Thursday, March 11, 2010


This week's perspective from Bob Reid:

Holy crap, what a meltdown! Toronto City Councilor Paula Fletcher absolutely lost it during debate on the new city budget this week – a plan which includes a four per cent property tax hike. A member of the public, one John Smith (honest to God, that’s his name) voiced his displeasure with the city’s fiscal plan. That sort of goes with the turf for politicians – you know, having to hear from less than happy taxpayers? But for some reason, Fletcher became completely and utterly unhinged, practically frothing at the mouth as she ranted back at Smith, outlining a list of programs and services and suggesting that he was advocating gutting some or all of them. “Is that your suggestion?!” she screamed, over and over again, then suggesting that Smith was some kind of mouthpiece for NewsTalk 1010’s John Tory (who encouraged listeners to attend and take part in the budget consultations), and finally daring him to run against her in the upcoming election (“Come on down, baby!!!”). Now, politicians do dumb things all the time, but it’s how they handle the aftermath that really takes the measure. Fletcher, the following day, in response to media pressure, issued a classic non-apologetic apology, one of those if-anyone-took-offense-then-I-apologize statements, coupled with a “but” about how passionate she is about protecting services. Later, she was more forthright, admitting that she “lost it.” Too little, too late. If you drop the ball, be upfront and prompt in saying you’re sorry – don’t get dragged there, and certainly don’t be equivocal about it.

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