I have been critical of the recall effort against Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek. The bar for recall was purposely set impossibly high by former Premier Jason Kenney and I still think the proponents of the recall, no matter how well-meaning are pissing in the wind if they think they will get over 500,000 signatures. I wrote as much in the Western Standard last week.
That said, I am always impressed by citizen engagement efforts and took the time to go downtown to see the recall kickoff event for myself. I understand fully why people want to get rid of Gondek as soon as possible. She is the least popular mayor in Calgary’s history and for good reason.
Strangely but perhaps not surprisingly, the powers that be didn’t allow the event to be held in front of city hall and they kicked the group onto the backside of the building. This caused confusion and the location is in a much lower traffic spot with limited visibility. City officials never dare to punt the pro-Hamas protesters to the back of the building when they hold unsanctioned protests, but in light of Gondek’s track record of antisemitism, I guess that isn’t surprising.
Still, hundreds of people found their way to the back and got in line to sign the petition forms. I don’t know how many people came in total as it wasn’t a rally. It was a signing event. People didn’t tend to stay around as there weren’t speakers or chants and such. They signed the forms and perhaps took blanks so they could help garner more signatures on their own. I never saw fewer than a couple hundred at any given time from about 1 pm to 3 pm. With people coming and going, the number of attendees surely passed 1,000 over the course of the event.
Having a thousand or even a few thousand people come out still wouldn’t strike fear into the hearts of the establishment. Getting the 514,000 signatures on physical forms from eligible Calgary voters in 60 days is going to require a much bigger initiative.
Still, the very prospect of people organizing against Gondek appears to have drawn the ire of the legacy media outlets in Calgary. They went out of their way to grossly understate the turnout. Global, CTV and the Herald all reported an estimated 100 people based on the report of some unnamed police officer and it was referred to disparagingly in quotations as a “rally”.
I know Global had a reporter there. I saw them. Why then did they use a stock photo of Gondek giving a speech rather than a picture of the event? Why did other outlets parrot that ridiculous lowball figure for the turnout?
Even if the turnout was limited, it still appears to have made the establishment, including legacy media outlets nervous for some reason. Legacy media outlets are always overjoyed to report on any gathering of over 12 people from the rainbow crowd as a groundswell of support, yet they fell over themselves to try and dismiss the recall event turnout. Even if they honestly reported the number as being in the hundreds, it still shouldn’t be such a fearful thing to do should it?
This sort of trash reporting is why viewership and readership numbers for legacy media outlets are swirling the toilet. The turning point for many was during the vile, biased coverage of the Trucker’s Convoy event in Ottawa, and trust in legacy media outlets has only continued to drop ever since.
I was impressed by the attitudes of the people who came out to the event and have nothing but admiration for the gumption and effort made by Landon Johnston. He appears to be a genuine, concerned citizen who decided to get up and try to use the democratic tools at his disposal to make change and good on him! That is true, grassroots activism at its best. It’s too bad Kenny rendered those tools inoperable.
If legacy media outlets went that far out of their way to try to dismiss this movement, the movement must be on the right track.
I still don’t think the petition has a hope in hell of succeeding, but it is engaging people. It is offering Calgarians a means to express their discontent with a terrible mayor and hopefully, those people are networking. The people working on the petition today should be working on the election to replace Gondek next year. They also have exposed just how bad Jason Kenney’s recall legislation is and perhaps it will encourage Premier Smith to fix it.
If you want to help with the petition or just add your signature, click here.
And be sure to share yet another example of legacy media deceiving citizens. Those old institutions need to dry up sooner rather than later.