Around 100 people attended a “rally” on Saturday afternoon calling for the Calgary mayor to step down.
The City of Calgary said it received a notice-of-recall petition against the sitting mayor on Jan. 30, and has verified it complies with the recall criteria laid out in the Municipal Government Act.
The petition, organized by Landon Johnston, has from Feb. 5 to April 4 to collect 514,284 signatures from Calgarians who are eligible to vote.
That is around 64,000 signatures per week, or a signature from every household. According to the 2021 census, there are 502,300 households in Calgary. That means Johnston would need more than one signature per household.
Johnston organized a rally in front of Calgary city hall on Saturday in hopes of gathering more signatures. A Calgary Police Service spokesperson told Global News “no more than 100 people” came by to sign the petition throughout the day, and said most people left right after signing.
“I am here to get my voice heard, and it turns out a lot of people also want their voices heard,” Johnston told Global News on Saturday. “The support has been overwhelming.”
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Johnston said he was upset at Gondek “from the get-go,” saying her decisions affect his personal bank account. He added the single-use bylaw was the final straw, even though the city council voted to start the repeal process two weeks after it came into effect.
“It’s a very daunting number (to have a successful petition),” Johnston said. “It’s going to be next to impossible. We’re going to give hopefully everybody in the city an opportunity to sign the petition. By the time our 60 days are up, and if we only get 5,000 signatures, then that’s still a win because I wanted my voice heard.”
Global News reached out to Mayor Gondek’s office with a request for comment. Gondek previously said at a scheduled public hearing earlier this month the petition came as a surprise.
“There are times when you have to consider the future of the city and you’re making decisions in the best interest of opportunity and prosperity well into the future. There are folks that are troubled about why you’re not doing something more immediate,” Gondek said at the Feb. 6 public hearing.
“I think the job is complex, the decisions we make are incredibly complex. We’re happy to engage with the public at every turn, and we will stay focused on that.”
Councillors Dan McLean and Andre Chabot also said they won’t be supporting the petition at the public hearing.
–With files from Adam Toy and Adam MacVicar, Global News.
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