Peter Kelly says he won’t seek another term as Halifax Mayor in the upcoming municipal elections. What does this mean …
Halifax needs a mayorBy Trevor J. Adams | May 25, 2012
Tags: city hall, election, Mayor, Peter Kelly, politics
I don’t mean Halifax needs a new mayor in the October election; I mean Halifax needs a mayor now.
Okay, technically we have one. Incumbent Peter Kelly is still in office, chairing Council meetings and, I assume, doing his job behind the scenes. But in terms of public leadership, our mayor has been pretty well invisible since February.
Before the probate scandal killed his chances in this year’s election, Kelly seemed to be at the middle of everything going on in Halifax. Agree with his views or not, he was part of debates on downtown development, transportation, the economy and all those other issues a mayor is supposed to focus on. He was not, he insisted, campaigning on public time. That, he said, is why he wouldn’t say if he’d reoffer: he had to focus on mayoring, not campaigning.
Then, he said he wasn’t reoffering. And suddenly, he stopped doing all that stuff he’d been doing before that looked like campaigning but he says was actually mayoring. Kelly’s leadership before was debatable but at least he was visible, as a mayor should be. Now, unless you happen to be privy to the behind-the-scenes stuff, it appears that Halifax has no mayor at all. He could have quit but he just said he wouldn’t reoffer. He has a job that he promised to do until October and clearly he’s not doing it with the same gusto he was a year ago.
I’m sure it’s no fun being a lame-duck mayor, winding down a term with no prospect of re-election. But if Kelly doesn’t want to do that, he should resign so someone can lead the city in the meantime. If he wants to serve out his term honourably, he needs to lead.
The effects are clear: A dreamy sort of ennui seems to have drifted over City Hall, as Council spins in circles on issues like the harbour ferries and the sale of the St. Pat’s-Alexandra school. On Argyle Street, steps from Province House, there is a giant gaping hole where there should be a new Convention Centre. I haven’t heard anything to suggest Council knows (or has even thought much) about what happens next.
Unfortunately, there’s little we can do but be patient, keep a close eye on Council and take some time to think about what we want from our next mayor. This election, let’s make sure we get a leader.