February 04, 2016

BIZZARE: This question made Mayor Nenshi throw a hissy fit

Brian LilleyArchive

Politicians can get into snits now again but I’ve never seen anything quite like what I experienced with the Mayor of Calgary as he visited Ottawa.

I’ve met Naheed Nenshi in passing a couple of times but I can’t say we know each other. Each time I’ve met him, I’ve been polite and respectful.

I posted a video of the speech Nenshi gave in Ottawa because I think he needs to be heard. Click here to watch the speech.

I was impressed with his full on defence of the oil industry and found him warm, funny, engaging but more importantly, I could tell he meant what he said. I’ve been at this long enough to know when politicians are being sincere.

Nenshi believes in Alberta oil. He spoke about how Canadian oil meets tough environmental and labour standards, how it doesn’t come from some of the nastier places on earth and, he may not like this, but it was like hearing a left wing Ezra give the Ethical Oil argument!

That’s fascinating because in Central and Eastern Canada, almost all progressives have decided that Canadian oil is dirty and pipelines are bad.

Remember Denis Coderre and the Montreal area mayors immediately saying “no” to Energy East? Montreal used to have a refinery which was pushed out by progressive politicians who didn’t want the oil industry or the jobs that went with it in their city. Then there’s Trudeau’s stance and his top advisor Gerry Butts who wants a zero carbon economy.

So Nenshi’s speech impressed me. I was tweeting as much as he spoke and I wondered, is this the man that can overcome the objections of the progressive side?

In the scrum afterwards I tried to ask him exactly that. A complimentary, respectful question that I never got to ask because he threw a hissy fit.

I’ve covered prime ministers, premiers, presidents and the Queen. I’ve stumped the best of them and have asked hostile questions of hostile politicians but NEVER in all my time as a journalist have I been treated like that.

Is it due to Ezra? I may not know Mayor Nenshi but he knows Ezra. They’ve been frenenies for nearly 25 years so maybe he was taking his anger for Ezra out on me.

In any case, he’s right - this shouldn’t be a left/right issue but it has become one. The left in Canada has decided we should say “no” to the energy industry and do without oil but, as Nenshi said, leaving it in the ground is not a rational strategy.

So I’m asking Mayor Nenshi to rise to the occasion, as a proud progressive and lefty Mayor, convince your own side of your own argument. Mostly, I agree with what you said but more Canadians on your side of the political aisle, need to hear that argument.

Are you up to that challenge mayor?


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READ Ezra Levant's bestselling books debunking environmentalist propaganda against the energy industry:
Groundswell: The Case for Fracking
Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands

Any government in Canada that opposes pipelines
should lose its share of oil & gas equalization payments.

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commented 2016-02-13 18:12:13 -0500
Brian, he doesn’t want to be labelled as a “Progressive” because he knows he was lucky when he first ran for Mayor because of the vote split: His career’s longevity depends on his not being replaced from the right, as in the Calgary Power Elite. He’s not one of them & he’s extra sensitive about it. And I’m a conservative – but there is an unspoken Anglo-Saxon rule in Calgary – always has been. We are the most WASP city in Canada in terms of its Power Elite – we’re right out of C. Wilbur Wright-Mills. Its why you don’t see Mayor Nenshi at the Calgary Petroleum Club, but you did most all of his predecessors (other than Bronconnier).
commented 2016-02-10 16:52:40 -0500
Nenshi appeared to have good intentions when he first took office on his platform of reform, particularly with respect to cleaning up city hall. But not much has happened since except higher taxes, seldom used bike paths, expensive and subjective artwork, imposition of secondary suites to lower property values and more wasteful government. And his recreation to the question posed speaks to his immaturity in dealing with such matters. Perhaps he should take a long ride on the taxpayer’s pride bus to reflect and refocus.
commented 2016-02-09 10:31:23 -0500
He’s acting like a radio talk show host who cuts you off so your point of view is never heard. This is a typical response to uncomfortable questions to which he cannot answer. Perhaps he is practicing for his next career which he will hopefully need after the next election.
commented 2016-02-08 20:31:48 -0500
Someone on the left finally abandons their party ideology and speaks in an intelligent way but you attempted to frame the question from a left-right viewpoint. We need more of what he did and less of what you did. Their problem is that they perceive party alliances more than the facts. When they finally see the facts, why do you need to shut down their thinking? Help them away from those habits, don’t push them into it. His response was good. You should have just sucked it up and dealt with the fact. You were told. He was right, you were not.
commented 2016-02-08 14:27:57 -0500
Does anyone remember when Nenshi was flying that rainbow flag over city hall in Calgary? And some angel climbed the pole and stole the flag, and the attachments. I still can’t help but smile about this!
commented 2016-02-06 18:56:42 -0500
Trudeau doesn’t answer questions all the time. He is barely able to spit out the campaign BS as his standard responses. Nobody in the media seems to be upset about this but the citizens are certainly noting these canned non-responses.
Nenshi just blew it and he is not happy with himself right now. Calgary is running out of tax money and he is under pressure. His temper will get him in trouble again, it’s only a matter of time. Personally, I would like to see him voted OUT.
commented 2016-02-06 18:10:06 -0500
He certainly appeared agitated and cranky, a stark contrast from the smooth, relaxed and rehearsed fellow on stage.
To the question Nenshi wouldn’t let you ask, I would say the answer is no. Nenshi is not ‘the man that can overcome the objections of the progressive side’, and for good reason.

