1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 180

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Flooding in Alberta

Exemplary Role of Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I want to associate myself with the statement that Senator Black made on Friday regarding floods in southern Alberta and the heroic efforts of so many public servants and volunteers.

Today I also want to recognize and celebrate the exemplary leadership that Mayor Naheed Nenshi of Calgary has demonstrated in response to this crisis.

In an editorial published on Monday the Calgary Herald writes:

When disaster struck, Mayor Naheed Nenshi flew home from a trip he had been on to Ottawa and Toronto.

Nenshi took the helm the moment of his arrival back in the city, dealing coolly and calmly with everything from keeping citizens apprised of the safety of Calgary’s drinking water and the fate of animals at the Calgary Zoo, to touring the flooded areas with Prime Minister Harper and Premier Redford, to taking time out to send out his thanks to city workers, and updating Calgarians when they could safely return to their homes.

The Globe and Mail, in its editorial, writes:

Mr. Nenshi has been such a superbly effective leader during the flood… that he appears on his way to folk-hero status. On Twitter, a movement started to demand that he take a nap. He has been up around the clock, and given news conferences in the middle of the night to make sure Calgarians are kept informed….

But it is not his commitment to imparting information that has been so impressive. He has been such a warm and engaging presence. You can’t help but be cheered up by him. And if you’re watching him on national television anywhere in the country, you feel what it must be like to be living in Calgary during the floods.

As author and Calgarian Leanne Shirtliffe writes in the Huffington Post, Mayor Nenshi “works hard and responds to people personally.” He is “gracious” and “intelligent.” He finds ways to inject humour, to inspire his constituents, and to celebrate the arts, even in the face of a disaster. He listens and engages others in decision making and harnesses the power of family and community volunteers.

Most of all, honourable senators, he demonstrates how government can be a powerful force for good — a vehicle to ensure that no one is left behind or excluded.

I am constantly impressed at how clearly Mayor Nenshi focuses on the need to ensure the safety and well-being of his constituents. As Mayor Nenshi has said, “We can fix stuff. We can replace stuff. We can’t fix people.”

Honourable senators, I believe we can all learn from Mayor Nenshi’s example. Please join me in thanking him for his continued service to Calgarians and to Canadians.