A Calgary city councillor who is not running in the upcoming municipal election is part of a new political action committee that will endorse councillor candidates.
Ward 12 Coun. Shane Keating announced the formation of the Responsible Representation Political Action Committee on Wednesday.
The third-party advertiser will aim to help Calgarians research and support candidates for councillor in each ward, Keating said.
The committee's members — whom Keating described as representing a "vast political stripe" — will evaluate candidates based on "high-quality traits" that include problem-solving, relationship-building and financial acumen.
It was created as a response to an "unprecedented number" of new members set to sit on city council after October's election, Keating said.
The election will result in at least nine new city councillors around the table, and Keating said it has the potential to be one of the most consequential votes in Calgary's history.
"The last number of years have been difficult. We've endured a long period of economic stagnation, as well as the global COVID-19 pandemic," Keating said.
"It's evident that people in our city are hurting, and that means we need a council that can create and implement a stronger direction that will steer Calgary to the bright future we believe is to come."
Group will support but not collude with candidates, says Keating
According to Keating, the committee was established after provincial changes in contribution regulations and the ability of third-party advertisers to support candidates.
Its members include entrepreneur Lourdes Juan, non-profit strategist Sally Mansour, community board director Jaydel Gluckie, and Keating himself.
Keating said his involvement with the group will not compromise his work on council in his final few months in office, and the move has been cleared by city council's ethics adviser.
"I really want to leave the city better than I found it, and I think that's really what got me going in this direction," Keating said.
The committee plans to endorse one candidate in each of the 14 wards, and advertise on their behalf.
It has a fundraising target of $40,000 per candidate.
However, Keating said it will not collude with those candidates — operating, instead, in "total separation" — and will also likely stay away from weighing in on the mayoral race.
"We believe, in many ways, [the mayoral race] is a different type of atmosphere, a different type of position," Keating said.
"You must be visionary, you must be able to be extremely collaborative … but at the same time, the mayor has one vote. And if you have 14 councillors who are very high quality, then you know that the direction is going to go in the right way."