Perhaps it’s as simple as the fact Mike Savage is not… oh, there are too many to choose from.
His predecessor, for starters. Peter Kelly, the unlamented former mayor of Halifax whose major lasting legacy was his longevity in an office for which he was so obviously unsuited. He, belatedly, had the good sense to read the writing on the wall before it collapsed in on him. The same cannot be said, of course, for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, about whom more than enough has already been written, late-night joked and harrumphed about. Then too, let us not forget Mayor Susan Fennell of Brampton, Ont., overshadowed as she was last week by those Toronto allegations of crack-smoking, drunk-driving, lewd-speaking and who knows what new horrors still to come. Fennell’s simpler sin was being exposed auditioning for an entitled-to-her entitlements Senate seat: charging taxpayers $2,160 for personalized barbecue aprons.
Little wonder then that our own mild-manned mayor, Mike Savage, merited a standing ovation from the Halifax Board of Trade earlier this month, more for having survived his first year in office unsullied and unsullying than for any concrete accomplishment.
And 40 per cent of Haligonians gave Savage a thumbs-up score of eight in last week’s City Matters survey conducted for Metro Halifax and the Greater Halifax Partnership by MQO Research. Pollsters surveyed 600 residents over the age of 18, with a margin of error of plus or minus four per cent, 19 times out of 20.
“There’s 40 per cent of the population who are exceptionally pleased,” MQO Research senior counsel Rick Emberley told Metro’s Philip Croucher, but more importantly, “there’s a significant portion of the population who feel pretty good about [Savage]. But there’s almost nobody who thinks it’s bad.”
Which, these days, is as good as it gets.
If Savage doesn’t have many concrete accomplishments to show for his first year in office, he has, thankfully, changed the channel on the debates at City Hall. Municipal politics, the former federal MP told the Board of Trade, “is our last, best hope to make government work for people without the burden of party politics.”
Now that would be nice.
This article first appeared in Stephen Kimber’s Halifax Metro column.