There are many many problems with authoritarian socialism.
One of the biggest ones is that whenever a government tries to create a worker’s paradise of their own modeling, those damned people of talent, ambition and work ethic all try to get the hell out.
That is why we have never seen people boarding rickety rafts and trying to enter Cuba, Venezuela or the Vietnam of old. Did we ever see people scaling the wall to fight their way into East Berlin? How often do we see people sneaking into North Korea?
While Naheed Nenshi would love to have the authority of the leadership of the aforementioned nations, he has to make due with the powers bestowed upon him as a Mayor. That means he has to be more creative in his means to stop the outflow of capital and people from the city-state that he has been trying to create.
You see, Nenshi’s decade long effort to create a hipsters paradise where the majority of the population lives in the inner city while taking transit or riding bikes to work has been an utter catastrophe. Businesses and residents have fled the overtaxed and bikelane congested city core leading to a 30% downtown vacancy rate while city buses drive empty. Yes, the pandemic creates a handy immediate excuse but this has been happening for years now.
The problem is that Nenshi can’t cork the bottle. New businesses are setting up shop just outside of Calgary city limits while citizens are moving to homes in Airdrie, Cochrane, Okotoks and Strathmore who have all seen growth booms since Nenshi’s city regime came to power.
People won’t sit still and take it! Those unwashed ingrates just don’t know what is good for them!
While Nenshi can’t build a literal wall to keep working Calgarians and businesses within his little fiefdom, he can try to put up invisible ones.
Nenshi has long pushed for a municipal government plan which would give him control over the development of neighboring communities. Thankfully, even Notley knew better than to give Naheed such powers. Now Nenshi is trying a new route.
The city of Calgary can’t even managed their planning year by year. They sure as hell can’t look ahead by 30 years.
What Nenshi really wants to do is annex the land and simply sit on it. The city can then refuse all outward development and try to force the flow of growth back into the core. This effort would of course fail and we would see a growth boom in Red Deer but this reality doesn’t deter Nenshi in trying to see his urban plans realized by any means possible.
There is little love for Naheed Nenshi’s administration within the UCP government and I suspect that they will not be facilitating His Worship’s plans.
All the same, it should be noted just how far Nenshi is willing to go to try and create his own little urban planning utopia against the will of the actual citizens.
Especially in an election year.