Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi won’t be running in the municipal election in the fall.
Nenshi, the first Muslim mayor of a big Canadian city when he was elected in October 2010, made the announcement Tuesday on social media.
The 49-year-old, who has a master’s degree from Harvard University, has served as mayor of Calgary for three terms.
He said leading the city has been the honour of his life.
“It was a tough decision to make but, ultimately, I think the right decision for me and I really hope the right decision for Calgary,” Nenshi said on a Facebook livestream.
He added that he’s not going anywhere and his family is fine, but it’s time to make room in the job for someone else.
Nenshi said he sought a lot of advice on the matter. But the hardest conversation he had was with himself.
“Is it irresponsible at this moment to be passing on the baton at such a critical time for Calgary when we’re facing so many different things?”
Nenshi knew it would be his last term but hadn’t decided when to make it public.
“I made the decision last Thursday … now I’ve got to rip off the Band-Aid and tell people.”
Nenshi, who oversaw Calgary through massive flooding in 2013, said he never expected things could change so much with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Back in 2019 … I never thought this could be the last time I ride a horse in the Stampede parade. This could be the last time I push the buttons for the Canada Day fireworks.
“Like so many of us, COVID took a lot away and that is a bit of a regret for me.”
Before entering politics, Nenshi was a business professor at Calgary’s Mount Royal University and a management consultant.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 6, 2021.
The Canadian Press