John Lord served as alderman of Ward 8 from 1995 to 2001 and as MLA for Calgary-Currie riding from 2001 to 2004. Founder and owner of Casablanca Video, Lord has over 30 years of experience as an entrepeneur and small businessman.
In addiition, he was the founding chairman of the organization which named the Marda Loop area, the first Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) in Calgary. Also, not only is he the founding director and current chair of Calgary’s barbeque competition, BBQ on the Bow, he is also a championship competitor.As for his run for mayor, Lord says, “I’m trying to encourage a change at City Hall where we don’t tolerate people who are selfish, self-centered and opportunists looking to see what’s in it for them.”
Also high on his list of priorities is doubling the success rate of small businesses.
“Eighty per cent of new wealth and 80 per cent of new jobs come from small businesses that succeed. Only one out of five succeeds, but if we got it to two out of five, wouldn’t we double the rate of new job creation theoretically?,” says Lord.
He feels he is the right choice for mayor because: “There isn’t anybody that’s running for mayor that has my background: in terms of 30 years of being in business, 30 years of representing small businesses and entrepreneurs, working as a troubleshooter, and working with business people on numerous fronts to solve community issues and community problems.
With dinner, do you prefer water or wine?
Well, if it’s a fancy dinner, I’ll have wine. But otherwise I usually just drink water. Sometimes both.
Favourite home-cooked meal?
Grilled pork chops with mushroom gravy, potatoes and corn. And peaches with ice cream for dessert. If it’s summertime and the barbecue is going, it’s ribs on the barbecue.
When you have a little down time, what are some of your favourite things to do?
Screening movies so I know what to buy for Casablanca, cooking, barbecuing, going out to restaurants with friends, going to places to see live music like Mikey’s Juke Joint, and reading.
Fondest memory of Calgary?
The fourth time I organized the Marda Gras festival. As part of that we did a Doodah parade, this silly dress-up, anything-goes parade. We got in touch with Tommy Chong from Cheech and Chong to be parade marshall. We had a huge crowd and beer gardens after the parade. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun in one day.
Are you a dog or a cat person?
Cat, but I grew up with a dog. I’d say I’m more of a cat person though, because they need far less attention and I’m always working so much.
What album did you listen to last?
Loreena McKennitt’s Parallel Dreams. But I’m a huge Bob Marley fan and a huge fan of local Calgary bands.
First teenage job?
In Grade 3 I bought comic books and re-sold them for a profit and made enough to buy jawbreakers. I grew up on a farm though, and always worked on the farm as a kid. My first paid job was as a hired hand on another farm.
Guilty pleasure movie?
Driving Miss Daisy actually made me cry.
Favourite film of all time?
Swept Away (the original) and Akirasowa’s Enter the Dragon. I study martial arts and I think I’ve seen Enter the Dragon 16 times.
Any challenges in the campaign?
The biggest challenges in any campaign are time and money. I declared way ahead of everyone else because I knew that time was important and being the first mover was important.
Any challenges you feel you may face as mayor?
You’ve got to recognize that you need eight votes on council. You have to show that in your past record, you can get those eight votes, you can get that support. The first challenge of any mayor is to get a cohesive council that works together.
As mayor how would you help create a more cohesive council?
It’s a dynamic and you don’t want a council that is all singing from the same book. You don’t want a council that doesn’t have diversity.
You do want a council that is working for the benefit of the citizens of Calgary. If everyone is steering the boat that direction, my belief is that for any reasonable, well-meaning, ethical people, you don’t have that division.
You have to go around and talk to people. You never sell anybody anything, you help them buy.
What makes a city “vibrant?”
Austin, Texas has a really vibrant music scene. How did it become that way? I would suggest that it started with small businesses: small restaurants, bars, cafes and places that set up stages to bring in live music.
You want a vibrant city, get your small business sector pumped up on the music scene, the arts and theatre, the festivals.
Al Pacino. I can watch anything he’s in. And I’ve always thought Whoopi Goldberg is good in everything she’s in.
Dream roadtrip/weekend getaway?
The best place for a weekend getaway in Canada is Quebec City. It’s like a mini trip to Europe. I’ve done my dream roadtrip. I drove up the west coast of Costa Rica in an SUV, crossing swamps and everything.
Favourite Canadian band or artist?
Johnny V. Anytime Johnny V plays, I have to see him. He is the best blues guitarist bar none.
Favourite sitcom to watch growing up?
Favourite series now?
NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or anything on the History Channel.
Last great book you read?
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.
What is your most treasured possession?
In other words, if the house is burning and I have two seconds to grab something, it would be my computer, the hard drive. It’s got my life on it.
If you could go back in time to meet one person, who would it be?
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?
What is your greatest artistic talent?
Music. I play guitar and piano. I also draw.
What talent would you like to have?
I wish I was better at drawing. I wish I was a better orator. What’s a great orator these days, though? If you sounded like Winston Churchill nowadays, you might get laughed at.
The last time you sang?
Down at Blues Fest. (Lord also claims to do great throaty rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”)
Do you have a motto in life?
Follow those who seek the truth. Run from those who have found it. That’s from Vaclav Havel.
If you were a Star Trek or Star Wars character, who would you be?
Captain Kirk. I try to be logical, but I am best at inventing new things, innovating new ideas. Or I’d be Hans Solo. I’d be the rebel.
If you had three shazams with a magic wand, what would you change in Calgary?
- I’d like to see a much healthier, happier and more productive working at environment at City Hall where people are proud to be working there. I’d like to see people pumped to be working there, helping to make Calgary such a great city.
- Wipe out poverty and lack of employment. I see a lot of talent being wasted because people can’t find a job or can’t find the right job.
- I’d help Calgarians pursue passions, to have the financial security to pursue their passions in life and fulfill their potential.