Ep. 17: City hall's greatest hits

Ten current and former city hall reporters talk about their favourite memories with host Annalise Klingbeil. 1. Robson Fletcher invents a word that’s now part of the Calgary lexicon 2. The famous Lucas Meyer unveils his highlight reel of council impressions 3. Helen Pike on puns, zucchinis and threats 4. Bill Kaufmann reveals what happened in Las Vegas 5. Jason Markusoff, of the pearl-clutching media, chuckles in shock 6. Shawn Logan reflects on a time before strict...


Ep. 16: Alberta’s Opioid Crisis — 'There's no end in sight'

Across Alberta, there were 482 opioid-related accidental deaths in the first nine months of 2017. Take a minute to let that number sink in. Nearly two Albertans are dying every single day from fentanyl and other opioids, and there’s no end in sight. This crisis is killing young men at a higher rate than anyone else. The majority of victims are dying in their own homes, and in Calgary, most fatalities are occurring outside the downtown core, in the suburbs. Behind the startling...


Ep. 15: ‘We only really notice things when they’re gone’

For years, more than 30,000 drivers a day rolled by a long row of character homes along Memorial Drive, west of 10 Street N.W., with little thought. When a construction fence surrounded the homes, some Calgarians took note. After a bulldozer destroyed the vacated abodes, all of a sudden, citizens remarked that something was missing from their daily commutes. “We only really notice things when they’re gone,” says Josh Traptow, the executive director of the Calgary Heritage...


Ep. 14: SW BRT 101 (Why expanded transit is so controversial in southwest Calgary)

When city council debated a pair of dedicated bus lanes proposed for southwest Calgary this week, it wasn't the first time — and it likely won't be the last. Despite getting the green light from council in 2011, controversy over the southwest bus rapid transit (BRT) project continues to rear its head. "It seems that every six months to a year, we’re going through the southwest BRT," said Ward 14 Coun. Peter Demong during the latest debate. On this episode, host Annalise Klingbeil and...


Ep.13: 'Not your grandma's suburb'

Ward 12 Coun. Shane Keating has a bumper sticker in his office. It says: "I do suburbs, but I do them right." On this episode, host Annalise Klingbeil drives (and complains about an abundance of traffic circles) as Keating tours listeners around Calgary's deep south. We travel through master-planned, mixed-use, compact neighbourhoods that Keating believes have been done right. These aren't the Calgary suburbs of decades past, where single-family, cookie-cutter homes with double-car...


Ep. 12: 'It's a blood sport and I don't see any bleeding'

He calls city hall the big blue playpen and he's been covering it for nearly three decades. On this episode of the Confluence podcast, host Annalise Klingbeil speaks to ever-opinionated Calgary Sun columnist Rick 'the Dinger' Bell about the looming municipal election. With less than three weeks left before voters head to the ballot box, Bell says the mayoral race is shaping up to be interesting because it's not yet clear just who will win council's top seat. "In Calgary mayoral...


Ep. 11: ‘This just isn’t right’

When he ran for mayor in 2010, Naheed Nenshi campaigned on 12 better ideas for Calgary. “Better idea number one is about secondary suites,” Nenshi said in a 2010 campaign video before he won council’s top job. “This is one of those areas where our city council could have acted decisively so long ago and they just haven’t.” But after seven years with Nenshi at its helm, council still hasn’t acted decisively on the issue. On this episode, host Annalise Klingbeil interviews Nenshi about...


Ep 10: Secondary Suites 101

If you’re a homeowner in Calgary and you want to put a stove in your basement, prepare for a process that’s unheard of in any other major Canadian city. Calgary remains one of the only municipalities across the country where most property owners who want a secondary suite must plead for a zoning change directly to city council. On this episode, host Annalise Klingbeil and producer Kerianne Sproule take you into the wild world of secondary suites in Calgary. We go over the basics, find...


Ep. 9: Downtown Calgary’s 10-to-20-year problem

Picture Calgary’s downtown core, where tall office towers and cranes working on the next big project have long dominated the skyline. Today, the equivalent of one in four of those buildings sits completely empty. The city’s record-high downtown vacancy rate has even surpassed that of Manhattan at the height of the Great Depression. That’s a major problem for Calgary, which has historically relied on downtown for one in four jobs and 40 per cent of its non-residential tax revenue. On this...


