I am excited to report that The City has reinstated aerial fireworks alongside its Canada Day celebration!
Today's media release can be found here.
Calgary you were heard.
While exciting, I also find this whole situation troubling for a variety of reasons and encourage you to read the timeline and my thoughts on the decision and subsequent public outcry.
On Thursday, May 18th The City put out a press release that the Arts & Culture team (with support from senior Administration) had decided to forego the high altitude, large format, fireworks display this year and opt for a pyrotechnic show paired with stage level fireworks from the Canada Day main stage at Fort Calgary. Read the full release here.
Over the weekend, word started to get out about the change and local advocacy organizations began mobilizing to amplify the growing frustration in the broader community. Conversations on social media split into politically polarized commentary sparking further outrage, fear, and mistrust.
On Tuesday, May 23rd at Executive Committee, a space was set aside by the Chair to allow for questions to be asked. Several Councillors asked questions of Administration and inquired about the ability of The City to reverse course on this decision. Not long afterwards the emails began flooding into Councillors offices from concerned Calgarians.
Today (Thursday, May 25th) The City reinstates the aerial fireworks.
I find it fascinating how certain issues become much bigger icons of challenges that we are facing as a City. I believe that is what is happening, at least in part, with these fireworks. We are attempting to hold legitimate tensions in a thoughtful way and find a better path forward together. On this, we have missed the mark and I am happy to join the push to reset back to the previous footing and foundation to have a better conversation about how to move forward with the tensions.
Tragically, the legitimate feedback and concerns in my inbox about our Canada Day celebration have been mixed with incredibly distasteful commentary. Any hesitation from me has come from this dynamic and not wanting to give a “win” to anger and outrage.
Calgary, we do need to continue this conversation. I believe our commonly held traditions and values and the traditions and values of our indigenous brothers and sisters can co-habitat. I have seen it in action. I have seen it change us for the better. I believe that was a large part of the motivation for The City in their decision and not a domineering “we know better than you” attitude.
Calgary, we need to find a better way to have these conversations. We need to resist being drawn into spirals of anger and outrage and instead get curious. I invite you to start by being a full participant in this year’s Canada Day celebrations and the other countless opportunities in our great City to interact with people that may not view the world through quite the same lens.
Cllr. Ward 12