Saturday, March 22, 2014

Deals and Resignations

In his March 21 editorial, CKNW junkyard dog Bruce Allen spoke of the recent resignations of Alberta premier Alison Redford and the senior staff and board of the Portland Hotel Society as ice berg tips suggestive of larger issues. While we may never know what these issues are, or indeed if there were any, he was correct to point out that backroom deals often accompany such resignations.

Although I would prefer not to wade in on the life and times of the late Jim Green (a dealmaker if there ever was one), one person who always comes to mind when I think of resignations and deals is one of my favourite politicians, ever, and that is our former mayor Larry Campbell, who, for but a single term as frontman for the Vision party, managed to make city hall more like a Charles Grodin interview than a slow-motion WWF bout.

Among my favourite "episodes" of the Larry as Mayor show were his interactions with then-NPA councillor Lorne Mayencourt, who exasperated Larry in a way that managed to reflect what was both galling and funny about life in general. Wish I could recall what Mayencourt once said to the media that had them chase after Campbell for a response, but Campbell's attempt to discredit the former councillor focused not on the content of Mayencourt's comment but on its speaker's lack of responsibility: that Maynecourt has declared personal bankruptcy on more than one occasion.

Which brings me back to Campbell, resignations and dealmaking -- in particular, what forces were in play that had Campbell choose not to run for a second term at city hall, and why, out of nowhere, he ended up with a senate appointment (instigated by the federal Liberals). If ever anyone suggests that there is not a link between these two levels of government, this is the first thing I think of. And while I think Campbell had nothing to hide by not running again, his perfect mix of popularity and integrity clearly had some people in this city scared.

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