The Canadian flag from Stampede park fly's in front of the Calgary skyline in downtown Calgary, Alberta on June 30,2012
Credits: UART DRYDEN/CALGARY SUN/QMI AGENCY
Calgary scored top points in a new Angus Reid survey for being a livable city, a place where people can find a good job and a metropolis that embraces innovation.
The release of the survey dovetails reaction to Harper's comment at the opening of the centennial celebration of the Stampede that Calgary is the "greatest city" in Canada.
"I think if the (Stampede) founders could be here today and see the great city, see what has built up around this event, they would be amazed," said the Calgary Southwest MP.
"They would be amazed to see that their Stampede has been part of giving birth to the greatest city in the greatest country in the world."
Mario Canseco, vice-president of Angus Reid, said the survey was being readied when Harper made the Calgary comment, which drew the ire of civic pride boosters in cities across Canada.
"He's a local MP. Of course he's going to say something nice about the city," said Canseco.
Residents in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver were polled in the new study, the full details of which will be revealed and discussed at a conference next week in Toronto.
Respondents were given a list of descriptions that best reflect their city. Calgary pulled ahead of the pack in six categories.
More Calgarians said the city is on the rise (90%), livable (89%), a place where you can find a good job (88%), a good city to start a business (75%), a city that embraces innovation (73%) and a city that is connected and has accessible digital infrastructure (71%).
The quality of life in all four major Canadian cities are good, but Calgary emerged as the best with 87%, followed by Vancouver at 82%.
Canseco said they expected Calgary to do well in the poll, but they didn't think it was going to be on top.
"We kind of had a feeling that the western cities would do better," he said. "But certainly we didn't expect Calgary to be the No. 1 choice on several of the issues."
The approval rating of Calgary's city council was also the highest among the four with 62% saying politicians are doing a "good job" and 6% saying they're doing a "very bad job."
Canseco gave Mayor Naheed Nenshi the credit for connecting with citizens better than his counterparts in the other cities.
While Calgarians praised the city, they also noted health care to be the most pressing issue.
Citizens in Vancouver are concerned about affordable housing, while people in Toronto and Montreal pinpointed traffic/transit and health care as the top issues, respectively.
The online survey was conducted July 9 -11 with participants of more than 400 citizens from each city.
Quality of life:
Calgary - 87%
Vancouver - 82%
Toronto - 80%
Montreal - 75%
City council doing a good job:
Calgary - 62%
Vancouver - 42%
Toronto - 28%
Montreal - 22%
33% of Vancouverites said affordable housing is an issue
32% of Torontonians said traffic and transit are issues
25% of Montrealers said health care is a problem
23% of Calgarians said health care is an issue
Others issues where Calgary leads on approval ratings
Tourism promotion - 78%
Public safety - 72%
Enhancing quality of life - 60%
Responding to citizens' needs - 57%
Public consultation - 56%
Dealing with homelessness and poverty - 56%
Being accountable - 45%