There's a reason why Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is an easy person to like. Personally, if not politically.
Politically, there may be plenty about Nenshi to dislike. And perhaps from time to time his demeanour can veer toward the mildly buffoonish, at least when political matters are at stake.
But when it comes down to some of Canada's -- and Calgary's -- most fundamental values, no one can pretend that Nenshi doesn't get it. Speaking during Calgary's Pride Festival, Nenshi found it in himself to take the Parti Quebecois government of Quebec to task for it's so-called "charter of values," which would forbid religious displays in the public sphere.
While a Pride festival may not be the place where defense of religious freedom is most expected, Nenshi managed to make it work.
“We need, together, to show Canada and to show the world that here in Calgary it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what you look like, it doesn’t matter what you worship, it doesn’t matter who you love,” he declared. If there was any doubt that he was speaking about Quebec, he later confirmed it for reporters.
Nenshi called the charter “an absolute violation not just of Canadian morals and ethics, but of what has made our country successful. If we are not able to attract the very best people from around the world to want to work and learn and invest and raise families in this country, we don’t have a future as a country," he remarked. “It is important for people across Canada, and particularly in Quebec, to know that if they don’t feel welcome in that community, they’re certainly welcome in this one.”
Now if anyone wants to consider just what sort of person -- a potential immigrant perhaps -- could turn away from Quebec over it's so-called "charter of values," consider this: former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow may be left looking for work in the CFL. Currently, the Montreal Alouettes hold his CFL rights. But with religious liberty under attack in Quebec, the odds of Tebow signing there could be considered slim to none.
Of course, odds are Tebow would find himself quite welcome and comfortable in Calgary -- or in Alberta in general.