Mayors Gone Bad, a series of profiles of recent and current Canadian mayors gone amok, is an entertaining companion volume to the bestselling Lawyers Gone Bad. Whether they’ve misappropriated funds, had cosy relationships with Mafia hoods, been caught with prostitutes, or admitted to smoking crack, Canada’s mayors are a colourful collection: Peter Kelly, long-serving mayor of Halifax, driven from office by investigative reporting of ethical lapses; Gerard Tremblay of Montreal resigned in suspicious circumstances; Michael Applebaum of Montreal faces criminal charges of fraud; Gilles Vaillancourt of Laval also resigned and faces similar criminal charges; Alexandre Duplessis of Laval left after a hooker scandal; Joe Fontana was convicted of fraud and is under house arrest; Susan Fennell of Brampton was under police investigation for possible criminal use of city funds; Sam Katz of Winnipeg was dogged throughout his mayoralty by conflict-of-interest allegations; and Rob Ford made headlines across North America as “the crack-smoking mayor of Toronto.” But it’s not all bad news: Philip Slayton writes about the “western triangle of mayoral goodness,” Nenshi of Calgary, Iveson of Edmonton, and Robertson of Vancouver. Also, Slayton features four foreign mayors who have made an impact: Jón Gnarr of Reykjavik, Boris Johnson of London, Michael Bloomberg of New York, and Anne Hidalgo of Paris.
Aside from creating a rogues’ gallery of mayors, Slayton offers insight into the nature of municipal government in Canada and speculates about why people seek the office of mayor. Little real power is exercised by any mayor, but the abuses of that power are nonetheless significant. As well, Slayton provides a series of proposals to reform municipal government. Written with the dry wit that made Lawyers Gone Bad a national bestseller, Slayton’s new book is an eye-opening look at how we are governed.
Philip Slayton is the bestselling author of Lawyers Gone Bad and Mighty Judgment. A Rhodes scholar, he has been a law clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada, dean of a Canadian law school, and senior partner of a major Canadian law firm. Currently, he is president of PEN Canada. He divides his time between Toronto and Port Medway, Nova Scotia.