Naheed Nenshi announced Tuesday that he will not be seeking re-election as Mayor of Calgary and said not seeking a fourth term is a "difficult decision" after months of speculation about his future in office.
"I’m absolutely filled with gratitude for all of the Calgarians who not only supported me but, more importantly, supported the city and the remarkable things that have happened in the city over the last 10 years," said Mayor Nenshi on Tuesday evening on Global News.
Naheed Nenshi became Canada’s first Muslim mayor in 2010, winning 39 percent of the total vote. He didn’t just become the first Muslim mayor in Canada, but in all of North America, as well.
Nenshi called his move "a personal decision" and does not have any plans for what he’ll do after his term ends on Oct. 25, Global News reported.
The mayor’s announcement comes during a time as Calgary faces ongoing economic shutdowns as the coronavirus pandemic swept through Canada.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Nenshi was skeptical on whether or not it was "irresponsible" to leave Calgary its current state but believes it’s time for the city to hear "new voices."
"If we’ve learned anything this year, we’ve learned that there are many voices: new voices, diverse voices, young voices — there are many voices that don’t feel heard in our current system," Nenshi said. "Maybe it makes sense to give them some space now, to make some room for these new ideas and these new voices."
"It was important for me to remember that it’s not about me and that there are so many Calgarians — my colleagues at the City of Calgary, public servants, people working in the private and the non-profit sectors, people making a difference at the local ice rink in their neighbourhood — there are so many Calgarians who love this city and will continue to do the work of making the city even better," the mayor added.
In 2015, Nenshi was awarded the World Mayor Prize, an honour awarded every two years by the City Mayors Foundation, an international urban research institute, Global News reported.
The foundation said to have chosen Nenshi because he is “an urban visionary who doesn’t neglect the nitty-gritty of local government.”
A state of local emergency has been declared just three times in the city of Calgary’s history, and Nenshi has been mayor for each.
With his term ending on Oct. 25, Nenshi plans to finish major projects with his biggest task being the government granting affordable housing.