Conflict to be expected on City Council

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Is it me, or does anyone else see a pattern developing already in reporting on the new city council by the local media? That is to say: Freak out at any sign of discord or disagreement among the Mayor and the councilors.

I’m not sure why this is happening.

Isn’t this type of political conflict to be expected when you gather together 15 individuals, all with their own constituencies and agendas, to make decisions for the common good?

Now, I know Mayor Ed Holder ran on a platform of being the “Great Conciliator” who would be able to bring the 14 Councilors together for a consensus to emerge on decisions which have to be made — some of them being very contentious. But to expect consensus on every issue is naive and just plain silly.

Having run on what for all intents and purposes was an anti-BRT ticket, Holder’s choice of Councilor Jesse Helmer — the BRT Project’s biggest cheerleader — as his Deputy Mayor may at first chance seem odd. But, to be sure, it is a calculated political attempt to bring Helmer into his fold and perhaps burden him with so much work he won’t have time to do a lot of lobbying for the project.

Maybe the local media and Londoners grew too used to the homogeneity of the last council which seemed to march lock-step on most civic issues.

But, as I learned in my first-year Political Science class at UWO way back in the mid-1970s: “Politics is conflict, and the resolution of that conflict.”

Given the differences of opinion on major issues like BRT and supervised injection sites on this new council, I’m sure we can can expect more conflict rather than less over the next four years.

Londoners, including the media, better get used to it.

December 6/18

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