CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Calgarians are less than pleased with the performance of city council. A survey conducted by a professor at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy revealed a wide disparity between citizens’ satisfaction with council and councillors: only 37 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with council’s performance.
Ward-level voter data from 2018 shows that citizens’ opinion of individual councillors varied from ward to ward.
According to Jack Lucas, author of the survey, the results have a lot to do with demographics.
“We found, unsurprisingly, in the wards that were less likely to support Mayor Nenshi in 2017 municipal election, they were also less likely to be satisfied with his performance today,” he revealed. “A lot of that has to do with the people who live in those wards. We found conservatives were less likely to be satisfied with the Mayor’s performance.”
Satisfaction scores for Nenshi were highest in some of the city’s northeast and central wards but fell to below 40 per cent in central-east and southern wards. Overall though, Nenshi’s satisfaction score was 56 per cent across the city.
Just over 2,000 Calgarians were surveyed at the end of 2018 on their opinions and feelings towards various policy changes ranging from transportation to business.
As Lucas explained, on the whole, the satisfaction was higher for individual councillors.
“It’s not totally surprising. It is quite often the case that people are more satisfied with their individual representative than the institution that they belong to.”
Councillors Jyoti Gondek, Ward 3, Sean Chu, Ward 4, Jeff Davison, Ward 6, Evan Woolley, Ward 8, Jeromy Farkas, Ward 11, and Peter Demong, Ward 14, had scores of 60 to 70 per cent satisfaction. However, opinion was divided in Wards 7, Druh Farrell, and Ward 10’s, Ray Jones.
Only Diane Colley-Urquhart received a score below 45 per cent approval. It could have something to do with the recent Olympic bid plebiscite as Colley-Urquart was a proponent and constituents in Ward 13 mostly voted against it.
Lucas plans to release more findings but offered a sneak preview into the top issues respondents felt the city was facing.
“We found that Calgarians think that transportation infrastructure issues are really important to them,” he said. “Business and economic issues, unsurprisingly are important to them, and also policing stuck out as being a really high priority for Calgarians.”