Sunday 28 June 2015

Book ~ "Mayors Gone Bad" (2015) Philip Slayton

From Goodreads ~ Whether they’ve misappropriated funds, had cosy relationships with Mafia hoods, been caught with prostitutes or admitted to smoking crack, Canada’s mayors are a colourful collection: 

  • Peter Kelly, long-serving mayor of Halifax, driven from office by investigative reporting of ethical lapses
  • Gerard Tremblay of Montreal resigned in suspicious circumstances
  • Michael Applebaum of Montreal faces criminal charges of fraud
  • Gilles Vaillancourt of Laval also resigned and faces similar criminal charges
  • Alexandre Duplessis of Laval left after a hooker scandal
  • Joe Fontana was convicted of fraud and is under house arrest
  • Susan Fennell of Brampton was under police investigation for possible criminal use of city funds
  • Sam Katz of Winnipeg was dogged throughout his mayoralty by conflict-of-interest allegations
  • Rob Ford made headlines across North America as “the crack-smoking mayor of Toronto” 

But it’s not all bad news.  Philip Slayton writes about the “western triangle of mayoral goodness,” Nenshi of Calgary, Iveson of Edmonton, and Robertson of Vancouver. Also, Slayton features four foreign mayors who have made an impact: Jón Gnarr of Reykjavik, Boris Johnson of London, Michael Bloomberg of New York, and Anne Hidalgo of Paris. 

Aside from creating a rogues’ gallery of mayors, Slayton offers insight into the nature of municipal government in Canada and speculates about why people seek the office of mayor. Little real power is exercised by any mayor, but the abuses of that power are nonetheless significant. As well, Slayton provides a series of proposals to reform municipal government. 

Toronto suffered through the debacle of Rob Ford, who was our mayor until last fall.  This book caught my eye because it focuses on some loser mayors across Canada, including Ford.  There couldn't be worse mayors that Ford, could there?!

Eleven mayors from across Canada have chapters devoted to them.  The stories were interesting but obviously I was most interested to read about Rob Ford.  The author gave a really high level description of Ford's escapades and I'm assuming he did the same with the others ... I found it was too high level.  Someone who didn't know about the Ford scandal wouldn't be aware that he was photographed with known drug users, that he was videoed numerous times wasted, that he denied smoking crack but had to backtrack when a video (which was deleted) was found and most importantly that he had his mayoral powers removed.

I'm not political and I found the author gave me just enough background on how municipal politics work.

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