Letter to the Editor

My recent submission to the letters page met with some selective editing. Yes, the submitted piece was too long, but the editors always find a way to cut the most relevant parts. Here’s the original with an emphasis on the  lines of import edited out:

July must be a slow news time at the StarPhoenix. How else can you explain that, in successive editions, readers were treated to two prominent articles and one opinion column dedicated toward how some city councillors are demanding to make the mayor’s itinerary public?

In the initial report of this riveting exposé, Coun. Pat Lorje complains that she’s been missing out on some events in her ward to which she was not invited. Ostensibly, she wants to make sure that groups don’t feel snubbed by her absence. However, in the followup piece, some of Lorje’s pals on council appeared to be changing this tune. Couns. Loewen, Paulsen, and Iwanchuck now insist that it’s not only about the coordination of public events, but also accountability and transparency.

This titillating investigative trifecta was topped off with Gerry Klein opining that the current animosity on city council is largely to blame on the lack of leadership by the mayor. Given that disputes involve, by definition, two or more parties, Klein bizarrely and conveniently ignored the lack of leadership displayed by the mayor’s ideological counterparts on council who, in the months before a civic election, are focused on how no one is inviting them to public events.

The mayor was elected to represent Saskatoon, both in the city and abroad. He seems to attend every event in town, and even his detractors would admit that he is one of the hardest working politicians in the country.  While his position affords him greater opportunity to be invited to these events, his consistent effort in maintaining his schedule and promoting local causes is the reason he keeps get invited back time and time again.

That these councillors aren’t being invited to the same events in their own wards speaks less about the mayor’s intransigence and more about how much their constituents value their local representation. If these councillors want to preen, pander and campaign at public events, they ought to consider trying to make themselves seem like they are capable of more than just taking cheap pot-shots at the mayor.

Rob Huck
Saskatoon, SK

To re-iterate, the mayor has earned his invitations to public events through dedication and hard work, and the councillors are whining that they aren’t afforded the same treatment even though they haven’t earned it. And the paper is trying to smear the mayor as a result.

It should be noted that I’m not blaming StarPhoenix reporter Dave Hutton for attacking the mayor. His mention of the “Richmond Hill city council” in the first story was obviously influenced by Gerry Klein who, in his column, talked about his conversations with a Richmond Hill councillor.

First, where is Richmond Hill? Second, who cares what they are doing in Richmond Hill? Third, Klein is welcome to endorse a rival mayoral candidate in the upcoming election, but at least he should have the decency (or professionalism) to keep his influence out of the news pages when Hutton reports a uncontroversial controversy.

Am I making too big of deal of this? Or is the paper making too big of deal of this? Let me know in the comments section.

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