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Sound and fury, signifying nothing

Words like accountability, transparency, vibrancy and sustainability seem to be rolling off the tongues of all of Calgary’s mayoral candidates but what do they really mean?

Words like accountability, transparency, vibrancy and sustainability seem to be rolling off the tongues of all of Calgary’s mayoral candidates but what do they really mean?

According to one political scientist, the answer is nothing.

“It’s become so broad it literally means nothing, but it is the mantra that candidates feel they must use,” said associate professor at Mount Royal Keith Brownsey. He said one term that’s come up frequently in this year’s campaigning is “fiscal conservative.”

“Everyone that seems to be running for mayor is a fiscal conservative. I have no idea what that means,” he said.

Local blogger and writer for calgarypolitics.com Shane Byciuk said many of the candidates are using these terms without having the plans to implement them.

“They’ll mention ‘transparency’ but ... what will they do to enhance transparency?” asked Byciuk.

“They throw these buzz words out there as a way to legitimize their campaigns but honestly, they don’t really back it up by saying ‘here’s what I’ll do.’”

Calgarian James Paton said even though many candidates have been campaigning for months, he doesn’t really know what any of them stand for.

“It’s frustrating as a voter because with so many candidates running this year, it’s hard separate the ones that actually know what they’re talking about from the ones that don’t,” said Paton.

While the election may be less than a month away, Brownsey said it isn’t likely that platforms will become more specific.

“If you’re too specific, it opens you up to criticism and ... they don’t want that. They want to appeal to a broad mass of voters.”

 
 
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