Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Mayor Nenshi - "Adult Conversation"

During his election campaign Mayor Nenshi repeatedly used the phrase; "adult conversation"

Some examples.

In short, they engaged Calgarians, in Nenshi’s words, in “adult conversations.” This was not a campaign of sound bites; it was a campaign of thoughtfulness.

He fields an aggressive question about raising taxes. Nenshi won’t promise not to (“if any candidate tells you that, they’re lying”), and argues for an “adult conversation” about priorities.

You get the idea. Personally I didn't much care for the phrase. To me it sent the message that all conversations up to that point had somehow been childish. I found it condescending.

Alas, he became our mayor and I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt; that what he really meant was that he simply wanted to change the tone and direction of the conversation.

However over the last couple of months I'm seeing less of the "breath of fresh air" approach and more of an "I know best" and others opinions be damned. One area where we have seen this in his recent run ins with fellow council members.

There has been evidence on Twitter as well.  Yes, there is a lot of good to be said about a person in public office who uses Twitter. However, in Mayor Nenshi's case he has gotten to the point where he simply answers puff ball questions, he deflects and/or outright ignores people.

As was the case in my very brief discussion with him last night.
Click on image to enlarge.

When he realized where my line of questioning was going he quickly deflected back to the "lawyers".

Does he answer my follow up questions, no. Once again goes into ignore mode.

By the way, if you enjoy your time on Twitter, I highly recommend against challenging Mayor Nenshi unless of course you have very thick skin. He has a huge following with blinders on. Tweet something positive, they will retweet like lemmings. Tweet something less than flattering, they turn to piranha and you will be thoroughly attacked. Actually, I'm quite certain this blog posting will get me sent to the Twitter gallows.

At any rate, I've determined that in my case, Mayor Nenshi and I can't have an adult conversation on Twitter. So I'm sending him an email and see if we can have success when not limited to 140 characters.


  1. I had Nenshi as a prof and he is arrogant as they come. His version of an adult conversation is one sided. In mind he is the adult everyone else are "students" or kids.

  2. I also had nenshi as a prof and had very much the same experience.

    Everyone laughed when he was asked to leave the UofC.....

  3. Wait ... he was ASKED to leave UofC?

  4. Just a reminder to readers.

    Anonymous comments without any evidence should be taken with a HUGE grain of salt.

  5. Anon left this comment, but now I can't find it back. I may have hit delete rather than publish by mistake. Either way here it is.

    "Part of the secret to his electoral success was the Twitter piranhas. Sounds like a new hashtag to me."

  6. In his case it would be #purplepiranhas

  7. My husband was outright ignored on Twitter by Mayor Nenshi but when he was talked down to by another tweeter, Nenshi responded to that. So my husband sent an email to him. The response was a nice neat little form letter so he asked for more information to which Nenshi sent him to his blog.

    I don't see any of this as "adult conversation." It seemed more like the internet version of avoiding eye contact.

  8. While I do believe Twitter may have helped him, when you don't lead any of the polls, it really comes down to word of mouth. While I do have twitter and used it during the election, I found that the majority of people that were around me do not even use twitter and found out purely by word of mouth or going to the debates.

    Twitter users following the election in Calgary were a very small percentage of the base of all Calgarians.

    That being said, his response was definitely on the condescending side, but I imagine that is something that comes with the irritation of dealing with the people yelling "get off my lawn" instead of focusing on real changes in the world that I believe they are more than capable of.

  9. Daniel,

    You bring up a very good point. Twitter users following the election in Calgary WERE a very small percentage of the base of all Calgarians.

    In fact, they still are.

    We can estimate there are approximately 20,000 Calgarians using Twitter. We don't know, however, whether those are dormant accounts or people who signed up just to follow Nenshi and never returned.

    What we can surmise, however, is that it appears to be a monumental waste of our mayor's time to be spending any more than a small portion of his time on a 2% of the population.