By Andrew Ross
Former Arkansas Governor and 42nd President of the United States William Jefferson Clinton may soon add another title to his already-impressive resume: Mayor of the City of Calgary. Although the wildly popular Democrat has yet to announce officially that he will be throwing his hat in the ring, speculation is rampant. Sources close to the Clintons have indicated that he is seriously considering running for the position in October’s general election.
Earlier this year, many had suggested that Clinton could run for the position of Mayor of New York City. However, Clinton has indicated that he believed NYC wouldn’t be much of a challenge. He cited the fact that New York is predominantly Democrat-leaning, and also noted that the city has already established itself as a trendy and modern metropolis on the world stage.
"Furthermore, I’d just be living in Hillary’s shadow," he said. "It’s gonna be bad enough when she’s President, I don’t need to be in her shadow right now."
In response to concerns about Clinton’s eligibility-specifically regarding the residency requirements-Prime Minister Jean Chrétien indicated that "you know, Billy and I, we go way back, so I’m sure we can work something out there, eh?"
At a press conference Tuesday, Calgary Varsity MP Rob Anders released a statement declaring his intentions.
"I apologize in advance to my constituents and my party for vehemently opposing the granting of Canadian Citizenship to Mr. Clinton," he said. "While I realize this action is inappropriate, I also have to stay true to my conscience. While Mr. Clinton is not a terrorist or a Communist like [Former South African President Nelson] Mandela, he has engaged in sex outside of wedlock, which is equally reprehensible."
Anders’ apology was simultaneously accepted on behalf of the Alliance Party by both Chuck Strahl and Stockwell Day.
While he did not commit to anything, Clinton did touch on several issues of concern while visiting the Calgary Tower Monday.
"If I were to run, I would be addressing issues such as the poor, the underemployed, and the urban environment," said Clinton. "To all of you in Calgary who don’t have anything to eat tonight, who don’t have anywhere to sleep, I want you to know that I feel your pain, eh?"
Clinton also indicated that he would solve the city’s traffic and pollution problems and improve the state of the city’s schools.
"I really think I could do great things for this city," said Clinton. "Hey, I’ve got some crazy connections. I know all the right people to get things done for this city."
Al Gore, former Vice-president of the United States and former presidential candidate, has come to Calgary to start over. This was the message at his press conference in the lobby of the Palliser Hotel on Friday.
"I really felt like I needed to make a clean break from the [United] States and get a fresh start somewhere else," the Tennessee-born statesman told a crowd of reporters. "Calgary feels like home, only without the constant reminders of my electoral failure, and also the road signs and the weather reports don’t make any sense."
When asked about his future plans, Gore indicated that he intended to stay in Calgary, and also that he will be seeking the office of Mayor in the fall.
Gore moved to Calgary in January. Despite his lack of establishment in the city, many pundits are already hailing Gore as the clear favourite in the Mayoral race.
"Basically, Al Gore is the incumbent in this race," explained commentator Sergei McGraw. "I estimate that anywhere from 60-80 per cent of Calgarians won’t be able to tell the difference between Al Gore and [outgoing Mayor] Al Duerr."
Calgary Centre MP Joe Clark concurred with McGraw.
"They sound alike, they act alike, they look a bit alike, and they are equally exciting individuals. For all intents and purposes, they might as well be the same man."
While it has been pointed out that Duerr’s wife, Kit Chan, has little in common with Tipper Gore the fact remains that Duerr and Gore are two very selflike men.
The Gore campaign is already showing signs that it will be taking full advantage of the phenomenon they are calling "candidate homogeny." The campaign signs which were unveiled at the press conference read simply, "Vote for Al," and "Al for Mayor."
Although several critics do not agree that Gore can pass for Duerr on the ballot, the consensus is that if he does convince the populace that he is "another Duerr," his victory in October is virtually guaranteed.
"Calgarians hate change; they have a paranoid, irrational fear of change," observed Dr. Noel Chung, a noted expert on Albertan politics. "Whichever candidate is most successful in portraying themselves as offering more of the same will be the candidate most likely to win."