canadian journalist who’s a member of the Okanese First Nation in southern Saskatchewan, was singled out by the Pulitzer Prize jury for her work in a podcast about residential colleges.

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A local of Windsor, Ontario, Ian Austen was educated in Toronto, lives in Ottawa and has reported about Canada for The New York Instances for the previous 16 years. Comply with him on Twitter at @ianrausten.

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