Beyond the Headlines

Savage's campaign salary

Posted: Nov 5, 2012 11:33 AM ET Last Updated: Nov 5, 2012 11:33 AM ET
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 this way.
"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, 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 candidate."
This whole thing has, inevitably, sparked comparisons to how Mayor Peter Kelly handled that secret $400,000 "forgiveable" loan to concert promoter Harold MacKay.
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.

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About the Author

Brian DuBreuil is a veteran journalist with CBC News. He has won two Gemini awards for his work, and neither involved dancing or singing on a reality show.

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