Some of you have asked if I am helping with any political campaigns in the municipal election. The answer is no. I did no work on campaigns in the provincial or federal election either.
I will let you know that Wendy and I are friends with a few candidates and councilors like Jeff Jackson and Zach Jeffries. I have hundreds if not thousands of political discussions over the last five or six years with them, often mocking and criticizing them. I have called out Zach in columns and in the blog and I think I have been fair when I have done it. I can tell you that I have never pulled a punch or a criticism of a politician because of a friendship and that has ended some friendship (which sucks by the way).
If Jeff wins, I can’t promise to call him out but if he does anything stupid or against the interests of the city, I most definitely will call him out on it somewhere. He knows that and I am sure will tell me how wrong I am at a high volume when I do.
Some ask me if that influences what I write about. Yes and no. No in the sense that they don’t give me direction on what to write about. Yes in that some of them are also reading and researching aspects of urban life and they bring up some interesting idea of policy being looked at or implemented somewhere, I read it and research it myself. It’s just nerds sharing ideas on urbanism and cities.
Wendy and I are both friends with Councilor Pat Lorje. Both Mark and Oliver would consider her a friend as well. Now that I think about it, most of our conversations have to do politics outside of Saskatoon. American politics and even some Spanish discussions. She also has given Wendy and I some solid parenting advice which we appreciate. For those of you who follow my writing, you know that Councilor Lorje and I are on the opposite sides of some issues that both of us feel quite strongly about. She has gone to great extent to telling me how wrong I was on columns in the past and I assure you she will in the future.
I also have a good working and personal relationship with Councilor Darren Hill. We have grabbed the occasional drink over the years and mostly discussed issues relating the ward and city. Most of those were constituent – councilor conversations but like all of politicos we do talk politics. We also have disagreed on things over the years. I have endorsed him the last two campaigns. I may or may not this one but I think it is fair to Darren and anyone who is running against him to wait and see campaign platforms before I endorse.
Wendy and I both get along with socially with some other councilors. I don’t offer up that much in policy suggestions but if I have read something similar to what they are musing about, I tend to fire them off some things.
Before you accuse me of being too close to council, let’s recall they hired a RCMP investigator to investigate non-existent leaks to me. I also think as a group they collectively are one of the worst city councils in Canada. Some of them have personally expressed their contempt and hatred of me in person and in writing. I try not to take it personally.
Those of you who have seen me having a drink or a coffee with a politician need to know this, they aren’t asking me for advice and if they are good at what they do, they ignore any advice they give them. I don’t care about the political process which is bad for a politician in an election year. I am not a strategist, a tactician, or anything else. I am a friend and a pundit but I tend to stay out of it during campaigns other than listen to funny door-knocking stories.
If you have any thoughts or concerns about my objectivity, let me know. I’d love to hear them.