Mizanur Rahman says he’s always been passionate about political matters. His first foray into electoral politics was in 2015, when he ran for the provincial NDP in Calgary-West, finishing second. Since then, he’s come to sit on the board of directors of the UCP constituency association in Calgary Currie, a nearby district.
If elected mayor, he wants to see some major changes to the electoral process. For example, Rahman believes that career politicians hurt our democracy. He says that this can be aided by shortening the terms that representatives can sit for.
Beyond this, he feels that many of the candidates running for office start out at a disadvantage compared to those better equipped to fund their campaign. Finally, he wants to encourage more public participation in the democratic process.
Supporting and growing Calgary’s economy is also a big concern for Rahman. He especially feels the city needs to promote its local businesses and introduce legislation to protect them.
In addition to this, Rahman believes that building cultural developments will attract tourists and boost the local economy. One of Rahman’s initiatives would be to better mark International Mother Language Day on Feb. 21 to celebrate the city’s diversity.
The Calgary Journal asked our city’s mayoral candidates five questions about themselves and their campaigns. Here’s what Rahman told us:
More about Mizanur Rahman:
Web: Mizanur Rahman for Mayor of Calgary 2021
Facebook: Mizanur Rahman
5 Questions with Mizanur Rahman:
Megan Creig: What issue is the most important to you as a mayoral candidate and how will you solve it?
Mizanur Rahman: Thank you very much, important questions to ask to me. The most important concern we have right now is our electoral process. I have my platform in order to enhance the democracy.
[…] Our three councillors, they are running for the upper positions as mayoral and they are working and taking money from the public purse and also leveraging, so their positions are in order to get attention from the donor, voter, the sponsor and also different media.
And other candidates, they don’t have this kind of level field playing, so it could be considered as a conflict of interest, but I don’t see it that way. But still, it is a concern in democracy.
I have already been educated by some other reporter that said that since we are living in a democratic society, our Elections Calgary needs to be independent. But it’s a part of the city of Calgary, so since the incumbent are sitting in the public chair, obviously, any kind of pious could be coming from that administration too.
So this is the biggest concern, it is not me only, it is all of the mayoral candidates, except three people, and also in our society, the voters. They have the same concerns in order to vibrant our democracy.
Why should young people vote for you?
It is also another important question because, as you can see, why don’t we have the meeting in our city councils? At that time, if you look at that, there is not enough audience in the council because there are so many areas where we have all the struggles.
For example, the people that would like to go over there cannot park because parking is expensive downtown, and public engagement, actually. Without a virtual part, just meeting in person, is not that kind of facility over there because since this city still is considered as a epicenter, that is also one problem.
Another problem is that like many people, those who have a single mother don’t have any daycare to put the children. [..] So my preference is to participate in person, not virtually. Virtually, it does not fabricate that much culture, particularly. […]
If the term limit is there, then to the young people, those who are coming from the university like you or maybe other people, that they are going to have it and inspire the culture in order to sit in the public positions.
But when our public positions are occupied for 27 years and turned into career politicians, then the young people do not have any room to sit in order to give public service. That’s why I have plans to make two term limits.
Also, when our city council is to consider, as in non-partisan organizations, the party’s non-partisan organization does not fabricate the political culture in our city. So I have intentions to turn into our city council, into the political culture and to the people they attend to and nominated by their political party to sit in the public chair or in independence.
That’s the way the political culture will develop and enhance, and young people will be able to sit in the public chair. That is the plan I have. That’s why the young people are going to vote for me.
So let’s say that you have some downtime in your campaign, which local bar, restaurant or coffee shop would you go to?
I like to go to 17 avenue, 5th Street on the corner, National on 17th avenue.
What’s one TV show or movie that helped you get through the pandemic?
Yeah, TV show. Yes, obviously, because to get through the pandemic, first of all, we need to have it democratically followed because the people’s reason why they need to have a vaccine or not is their democratic right.
But at the same time, there’s people that have decided not to have the vaccine but democratically, they don’t have any right either to be spreading the effects, diseases and viruses to somebody else.
So since we are living in very much unprecedented times, we need to have some kind of documents to do that in order for people to understand that we are living in an unprecedented time. We obviously have to depend right now with science and our medical system.
Calgary is in a difficult economic place right now and many young people are looking for opportunities elsewhere. What would you do to help the city prosper as we move out of the pandemic?
Since our city council, or since our city’s economic problem started before the pandemic, we cannot even blame it on the pandemic because our downtown was already 27 per cent empty spaces before the pandemic.
I could say that because of the dysfunctionality of our city council, I need to have the toxic culture in it cleared. In order to do that, I need to have an ideological platform.
Without an ideological platform even the upcoming administrations, if it is the same, will be again dysfunctional, which the Calgarians cannot afford any more. Since raising our funds is pretty much right now at a $154 million threshold, we cannot go down more than that.
So that means this is finished. So how can I be able to have the economy turned around for the young people? It is also a concern.
First of all, in order to have it revamp the downtown, the city council has been approved $200 million and one to a billion dollars for 10 years. I’m not angry with that because, first of all, in order to have a revamp I will still emphasize our oil and gas, because we need to have the money in order to develop our economical perspective.
At the same time, I will try to have it build up our tech industry, our flame industry, our tourism industry and our music industry [..].
In order to do that I need to have it encompass the outer cities like Airdrie, Chestermere. In order to have a mix of some kinds of economical ties and to make it greater Calgary.
So that’s the way that young people will find more opportunities in colleges and in the music industry, and also in the tech industry and flame industry. So that’s the way that I can do that.
Also, I’d like to have the downtown clean, like the people who are vulnerable and sitting on the street would. They need to live in a better place and they need to lead a normal life. I want to make sure that our downtown is clean, and in order for the tourism industry to build up and as well as to make it culturally vibrant, I need to build one monument, which is called the International Mother Language Monument.
UNESCO has already declared February 21 the International Mother Language Day. All of the nation’s peoples’ different languages, the people who are coming here so they can celebrate their language’s identity on the specific day, will be vibrant.
I know that if I would like to make a picture, I cannot make a picture with one colour. I need to have a different colour to make the picture. So that’s the way that I try to bring all of the nations, regardless of black, white, yellow, it doesn’t matter. We need to have the culture in order to make the beautiful picture and present it to you.