No matter how awful your job might be, it’s probably better than being mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality.
As mayor, when you aren’t sitting through a gauntlet of soul-crushing meetings, you’re forced to attend every tea party and ribbon-cutting under the sun (and probably exposing yourself to swine flu).
You don’t even get much real power. The mayor is more or less a glorified city councillor, except people actually know your name. If not for the decent salary and the fact that people refer to you as “your worship,” then you’d have to probably pawn the position off on Kijiji.
Which is why we may soon see HRM Mayor Peter Kelly trying to change his title to premier. It’s long been openly speculated that Kelly wants to make a jump to provincial politics, and it keeps looking more obvious.
Kelly announced this week that he strongly opposes a provincial election because it could delay stimulus money flowing to Halifax. It’s not a crazy position for a mayor to take, but his comments were eerily identical to those of the premier.
Rodney MacDonald and his crew have picked “it will delay stimulus money” as their main talking point against having an election. Kelly, who has long had ties to the Tory party, has now given them more ammunition.
Kelly has also been holding fundraisers to raise thousands of dollars for a war chest just months after winning a new four-year term as mayor. So, yeah, it’s not exactly crazy to think he’s gearing up for a run as provincial Tory leader.
It would be interesting to see how Kelly performs in the relative spotlight of provincial politics. After all, this is a guy who never saw a simple word (let’s say “school”) he didn’t know how to turn into bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo (say, “educational institution.”)
So I guess he would fit right in.
But with the experience of two terms as mayor and a slew of things like HRMbyDesign he can take credit for, Kelly could make a strong run.
Of course, for Kelly to take over as leader of the Tories the job would have to be vacant. Apparently, there’s been some election rumours recently, so MacDonald is going to have to fight to keep the gig against what polls would suggest are some tough odds.
So maybe we’ll soon see our humble mayor moving on up in the world. If nothing else I’m sure he’d love to never have to swim in Halifax Harbour again.
– Paul McLeod is a staff reporter at Metro Halifax. He is currently in rehab for being a political junkie. It’s going badly.