Bill Elder’s comment is a good one, “This isn’t about the Rebel, it’s about a general decay in the accountability of politicians and bureaucrats and a growing contempt they have for the public who do not necessarily agree with them.”
commented 2016-02-06 17:54:30 -0500
Ron Christensen – and what exactly was the question? Nenshi decided to abort the question rather than consider it and then chose not to answer.
commented 2016-02-06 17:46:59 -0500
Nenshi rick mercer all these a holes had a chance to speak up, now they do ? to little to late, he supports nothing , he had no issue hob nobbing with all the lefty anti oil sands types why not speak up then.
commented 2016-02-06 14:21:36 -0500
The headline should read: Bizarre Question From Lilly Receives Appropriate Answer From Mayor Nenshi.
commented 2016-02-06 09:35:18 -0500
Lisa Dawn Cheney commented – “More of a sissy fit, in my opinion.”

Well he’s no Ralph Klein or Al Duerr by a long shot, I just wish he’d accept that and act with the humility his failings would dictate.
commented 2016-02-06 09:32:00 -0500
I have reviewed the commentary here and I have to say that if there is to be any accountability in politicians or expectation of an effective media, that you have to stop concocting apologia for uncivil or irresponsible behaviour/rhetoric from politicians.

Albertabuck- it is fallaciousdiversinonary argument to contend that Lilley or the Rebel were some how responsible for a politician not being accountable and fulfilling his public duty to disclosure on public issues. Politicians owe the media a factual concise answer when asked questions within the realm of their authority/responsibility. That did not happen here – and I observe this type of curt dismissal of media questioning as a trend not with just the rebel, but with any reporter who has a reputation for asking tough or potentially embarrassing questions.

This isn’t about the Rebel, it’s about a general decay in the accountability of politicians and bureaucrats and a growing contempt they have for the public who do not necessarily agree with them.
commented 2016-02-06 07:41:26 -0500
Nenshi does nothing for western Canada. This useless piece has cost Calgary’s economy a lot, Taxes have went up 27 percent every year. The city of Calgary no doubt has a 15 billion dollar debt from this cowboy that has lost his horse. This IDIOT knows nothing about running a city, he spent his last couple years teaching school, what do they know about running a city. NOTHING. We have another year of IDIOTISM then I bet our debt will be close to 15 billion. Also Nenshi is the highest paid Mayor were paying this LOSER a quarter a million a year he no doubt sends to Lebanon. Sad sent of affairs Thanks IDIOTS for voting for IDIOTS .
commented 2016-02-06 06:26:45 -0500
More of a sissy fit,in my opinion.
commented 2016-02-06 01:52:42 -0500
Mayor Nenshi is a square shooter and I don’t blame him one bit for seeming a little agitated. The question thrown at him twice was a “leading” question …. wanting to peg hole him leaning to the “left” or “right” of center. His entire speech was intentionally non political, it was a plea for common sense.
commented 2016-02-05 23:26:27 -0500
WOW – how PROFESSIONAL of him – and he’s the mayor of a city the size of CALGARY? That behaviour would be more in line with head of a kindergarten class. Couldn’t help wonder as i saw him shen a sentimenatl tear over the arrivall of the first of his muslim brethren, how many tears he’s shed over the plight of CANADIAN born homeless people in Calgary?
commented 2016-02-05 20:55:01 -0500
Socialists are spoiled brats. He was just acting like one during a scrum, which is totally normal for those on the left. Look at how Trudeau literally RAN away from reporters from the now defunked Sun News. It’s just how the left rolls. Bullies when surrounded with like minded, cowards otherwise.
commented 2016-02-05 19:03:43 -0500
This kind of immaturity on display by Nenshi is very common. If he disagrees or doesn’t like how a question is framed, he changes from someone in their mid-40’s to a 12 year old in a nanosecond. He is immature, insecure and will not tolerate opposing views. I’ve followed politics since the mid 70’s and I’ve never, ever seen someone that is such a petulant jackass as Naheed Nenshi. He’s the perfect candidate for the low-info, ill-informed hipster doofus types that have put him into the Mayor’s chair. I look forward to his departure with great anticipation.
commented 2016-02-05 18:48:39 -0500
Ah Brian, all you’re getting is the famous Nenshi arrogance — ask some of his ex-students about that sometime, or some of the more right-centred members of Calgary City Council. The guy is not capable of giving a no snit / non-patronizing answer if the questions don’t mesh with his particular world view, or if they can be seen in any way as an attack on him or on any of his pet projects, or if he just feels too damn important to waste his time on questions he deems unimportant. Surprised he didn’t pat you on the head and make you stand in a corner, just for good measure.
Don’t believe for an instant that this individual deserves the moniker of “Best Mayor”. He is a highly polarizing figure, folks either love him or hate him. His carefully crafted campaign of having his handlers portray him to the world on social media as some sort of Saviour of Calgary during the flood - when he was only enacting existing emergency plans already long in place, being as involved city-wide as any mayor would be, and certainly getting no less sleep than the emergency workers (the real heroes of the flood) who were toiling triple shifts far away from a convenient camera or microphone - confirmed to me his true colours.
Can hardly wait for this guy to vacate the mayoral office and try his hand at federal politics; even if successful he’ll at least be out of sight / out of mind in Ottawa.
commented 2016-02-05 18:43:44 -0500
TRAVIS CHASE, “Oh and Nenshi does not believe in Alberta oil. City hall is stacked with Pembina Institute flunkies. Nenshi is trying to save his job”. Good point, “Nenshi is trying to save his job”. Lefties will say anything to get elected! Remember Calgary Liberal MP Kent Hehr during the Federal Election campaign declaring, “Rest assured when elected, I will pound the table on the need for pipelines. It’s the safest way to transport oil and it is in the national interest”. However recently, Hehr along with the three other Alberta Liberal MPs, not breaking ranks with the Liberal party to support Alberta and his constituents, voted against a Conservative motion to support pipelines.
commented 2016-02-05 18:40:08 -0500
Spit it out.
commented 2016-02-05 18:28:47 -0500
The terms left and right are used all the time when talking politics. You can very neatly place Nenshi into the “left” box. However, there are some and by far they come from the “left” who will randomly and irrationally balk at you calling them what they obviously are. They want you to believe that their beliefs are so very sophisticated and complex. So, how can someone from the left be such an obvious hypocrite? Easy. Nenshi understands how to compartmentalize. He’ll say one thing to his left wing buddies in the echo chamber, and another thing when he’s out in public.

