Candidate for Ward 13, Dan McLean, who entered the race for city council earlier this year, is now facing the issue of vandalism as dissatisfied Calgarians deface his signs.
Born near Camrose outside Edmonton, McLean has made a name for himself this election cycle in wanting to change how the municipal government operates.
“From what I’ve seen at City Hall over the last few cycles, a lot of what goes on happens behind closed doors, and I’d like to know what that is,” said McLean. He previously campaigned for third-runner up Leslyn Lewis for the 2020 Conservative party of Canada leadership, but now, McLean is entering the political arena himself.
“When you work with different people at different levels, you wonder where you can be most effective,” McLean said. “I look at municipal politics; it’s my own backyard, it’s where I’ve lived, and I believe consensus is key.”
McLean attributes Calgary's issues to a lack of transparency within City Hall.
“I go down there on Monday mornings, and who knows if they’re being pushed around or strong-armed off camera, so I want to see more business being conducted out in the open,” said McLean. He's famously rallied against the so-called “golden handshake,” – a financial severance package for city hall members leaving their positions.
“They can work for six years and get a pension. Most employers don’t offer a big payout if you decide to go work for someone else.”
McLean is interested in the possibility of introducing wage freezes, hiring freezes, and term limits. “I’m not going to pretend I know everything. I’ll defer to experts that know how to look at this kind of thing because I think everybody should play to their strengths,” said McLean. “But this city is hurting, and there’s savings in City Hall.”
Certainly, this willingness to shake up the establishment may not sound great to everyone - which may explain the actions of certain vandals.
McLean also promotes a new vision in wanting to maintain a business-oriented lens towards local government. “A city is just a big corporation. It’s about providing a service in the most cost-effective and efficient manner,” he said. However, he doesn't wholly identify with any major federal party. “I would say that I’m fiscally Conservative, but on social issues I’m quite Liberal, and the city doesn’t really have any mandate over social issues,” said McLean. “The government doesn’t belong in people’s bedrooms in the first place.”
It should also be noted that vandalism isn't just an petty issue affecting municipal-level politics this election cycle. Given the heated nature of the 2021 federal election with emotions running high from the fallout of COVID, even federal politicians are having to grapple with the issue. Poilievre recently posted a video on his Facebook page of someone defacing his signs in his riding of Carleton, asking for help in identifying the vandal.