Mike Savage's tenure as mayor of Halifax is off to a rocky start.
Savage has had to spend the past few days defending his decision to use
election contributions to pay himself a salary of $10,000 a month during the
last three months of the campaign. A salary almost three times higher than that
of the average Nova Scotian.
More importantly, for someone who promised to bring a new era of
"transparency" and "openness" to city hall, Savage has had to explain why he
didn't share this information with voters.
On CBC's Mainstreet
Savage, who refused to
release his list of donors or expenses before the vote, explained his decision
"There's no requirement to do it at any level of government, your expenses
are part of the strategy of the election campaign," said Savage, "you don't run
around and tell everyone how you are spending your money or how you are doing
your campaign, but I think it's important after the fact."
But in the middle of the campaign, Savage was specifically asked during an
appearance on Haligonia.ca
, if anyone on his campaign was being paid. Savage
replied "We have two - well we have one person who is paid, that's my campaign
manager, and we pay people gas or little things here or there to do aspects of
the campaign. We have one campaign director that's paid."
We now know that wasn't the whole story.
"It never occurred to me that they were asking me if I was being paid,"
Savage told Mainstreet's Stephanie Domet, "I'm not a staff member, I am the
This whole thing has, inevitably, sparked comparisons to how Mayor Peter
Kelly handled that secret $400,000 "forgiveable" loan to concert promoter Harold
In Saturday's Halifax Chronicle Herald,
cartoonist Michael de Adder drew a
picture of Mayor Kelly walking out the backdoor of city hall pushing a
wheelbarrow full of concert cash, while Mike Savage walks in the front door
pushing a wheelbarrow full of campaign contributions.
de Adder's unstated question is clear: Will Haligonians really get the
change they thought they voted for when they cast their ballots for Mike Savage.