Council criticized about its priorities as public safety heightens following string of violent crimes

The former vice-president of the Calgary Police Association issued a blistering attack on the city’s municipal politicians last week, saying city council is more focused on leaf blowers and birds rather than tackling the ongoing public safety crisis that has seen upwards of 50 shootings this year alone.

“When we’re looking at what’s going on in the community right now, I mean we’re averaging a shooting every two days,” said CPS member Mike Baker.

“Our council recently had a report card that wasn’t exactly glowing and instead of listening to what the people’s priories are, we see things like leaf blowers and civic birds and it’s just not appropriate.”

Baker also criticized the Calgary Police Commission stating that they are “focusing on the activism interest of councillors and a couple others.”

Baker believes members of council are undermining police officers, saying the service is short hundreds of positions, making it difficult to police the city.

Uproar from within the police service was sparked when the commission demanded officers remove the thin blue line patch on their uniforms, citing concerns around its messaging.


Mayor Jyoti Gondek responded to the criticism on Monday.

“When a few members are saying that this council is not paying attention, it’s not something that I’m paying attention to on Twitter,” said Gondek.

“We as a council are incredibly committed to making this a safe city for all Calgarians.”

There have been 11 homicides in the city in 2022.

A man is in hospital in stable condition following a shooting Thursday night in Coventry Hills


Superintendent Cliff O’Brien says gun crime is skyrocketing.

“25 years ago if we recovered a gun on a night shift somewhere in the city, it was once a week. It was big news,” said O’Brien.

“Last year we recovered over 1700 guns.”

He says many youth are involved in gun incidents, with more random attacks as a result.

“We’re seeing certainly organized crime, certainly drugs, but also road rage incidents,” said O’Brien.

“I don’t know why driving on a road gets people so upset that they’re going to pull a gun and point it at somebody or shoot at somebody.”

In 2022, O’Brien said the service has already seized 160 guns related to criminal matters.

“Public safety was one of my biggest issues on my campaign trail and it’s still important issue in my ward,” said Sonya Sharp, Ward 1 councillor.

“It’s one of the most important things happening right now with transit in Ward 1.”

Sonya Sharp, the new councillor for Ward 1

Ward 10’s Andre Chabot believes council is tied up in too many projects, and can understand the criticism.

“I think right now we need to focus on our core responsibilities and that (public safety) is one of them,” he said.

“And we (should not) weigh in on too many projects that fall under the authority of other orders of government.”


Ward 11’s Kourtney Penner was the councillor to bring forth a motion for the city to vote on the official bird.

She says public safety is a priority of council, with investments already being made.

“(Former) councillor (George) Chahal previously brought forward a motion to address this,” she said.

“It is not yet funded. So we actually saw that report come through community development committee not that long ago. But again, how do we catch people before they fall?”

One youth empowerment advocate says more resources are needed within communities to help keep children away from recruitment and criminal activity.


“I think we have an opportunity as a community to move forward fast before things get out of hand and become a sea of gun violence,” said Gar Gar, with youth empowerment and skills centre.

“When we start seeing an increase, from one shell case to five shell cases to six, you see that basically becoming a war.”

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