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Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, left, makes a campaign stop with candidate Happy Mann, centre, and candidate Ron Leech, in Calgary, Alta., Friday, April 20, 2012.

Jeff McIntosh/THE CANADIAN PRESS

After demanding and receiving a response from a Wildrose candidate in hot water, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has backed off without either endorsing or condemning a party.

Mr. Nenshi spoke out earlier this week after Wildrose candidate Ron Leech, who happens to be running in Mr. Nenshi's home riding, suggested he had an advantage because he's white and that Sikh and Muslim politicians tend to speak to their ethnic groups. Mr. Nenshi (who is Muslim) fired back, demanding to know if Mr. Leech did indeed believe that. (Mr. Leech has said it several times, including in a YouTube video that popped up Friday. In it, he said Punjabi leaders speak only to Punjabi voters, while Caucasian elected representatives have the attention of the broader public.)

Mr. Leech has been under fire, and has since said that all candidates can represent each community. Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said, meanwhile, her party won't tolerate discrimination (but hasn't been keen to slap down Mr. Leech or other candidates).

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Nonetheless, Mr. Leech's response has appeased Calgary's mayor.

"I am pleased that we have now received strong statements from all five party leaders on this topic. It's now up to the voters to decide. Regardless of our divisions on political issues, we are all Albertans, and on Tuesday morning [after election day]we all need to get back to building our great province. I hope that we can now talk about other important issues, like cities," Mr. Nenshi said in a statement issued Friday afternoon.

He urged voters to visit citiesmatter.ca, a website run by Mr. Nenshi's office where he solicited and posted responses from each party on 10 municipal issues.

The mayor didn't say who he'd personally be voting for.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Josh is a parliamentary reporter in Ottawa. Before moving to the nation's capital in 2013, he covered provincial affairs in Edmonton and throughout Alberta. He joined the Globe in 2008 in Toronto before returning to his home province in 2010. More

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