Calgarians are more aligned than you think
With the increasing polarization we experience online, amplified by all the rhetoric that surrounds an election, it would be easy to assume that there is much disagreement in how Calgarians view the role of our city. However, our research shows that the majority of Calgarians actually agree on things like maintaining taxes for services, prioritizing green projects, the need for social services, and the importance of an arts and culture scene. Even across the city, in all 14 wards, we found that Calgarians are more aligned than you think.
Our survey was fielded between April 1 - April 5 using an online panel. Responses were screened for quality and a total of 919 responses were included in the analysis. The data was then weighted by age, gender, educational attainment and region based on Statistics Canada census data to ensure representativeness.
No margin of error is reported because participants were recruited using a non-probability panel, however, a comparable margin of error for a study with a probabilistic sample of the same size would be plus or minus 3 percent, 19 times out of 20.
MRP (Multilevel Regression with Poststratification) analysis was used to generate accurate estimates of survey respondents at a ward level, where there would otherwise not be enough responses to make accurate inferences.
Lower taxes sound appealing to everyone, until you consider that we need to pay for our city services. This includes things like snow clearing, emergency response or road improvements. Most Calgarians don't actually want lower taxes if it means giving up city services.
It's also important to point out that because of the realities of inflation, any tax freeze is actually a budget cut. This would apply to 1-year tax breaks, 4-year tax freezes or any other revenue freeze.
Given the realities of the climate crisis, green projects of all kinds are integral to our city’s ongoing functioning. This is an emergency—and a smart investment.
Calgarians agree on the importance of green projects, and we know how to invest in climate security in ways that save us money, create good jobs, diversify the economy, make us healthier, and keep Calgary a place people young and old want to live.
Social services in the city provide everything from housing affordability to arts & culture; from poverty reduction to recreation & sport. These services make the city more equitable and inclusive - and a better and more desirable place to live. Calgarians agree that we need to be providing more of them.
Investment in the arts and culture sector leads to economic growth, diversity in the economy, and revitalization of downtown and other communities. It also draws people to the city, leads to intercultural exchange and a sense of belonging for Calgarians.
Calgarians agree we need to continue to attract new investment and talent, while retaining and advocating for the culturally diverse artists who already live here.
Of all levels of government, the City provides the most services to Calgarians, and has the least ability to fund them. Calgary needs a stream of revenue that is predictable, sustainable, and - most of all - fair to Calgarians.
Currently around 35% of Calgary’s property taxes are remitted to the Province. Calgarians agree that we need to retain a larger share of these property taxes to be able to maintain city services and quality of life.
Because governments have revenues and expenses like businesses, it's easy to think that they should run in the same way. However, not only are those revenues and expenses structurally different, businesses exist to make a profit, while cities exist to provide services for the public good. The operation of governments is fundamentally different from operating businesses, and Calgarians agree that the city has unique needs.