It's hard to imagine a 30-minute conversation with former mayor Peter Kelly that could skip seamlessly:
- from the rebuilding Halifax Mooseheads;
- to a previous life as a backbench opposition MP ("the only less relevant position being a backbencher on the government side");
- to the job of Halifax mayor ("I like it, sometimes more than I allow myself to say");
- to the number of people ("too many") who have frozen to death on the streets of Halifax;
- to the Ivany report ("it's become a buzzword; I can show you letters on both sides of almost any issue from people who each think they're 'Ivany'");
- to his mother's little-known obsession with psephology (the scientific analysis of elections);
- to how he thinks his first term in office should be judged;
- to whether he will seek a second term…
Mike Savage, thankfully, is not his predecessor. Neither is he -- and this is more interesting and complex -- simply his father's son.
His father, John Savage, was a Scottish immigrant doctor and impatient social activist who became Dartmouth mayor, then Nova Scotia premier because he wanted to change the world. Now. "He was not a conventional politician," notes his son. "He didn't like knocking on doors, didn't lick envelopes, didn't raise money for other politicians…"
Mike Savage grew up in a home steeped in social activism and electoral politics. He has more happily done his share of door knocking over four federal and municipal elections in the past dozen years. "My strength is that I think I work well with people." It is not lost on the younger Savage that his father's "passionate, aggressive drive for reform" led to his ouster as Liberal leader before he'd even completed his first term as premier.
Savage has spent the first half of his own first term as mayor putting the pieces into place: council itself no longer seems quite so dysfunctional. He says he's "excited by the fact the city is now doing things -- in housing, immigration, health, the arts -- the city hasn't done before. We're maturing as a city."
What will that mean for the last two years of his four-year mandate? We'll talk about that -- and how he thinks he should be judged in 2016 -- next week.
This article first appeared in Stephen Kimber's Halifax Metro column.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.