Nenshi is obviously hostile towards the Rebel now as are all of the left. But especially because he’s a muslim. I’m pretty sure old Ezra has burned the bridge to the muslim community.
commented 2016-02-05 17:17:25 -0500
Your reputation as a conservit
commented 2016-02-05 16:50:01 -0500
We have not seen EZRA on the Daly show today , guess what the subject matter will be on the " tonite" show tonite.——stay tuned.—-who knows Nenshi better then anybody in the hole wide world?
commented 2016-02-05 16:21:32 -0500
Whether Nenshi honestly didn’t like the idea of politicizing the issue or if it was because of who was asking the question, either way it was definately a hissy fit. Being the arrogant narcissist that he is, that’s what he does. Ofay Cat-the eastern lefties have to accept him because he’s an overweight purple gay Muslim so he gets a free pass by default.
commented 2016-02-05 15:45:07 -0500
I do not like Nenshi, I think he is nothing more than a bully. However, while his response was short if you Brian feel this is the worst hissy fit you have witnessed I think you need to grow thicker skin. Your initial email had me curious as the way you suggested you asked the question seemed innocent but the video clearly shows you trying to antagonize him by starting out with Left…. Was he rude and probably condescending, yes but he simply blew you off. Try asking a question he has to answer or throws a hissy fit because he does not want to answer. Not one he can ignore like he did. Again I do not like Nenshi butbas a journalist you missed an opportunity to ask the right question instead of trying to show boat. Sorry.
commented 2016-02-05 15:43:19 -0500
When he saw the question was coming from the Rebel, he lost it. We in Calgary are very familiar with the mayor freaking out when someone says something he doesn’t like. Or asks a question that he doesn’t want to answer.
commented 2016-02-05 15:42:04 -0500
Oh and Nenshi does not believe in Alberta oil. City hall is stacked with Pembina Institute flunkies. Nenshi is trying to save his job.
commented 2016-02-05 15:39:39 -0500
Nenshi does that whenever you ask him any question he doesn’t like. What baffles me is that almost no one questions him. You’d see what kind of person he really is.
commented 2016-02-05 15:21:57 -0500
There was no hissy fit. You tried to politicize what he was talking about when he’s trying to bridge the gap between people concerned about human health and the environment and those concerned about our economy and the impact that oil has on it. Starting a question with “people on the left” would piss of anyone who’s trying to de-politicize an issue so we can have a rational and productive discourse on it.