One of Calgary’s most distinguished citizens was the late Stan Waters — a former Canadian Armed Forces lieutenant-general and the country’s first democratically selected senator. Stan began his military career as one of Canada’s first special forces paratroopers — parachuted behind enemy lines to fight fascist forces in Italy during the Second World War and participating in the final push to defeat fascism in Germany towards the end of that terrible war.I once asked Stan what he most feared as a soldier and his answer surprised me. I thought he would say something like being captured by enemy forces or being the object of machine gun fire from the ground while dangling from a parachute. But instead he said what he feared most was “stupidity in high places” — being subject to the attitudes, prejudices and decisions of people in command positions who were not qualified to hold those positions.Flash forward to Calgary, December 2023, when not only stupidity — but much worse — the appearance of antisemitism and obvious hypocrisy were displayed by the mayor of this city. Antisemitism appeared to be displayed, whether intended or not, when the mayor pointedly declined to visibly support Calgary’s Jewish community in an hour when that community was being subjected to antisemitic attacks.Hypocrisy was obviously displayed by the mayor professing to be tolerant and supportive of racial, religious and political diversity, then dissociating herself from the tradition of lighting a menorah at City Hall. And, outright stupidity was displayed when the reason given for declining to participate in that ceremony was the event had become “political” — this, from a mayor who constantly attends every small-p political event she possibly can, in order to bolster her personal political support.In the end the mayor must accept responsibility for her actions and words. City Council might also want to pass a motion distancing itself and the city from those actions and words. But there is another sense in which we, the citizens of Calgary, need to assume some responsibility for this deplorable event and take steps to ensure it is never repeated.Far too many Calgarians completely ignored the last municipal elections, that resulted in the election to office of the current mayor. The 46% voter turnout in the 2021 Calgary municipal election, was even lower than the 58% turnout in 2017. With less than half the eligible voters participating in 2021 and the mayor receiving 45% of the vote, this means she occupies the office with the support of only 21% of the electorate. Or put another way, 79% of Calgarians thought so little of the last municipal election or the mayor’s candidacy that they either declined to vote at all or voted for somebody else.Regrettably this is a worrisome pattern across the country — particularly worrisome from a democracy standpoint — where the mayor of Edmonton was elected with the support of only 17% of the electorate, the mayor of Vancouver with only 18%, the mayor of Regina with only 11%, the mayor of Winnipeg with only 10%, and the mayor of Toronto (in a recent byelection) with only 14%.In low turnout elections, candidates need make no broad effort to address the concerns and needs of the vast majority of voters or to treat all citizens equally regardless of their race, religion, gender or other personal characteristics. Instead, candidates in low turnout elections can “succeed” in getting elected by treating the electorate divisively, as composed of carefully defined minorities, and promising each special attention and entitlements based on the personal characteristics which differentiate them.To replace the current mayor with a more suitable and capable representative of Calgary — in particular, someone untainted by antisemitism and hypocrisy — requires more than wishful thinking. It requires a majority of Calgarians to take the next municipal elections seriously, aiming for a voter turnout of at least 75%. And it requires that searching for, identifying and preparing qualified candidates for office begin soon, not six months before the next election which is so often the case.Unless the current mayor chooses to resign, the next Calgary municipal elections are slated for October 20 2025 — that will be the next opportunity for the Calgary electorate to remove the taint of antisemitism, hypocrisy and stupidity from Calgary’s highest municipal office. Preparations to seize that opportunity should begin now.Preston Manning, who founded and led the Reform Party in the 1980s, is a former Member of Parliament. He continues to be an influential conservative voice and commentator on public affairs.