Ep. 8: School's out for summer

City council's final meeting before their summer break felt like it would simply never end. Thankfully, after three long days, it finally did. "Ladies and gentleman, school is out for the summer," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi around 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday August 2, at the conclusion of a meeting that literally started the month before. On this episode, hosts Trevor Howell and Annalise Klingbeil discuss that three-day meeting, look back at the big issues that have plagued elected officials in...


Ep. 7 — The Babysitters Club

One's a retired Court of Queen’s Bench judge. The other a University of Calgary law professor. Together, they are tasked with keeping Calgary’s mayor and councillors on a short leash and under a watchful eye as city hall’s first integrity commissioner and ethics advisor. On this episode, Trevor Howell and Annalise Klingbeil sit down with Allen Sulatycky and Alice Woolley to reflect on the challenges they faced establishing the new watchdog positions, explain what their roles entail, the...


Ep. 6: The don't forget your helmet edition

What happens when a podcast host goes for a bike ride with city council's most ardent opponent of cycle infrastructure? Well, for starters, she learns that Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu can indeed bike. Chu is the happy owner of a blue mountain bike and a helmet, which he regrettably forgot on our ride-along on Northmount Drive N.W. On this episode, hosts Trevor Howell and Annalise Klingbeil dive into the issue of bicycles in Calgary. And, in a city where the words WAR. ON. CARS. are uttered...


Ep. 5: An '80s TV dad for mayor and Calgary's garish Stampede cartoons

The race to become Calgary's next mayor has another entrant. Bill Smith, a Calgary lawyer and former president of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party, formally kicked off his campaign at a well-attended event at Fort Calgary on June 12. On this episode, we visit the launch party and speak to Postmedia politics reporter James Wood about his thoughts on a "very easy-going, likeable guy" who surprisingly, hasn't had his fill of politics just yet. Hosts Trevor Howell and Annalise...


Ep. 4: Grabbing a tiger by the tale and much ado about slates

The former owners of a well-known restaurant have sued Druh Farrell, accusing the inner-city councillor of — among others things — defamation, “systematically” flouting her public duties and corruption. And a foursome with conservative ties announced their intention to run as a slate in the October 16 Calgary Board of Education (CBE) election under the banner Students Count. Hosts Trevor Howell and Annalise Klingbeil talk to corporate lawyer and blogger Susan Wright (we highly recommend...


Ep. 3: How do you eat an elephant?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It's Calgary's most ambitious infrastructure project to date. A 46-kilometre, $4.65-billion (and counting) light rail transit line that will tunnel beneath the downtown core and ease commutes for thousands of Calgarians in the deep south and far north. In early 2015, the Green Line LRT was still years, if not decades, away from becoming a reality. But a $1.53-billion pre-election funding promise from the former federal Conservative government...


Ep. 2: They got asked... a lot

In this week's episode, we're joined by Ask Her board member Sarah Elder-Chamanara, former Calgary alderwoman Gael MacLeod, and Minister for the Status of Women Stephanie McLean to discuss why so few women run for public office, the discrimination they face, and ongoing efforts to boost the number of females on the ballot in Calgary's fall election. Women, on average, hold about a quarter of elected seats in municipal politics. The 2013 municipal elections saw just 490 women elected to...


Ep. 1: Nothing to lose

A popular mayor seeking re-election and vying to secure his political legacy. A veteran Ward 10 councillor with "nothing to lose" and everything to gain ... if he can woo enough voters in his favour on election day. No, we're not previewing this October's mayoral bout between Naheed Nenshi and Andre Chabot for the first full episode of The Confluence — we'll tackle that match-up in the coming months. Instead, we're taking a look back to the 1998 municipal election when then-alderman Ray...


Coming soon ...

Join hosts Trevor Howell and Annalise Klingbeil for thoughtful discussions on critical municipal issues with community leaders, policy makers, politicians and, most importantly, Calgarians who make this city unique and vibrant. Stay tuned for our first full episode on Friday, April, 21, 2017.