Business, economic growth top priority for Calgarians following election, polling says

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The economic focus continued with other top priorities named by Calgarians. Lowering taxes and reducing spending were the second- and third-highest priorities Calgarians have for their council post-election, polling found.

Large said this aligns with other poll findings including one where only a third of Calgarians gave the current council a positive rating when it comes to handling the municipal budget, with fewer than three per cent of respondents saying the city had done “excellent.”

Calgary Chamber of Commerce interim CEO Murray Sigler said the survey results, particularly about what Calgarians want from their next council, echo longstanding business concerns.

“It’s not surprising given what all our businesses are facing. Big and small businesses alike are facing a lot of pressures. Everything has changed, and everything is not going to go back to the way it was before,” Sigler said. “Our business community grasped that pre-pandemic, and I think they grasp it even more post-pandemic.”

Downtown Calgary was mostly empty and many businesses closed as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to cripple the economy on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Gavin Young/Postmedia
Downtown Calgary was mostly empty and many businesses closed as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to cripple the economy on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Gavin Young/Postmedia

Calgarians’ perceptions of city council’s handling of the economy have improved during the COVID-19 pandemic, Leger found. Half of Calgarians gave the city a positive review for their economic response during COVID-19, compared to 42 per cent for their handling of the economy before the pandemic began.

But that opinion could turn in the coming months as council decides how to pay for the cost of the pandemic, Large warned.

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