The new council has been sworn in! There was a crowd in chambers. There were kids waving at their newly elected parents, and infants on the arms of smiling men in the adoring crowd (a lovely illustration of the new gender parity on council).
There were middle-aged men in black leather biker jackets with fringe that were definitely for actually riding a motorcycle, there were suits, and there were the peter pan collars of the downtown arts crowd. There were “woot! woot!”s and it was generally just happy.
The new councillors and mayor and deputy mayor were all beaming and gracious and a little nervous. Except (at-large) Cllr Hanlon. She just seemed to crush this business of being at the (semi-circular) table like her Gillian Anderson-esque stiletto heels would crush a cockroach.
I have so much more to say about the new council’s outfits, but I know it’s against all rules of decorum, even for a column like this, to talk what-they-wore, so I will just silently wonder how someone has been to the Olympics, but doesn’t have suit pants that have been hemmed to fit.
But I love fashion (it’s the best art born of capitalism) and I can say that this council is already a million times more stylie than the last. Cllr. Froude’s pointy-toed dress shoes with the slight curl were awesome. There. Now I’m done.
There was “O Canada” and “The Ode to Newfoundland.” Then the mayor and the councillors were each sworn in. They were asked to confirm a series of “You will….” statements regarding conflict of interest and monetary disclosures and each, down to a (wo)man answered “I do” instead of “I will.”
Mayor Breen pointed out the gender parity and the diversity in age of the new council, and said it is more representative of the people.
Cllr Collins, with his incumbency and white hair, now stands out like a thumb among fingers. It is so different from last year when I first started. I had to write a cheat sheet with everyone’s names on it in a little seating diagram because it was just a bunch of identical thumbs.
Mayor Breen hugged all the women and shook hands with the men. A few man hugs would have been nice. But I’m a fan of man on man.
A very short meeting ensued, complete with Mayor Breen leaving chambers so he could walk back in behind the sceptre-bearing man in the white gloves. Like you would.
The meeting was a very short version of a regular meeting with Deputy Mayor O’Leary still not understanding what “very brief” means, but being gracious and handing over a left-over issue to the new Ward councillor (Stapleton) for Airport heights for Ward 1.
Cllr Hickman read the Audit and Accountability report into a messed up microphone. As is standard operating procedure when there is a technical issue at these meetings, everyone ignored the very loud buzzing-crackling, and we all stayed politely quiet as if we could hear what he was saying.
Cllr Hanlon was all no-nonsense dom, and pointedly requested that the councillors receive the reports a week, instead of a day, in advance in the future so she would have time to properly review them.
The new council voted to approve a tender for the snow-clearing of private lanes and laneways for 37 thousand (or, for the disappointed Wellsians: 37 “large”). The city is responsible for these byways, but their equipment is too large so it is contracted out.
Breen closed by saying he would like to quote Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
And, though rousing team-player PowerPoints through the decades have misattributed that quote to Ford, it is possibly from Edward Everett Hale but definitely from a 1917 novel “Those Fitzenbergers” by Helen R Martin where it is written on “red heart shaped cards,” and “regarded as […] insulting” in an ongoing and very unpleasant kerfuffle involving a lecturing pastor and his wayward neighbourhood association.
So … let’s all hope they can keep it together for the next four years, do their homework, and get some work done.