Report cards tell us more about the writer.

There is quite a difference between report cards on young students and report cards on city councillors. Grade school teachers today seem to use prepared comments and a uniform grading system. Municipal reporters appear to be free to give more rein to their biases as they report on our city council. A report card published in what we call the Babel Backward provided an excellent example of this bias in a report this week on the first two years of the Babel council’s four-year term.

The Babel Backward reporter who spends many hours at city hall seems to be one of the gang. She reflects the fact that most of the council are active members of the Conservative Party and, along with them, she is a fan of MP Patrick Brown. And before you say that there is no involvement of political parties at city hall, we can assure you that it is more overt than covert. School boards and city councils have been the training grounds for politicians of all parties in Ontario for the last 200 years.

The Mayor of Babel, a liberal, is something of an anomaly. His predecessor as mayor had earned the animosity of the electorate in time for the last vote and it was apparent to most people that he was beatable. The liberal contender was just a one-term councillor but he had made a good name for himself and was blessed by being able to take on two strong conservatives for the job. With an innovative and aggressive ground game, his well-financed campaign proved successful.

But that gets him little slack from the conservatives on council or from their reporter friend from the Babel Backward. Despite his holding back on many of his ideas, she gives him a barely passing grade on leadership and vision. What must really gall him is that he has held back on being known as a liberal and when he ran for a delegate position to the Liberal leadership convention this weekend, he lost because not many of the newer Liberal supporters knew of his liberal background.

Among the councillors, it is easy to see who the reporter likes and dislikes. She is already promoting the Ward 10 councillor for higher office but that will have to be federal or provincial as he is not about to challenge a popular mayor.

It is also easy to see who she dislikes by whom she dumps on—fairly or unfairly. You can be sure that Ward 2 and Ward 5 are being studied by hopefuls planning ventures into civic politics.


Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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