UCP government 'the most incompetent' he's seen, Calgary's mayor says

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi had some harsh words for Jason Kenney, his government and his most recent policies on combating COVID-19's fourth wave on Thursday.

Speaking on CTV News' Power Play, the mayor of Alberta's largest city said the Kenney government was "the most incompetent he's ever seen."

"The premier apologized in one sentence and he then proceeded to spend an hour justifying all of his decisions rather than being able to move forward," Nenshi said.

He also had tough words over the government's implementation of its restriction exemption program.

"They tried so hard to thread the needle last night because they just refused to say the word 'vaccine passport.' The minister of economic development said 'The term vaccine passport is a made-up term by the media,' whatever that means."

Nenshi also isn't sure about how it works either.

"We think it means if you have a vaccine passport system, we're not going to close you down. If you don't have one – we may or may not," he said.

"It's ridiculous, it's silly, it puts the onus on businesses and frankly, it's cruel. It's cruel to people who want government to do the right thing and it's cruel to business owners who have already been through way too much."

The Alberta government's restriction exemption program comes into effect for restaurants and other venues on Sept. 20.

Nenshi also had a message for the city.

"My message to Calgarians has been (that) I know you're mad, everyone is mad by the way - no one was mollified by the decisions last night - I know you're angry, I know you're disappointed, I know you're sad, but you know what? Put it away in a drawer.

"If you're a business owner," he added, "just pretend they actually put in a (mandatory) vaccine passport and get ready to implement it."

"If you're a citizen," he said, continuing, "feel comfortable supporting small business, because the person sitting at the next table is vaccinated, and support those businesses to the best of your ability."


Nenshi, who is in the final weeks of his mayoralty, has made a habit of asking Calgarians to be kind to one another throughout the pandemic, but drew the line Thursday.

"I'm not saying have empathy for the bozos who protest in front of hospitals," he said. "We don't need to have empathy for them anymore - but we should have empathy for the storekeepers, the retail workers, the restaurant servers and those just struggling to get by."

Nenshi added that Calgarians should also feel comforted by the fact that the city has some of the finest emergency management personnel in the world.

"Your city government knows what it's doing," he said.

"We'll take care of you as best we can. And together, we'll get through this."