- Bianca Müller
Mayor Peter Kelly is a disgrace to the city of Halifax and everyone who lives here. He has repeatedly dishonoured council and has destroyed the reputation of city government.
Kelly's sins are multiple.
Kelly worked with a small cabal of fellow conspirators to work around the city's normal financial controls and, in violation of the city charter, to secretly give cash advances totalling over $5 million to concert promoter Harold MacKay, even when he knew that MacKay had lost $700,000 hosting one of the biggest-drawing acts on earth, Paul McCartney. And when the cash-advance scheme ultimately went belly-up, costing taxpayers $360,000, Kelly refused to own up to the part he played in the fiasco, claiming he was out of the loop. He allowed another man, Wayne Anstey, to take the blame. The buck stops somewhere else.
Even during the course of normal city business, Kelly has relied on secret council meetings and secret meetings in his City Hall office, going so far as refusing to make his office guestbook public. When public opinion polls showed that the citizenry had lost its patience with the secrecy, Kelly laughingly tried to portray himself as the champion of open government and issued a brazen press release calling for an "“overhaul" of the very secrecy that Kelly himself imposed. "Public debate is the very air that democracy breaths," read the release. "We must open our windows as wide as possible to achieve that kind of ventilation."
In years past, it was perhaps possible to think of Kelly as a bumbling fool. But the curtain has been pulled back, exposing Kelly for what he truly is---a calculating grifter, playing the chumps for fools.
The claim that The Coast violated Kelly's personal life when we showed how he had removed over $160,000 from the personal bank account of a dead woman is laughable, to put it mildly. But the truth of his handling of the Mary Thibeault estate does indeed speak to Kelly's personal character---and shows that it is rotten to the core.
Unfortunately, this town works such that the powerful are rarely held to account. Councillors don't have the dignity of office to take action against Kelly. Reporters still chase Kelly around seeking quotes after council meetings, as if the mayor has even a scintilla of moral authority to speak for anyone at all. The cops are giving Kelly a pass. The public may or may not care about Kelly's multiple sins, but either way is evidently powerless to do anything about them.
If Kelly had any self-respect, he'd do what the community can't seem to muster the courage to do, and remove himself from office pronto. But no, he doesn't‚ and he won't.
We're symbolically expelling Kelly in this report card, but the truth is we'll all have to suffer through to October, a testament to his rotten character, and our collective shame