Source: X

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek has downplayed the chorus of boos she received during a Calgary Flames puck drop.

Gondek called the incident “a small distraction” from the evening’s celebrations of the South Asian community. 

Calgary Flames fans voiced their significant disapproval at Gondek on Saturday. The beleaguered mayor is also facing a growing recall campaign and plummeting approval ratings.

“What may have happened was a small distraction,” Gondek said on Monday. 

She focused instead on the broader significance of the event. 

“I think it’s important for us to remember that there was a bigger community that was being honoured, and that was the goal of that game,” she added.

Gondek said she appreciated the players who showed up and wore the jerseys proudly before the game.

The boos rang out during the Flames’ first-ever South Asian Celebration Game

In the face of adversity, Gondek says she remains focused on municipal affairs as the city’s team faces the disappointment of missing the NHL playoffs for the second consecutive season. 

Gondek received unexpected support online following the incident from Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich. 

Prefacing her post to X with the statement that she knew her views would be unpopular, Lich said that she did not like Gondek’s policies, ideology, or anything she’s done for the city but can’t condone booing.

“At the end of the day, she is still a human being and watching this video makes me feel like crying,” said Lich.

“We cannot fight hate with hate and expect that we are any better. We cannot fight hate with hate and expect that we can win,” she added. 

As Lich expected, her post resulted in a flurry of replies — reaching almost 1,000 by Tuesday morning. Many of the replies were respectful of Lich’s response but said that booing was to be expected in a city that disapproves of its mayor as much as Calgary’s.

The booing comes as Gondek faces a recall petition. Once a recall petition is accepted, the petitioner has 60 days to collect signatures equal to 40% of the population of the electoral district. Landon Johnston, the filer of the petition, has to collect 514,284 signatures, representing 40% of eligible voters of the city’s population. 

During the last municipal election, Gondek received 176,455 of the total 393,090 votes cast. 

Johnston called into 630 CHED on Saturday alongside Alberta Premier Danielle Smith. He raised concerns about the “many loopholes and gaps in this legislation.”

“I’ve been left out to dry for the past 55 days,” he said. Johnston added that nobody from the UCP government has been able to provide any navigation with the legislation, and “it has been very stressful because this city is in shambles, and you guys took over Chestermere for something that is minuscule compared to what’s happening in Calgary.”

Smith said that she heard his concerns. She said that throughout the process, she has observed that the number of signatures needed to be obtained is “an extremely high bar” and that “we need to make some modifications.”

While Smith said she did not believe Johnston to be partisan but instead a “civic-minded Calgarian,” she pledged to make legislative changes. However, she noted that she cannot modify the legislation while a petition is active.

The recall petition’s deadline is Wednesday.

Once the petition ends, Smith pledged to work directly with Johnston to hear firsthand from someone who’s undergone the process. 

“I’ll give you my commitment, Landon; happy to talk to you once that 60 days is up,” she said.