The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “mayors

A Tale of Two City Mayors

Posted on November 3, 2015

IN ALL THE RUSH AND EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE recent federal election and the ambitious agenda put forward by Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau, we tend to forget that there are already numerous examples of sweeping, at times breathtaking, agendas being put forward by some of this country’s mayors. Naheed Nenshi (Calgary) and Don Iveson (Edmonton), have not only had enough of being neglected by the more senior political jurisdictions, they are actually setting out strong policy options whether or not Alberta or Ottawa are ready for them. Having already insisted that they would like to open discussions with their senior partners on the prospect of becoming charter cities, they are now experimenting with the idea of their respective cities becoming testing grounds for the concept…

Mayors: The Dream Catchers

Posted on October 23, 2014

THIS BRINGS TO A CONCLUSION THESE POSTS on the importance of mayors around the world. There is a such a diversity among them, but it’s clear that the ones we have focused on have some clear things in common, namely a desire to make cities more central in the political universe, and the distinct belief that in order to achieve success they must share the power with the citizens of their respective communities. And we as voters have learned something as well: to put aside our past belief that one political individual, or even a grouping of them, are capable of providing the kind of collective and meaningful life we are seeking. The claims of some political aspirants that they will clean up a city…

Mayors: Don’t Be Shy

Posted on October 21, 2014

I SERVED WITH MIKE SAVAGE IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS for five years and he was one of the few really respected among all parties. He had an eastern coast sense of humour that was just naturally contagious, was a strong speaker, and somehow took the cold edge out of the House by getting people to temporarily suspend the divisive partisanship long enough to just be human. These are the traits that have turned him into one of Canada’s most successful mayors and city builders. When Ken Kesey observed that, “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some to place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case,” he could easily have been describing the popular mayor of…

Mayors: Poor Choices

Posted on October 16, 2014

IT’S ALL TOO COMMON FOR CITIES ENDURING DIFFICULT TIMES to resist getting serious about poverty. They place their emphasis on economics, jobs, education, or trade – those aspects that appear more like an investment than a drag on the community like, say, social programs. But mayors are getting smarter, though it has taken them decades to get around to it. They are comprehending that even a robust economic recovery can be derailed by all those human resources that were left out – unemployed, underemployed, those suffering in mental illness, students, or the homeless. Mayors are paying attention to considerable research showing that the drag on any local economy from sustained poverty could ultimately derail any meaningful recovery or more prosperous future. As a result, we…

Mayors: From Ceremony to Change

Posted on October 14, 2014

IF THIS WERE 1918, 1935, OR EVEN 1960, the fact that we would be having a discussion about the importance of mayors would seem somewhat irrelevant. Even big city mayors in places like New York, Chicago, Toronto, or Montreal, though they acted tough, were easily overpowered by higher levels of government. Those were the days when societal problems were huge – massive immigration, poverty, corruption, gangs, over crowding – and it was perceived that the big challenges required big governments. That wasn’t an incorrect assessment, as sweeping changes and resources were introduced from senior levels of government that gave the sense that society could overcome anything. There were railroads, an expanding network of airports, revamped harbours, social programs, corporate legislation, and even putting people…

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