CALGARY – Can the city be bought? That question is at the heart of a firestorm on social media after a Calgary entrepreneur offered to donate $100,000 to the city’s public library–if the city allows Uber to operate.
W. Brett Wilson made the comments during the Bob Edwards Award Gala Thursday night at the Fairmont Palliser, where he received the 2015 award. He stood up on a table in the middle of the room, and announced he would make the donation as long as the city changes its bylaws to allow the ride-sharing program to run without fear of fines.
@WBrettWilson pledged to donate $100,000 to the Calgary library the moment the @cityofcalgary approves of @Uber . Your move #yyc
— Kelly Hofer Studios (@kellyhofer) November 6, 2015
Ward 7 city councillor Druh Farrell tweeted out Wilson’s promise, and when asked if she was okay with it, replied: “I support donating to the library simply because it’s a great cause.”
@poploser No. I support donating to the library simply because it’s a great cause. Full stop.
— Druh Farrell (@DruhFarrell) November 6, 2015
Some people joked about it, like user Jett Thunders, who wrote: “Just give the money to the Calgary library. No strings attached. P.S. – if you need a lift, I can ask my mom.”
@DruhFarrell @WBrettWilson Dude! Just give the $ to the @calgarylibrary. No strings attached. PS – If you need a lift, I can ask my Mom.
— Jett Thunders (@JettThunders) November 6, 2015
Many of the reactions suggested donations shouldn’t be tied to city policy, and some 老域名怎么购买 users even seemed angry–like Megan Pratt, who tweeted: “This is terrible. Dangle a carrot and act like a child. Is this what rich people do?”
@DruhFarrell @WBrettWilson @calgarylibrary This is terrible. Dangle a carrot and act like a child. Is this what rich people do?
— Megan Pratt (@meganpratt) November 6, 2015
Wilson defended himself in replies, including his suggestion that lobby groups do the same but “secretly and privately.”
Wilson is a strong advocate for Uber, and took part in the company’s Calgary launch in mid-October. He told Global News he has no financial stake in the company and is lending his support because he wants to see Uber in the city.
WATCH: Brett Wilson talks about his first Calgary Uber ride
With files from Susan Dedrick – Bruneau
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