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Monday, November 08, 2010

Tales of Two Alberta Cities and Two Civic Election Campaigns

Scott McKeen entered the Edmonton election race late and naively - by his own admission.  Naheed Nenshi quickly jumped into the Calgary race for Mayor once he heard the incumbent was not running.  Scott's piece is in the Edmonton Journal and Naheed's runs in the Calgary Herald.  Both are different but great pieces of personal perspective journalism.

The results are different in each case - very different - but the first person story of Scott's amazing adventure into politics is a poignant, funny and very realistic account for a rookie campaigner.  Worth a read for every wannabe candidate to come.  There will be lots of elections in the next year or so.  Reading Scott's rendering of his campaign and himself will give you an easy way to get insight about what you are getting into - without the sword of partisan politics hanging over the head of any federal or provincial candidate.

The other story is about the game changing Nenshi campaign for Mayor in Calgary.  He has single handedly changed the stereo type of Cowtown politics and culture.  They are not yet up to the Nenshi persona of an educated, worldly, business savvy and still authentically connected to the emerging diversity of Calgary and being beyond just doing the next deal.  "Campaigning in full sentences" is the tag line Nenshi borrowed from the Don Iveson campaign for Councillor in the City of Edmonton 2007.  Don's campaign was the first to use social media as an outreach technique, community building effort and intelligence gathering tool to amplify conventional campaign tactics.  Don beat a sure-thing incumbent not unlike Nenshi's trouncing of the presumptive winners of the establishment candidates.

There are other example of up-start candidates using new connectivity and community creating techniques of social media to upstage and defeat convention yesterday type incumbents - all over the province.  The world of politics has changed.  The world of election campaigns has changed. The world of good governing is about to change too. All of this is because of the Internet and the power shift from institutions and establishments to individuals.  Citizenship matters again and candidates cum politicians had better get with the program.