Sometimes the worst of times may be the best of times in disguise. I repeat the caveat: sometimes. Case in point, let's look at four very different mayors from across Canada: Gérald Tremblay, Rob Ford, Naheed Nenshi, and Colette Roy-Laroche. They all faced different types of crises this summer, and their responses defined them in the public eye.
Nonetheless, despite the many good examples of Canadian mayors, some of the bad examples -- especially those like Rob Ford who cast a bad reputation on their city -- raises the question, are we paying enough attention to municipal politics? And, especially, are we paying enough attention to who gets elected to municipal office?
I believe the time has come for the National Assembly of Quebec to legislate a limit on a mayor's tenure in the province's cities. As in many other jurisdictions, two terms are more than sufficient, whereas clinging to power for extended periods of time leads to cronyism and conspiracy as has been well demonstrated by the Montreal and Laval experience!
Daily updates of the scandals washing over politicians from Montreal to Ottawa to Toronto have some officials looking more like Clay Davis of The Wire's Baltimore than much else. Where have all the leaders gone? Part of the problem, surely, is who we deify. We are guilty of perpetuating a celebrity-obsessed culture, whether those figures drop rhymes, dimes, or guidelines.