Written by: Rachel Antony
1. Mayor Nenshi Re-elected
After a chaotic election day on Monday, Naheed Nenshi is returning to office for his third term as Mayor. Even though there were long line ups and a short supply of ballots, Calgarians got their vote in. Bill Smith, one of the other leading contenders came short with 43.73% off the votes compared to Nenshi’s 51.41%. Although there were a large number of Calgarians who wanted to see Nenshi out of office after years of dwindling oil prices and a depressing economy, Nenshi still has a loyal following of supporters that made sure he stayed in office. It was great for the city to see so many people come out to vote – there was a 58% voter turn out, a significant increase compared to the 39% turnout in the 2013 civic election.
2. Gord Downie
Tragically Hip frontman, Gord Downie, passed away on Tuesday night at the young age of 53. He was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in December 2015 and announced it to the world in May just before the release of their latest album, Man Machine Poem. Fans had the opportunity to see the band perform last summer during their final tour across Canada. Since the announcement of his death, condolences have been pouring in from all parts of Canada and across the globe where Gord Downie and his music touched so many people. His influence will live on through the Canadian bands the Hip took under their wings and nurtured, such as The Arkells, Rheostatics, Sarah Harmer, Sam Roberts Band and so many more. Gord Downie was a Canadian role model and one of the greatest musicians Canada as seen.
3. Quebec’s Niqab Ban
Bill 62 on religious neutrality was passed on Wednesday requiring one’s face to be uncovered when giving or receiving public services such as being a doctor or taking the bus. Premier Philippe Couillard commented, “I should see your face, and you should see mine. It’s as simple as that.” The bill doesn’t exclusively say the niqab or burka were banned, however Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée said the bill aims to establish “neutrality of the state.” As expected, the new law is being criticized for targeting Muslim Canadian women, a minority group that is already facing a significant rise in hate crime. The law will more than likely be challenged as most Canadians aren’t happy with Quebec’s decision.
4. Amazon’s HQ2
Amazon is on the hunt for a North American city to house HQ2, its second headquarters. They are promising 50,000 high paying jobs and a US$5-billion investment – what city wouldn’t want that economic boost? Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Ottawa, Edmonton and Calgary are the Canadian cities that will be submitting proposals today. Although it sounds like a great deal for any city, there are some drawbacks to having such a large organization come to a city. Local startups who rely on tech talent will have a hard time competing with Amazon salaries. The job market in general will be affected as Amazon would pull a lot of workers away from other companies. It would also push up the housing market if 50,000 people start making more money and would increase road and transit traffic across the city. However, former Mayor Greg Nickels said the first headquarters opening up in Seatle in 2010 was more beneficial than not.
5. NBA Opening Night
The NBA is back – the opening night was on Wednesday with Celtics vs Cavaliers and Warriors vs Rockets. The double header was dramatic and exciting, just what sports fans are looking for. The rivalry between LeBron James and Kyrie Irving was highly anticipated, and it looks like the trade is everything Irving dreamed of – not having to play in the shadow of LeBron and having chances like shooting a game-changing three. Even with Irving, Gordon Hayward, season ending, gruesome ankle injury puts a damper on the team as he was the big free-agency acquisition of the off-season. The Houston Rockets beat the defending champs, pulling off the upset with a 122-121 win. The opening night is a reminder that anything can happen in the world of sports; get ready for what hopefully is an exciting season.