Farkas courting business interests and public denial as civic voting looms

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Some members of the Calgary business community are circling around Jeromy Farkas’ campaign for mayor as the city run nears halfway.

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Oilman Jim Gray and developer and former Senator Ron Ghitter host a reception and meet with Farkas on Monday at the Petroleum Club which they tout as a “heart to heart” with the mayoral candidate, according to an email obtained by Postmedia .

A ThinkHQ poll released last week showed Farkas and Jyoti Gondek leading the race, but a sizable group of undecided voters remain, at 28 percent of respondents. But it’s high time to make a choice: advance polls begin Monday and polling day is just over two weeks away, October 18.

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In an interview on Friday, Gray said around 50 people have been invited to next week’s event, and he expects 20 or 30 more to attend via Zoom. Ghitter described the guests as friends and acquaintances of their own, some of whom are still trying to decide on their vote.

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Both men said they remained undecided on which mayoral candidate to support, but they were leaning towards Farkas. They said they have had meetings with other mayoral candidates, but not something as substantial as the kind of event they are planning for next week.

“We just decide, bring people together and see what we think about it,” Ghitter said. “It’s not like we’re committing at this point. . . We are concerned citizens and we would like our friends and ourselves to know a little more about a candidate for mayor.

Ghitter said he plans to both publicly support and donate money to the mayoral campaign he chooses.

In the past, Gray has been the head of the so-called “ad hoc committee” urging the council to abandon Green Line plans to dig a tunnel under the city center. But he and Ghitter said that event and election was not about the Green Line, which has now confirmed provincial and federal government funding and approval.

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A spokesman for Farkas confirmed on Friday that the mayoral candidate will attend the reception, as he “accepts as many invitations as possible to speak to people before the vote.”

At the same time, a certain retreat from the public towards Farkas is brewing. There have been reports of election stickers found around town urging voters to “For goodness sake don’t elect” Farkas. And recently a online campaign emerged criticizing Farkas for his various opposition votes on the council. He specifically highlights some of his “non-notables” and draws attention to the number of times he has voted no compared to his fellow council members over the past year.

Gray and Ghitter both said they were concerned about the presence of union money in this year’s election. Several of the unions that represent city employees have contributed funds to Calgary’s future, a third-party advertiser that has supported candidate councilors in almost every neighborhood and actively advertises to support them.

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There are two APTs specifically dedicated to supporting mayoral candidates: Jeff Davison and Teddy Ogbonna. Calgary’s Future did not get the mayor’s endorsement, but Lead Calgary, who is dedicated to supporting more conservative candidates, has now approved Farkas.

A total of 27 people are vying to be Calgary’s next mayor.

Former Reform Party Leader Preston Manning also promoted the reception in an additional email, where he notes that Farkas has often been an “opposing” voice during the council’s last term with Naheed Nenshi as mayor.

“However, it is important for someone in this position to clearly understand the difference between being in opposition and becoming the constructive leader of civic government,” Manning wrote.

“Based on my recent discussions with him, I think Jeromy clearly understands and appreciates this difference and is now ready and willing to move on to a more positive and constructive role as mayor and leader of a new team at the city ​​Hall. “

Farkas previously worked with the Manning Center before becoming a city councilor.


Visit Calgary Votes 2021 for all your election news.

[email protected]

Twitter: @meksmith

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