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OPINION Bill Walton, Limping Ducks

Of limping and lame ducks . . .
20170807 mallard walton

We noticed a limping male mallard duck near the #7 fairway the other day. As golfers do when they try to forget about poorly hit shots; we talked about lame ducks . . . anything but John`s Pro V1 ball that had just disappeared into the swamp. The conversation soon shifted from the mallard having arthritis to the political meaning of ‘lame duck’.

Dick had time while we waited on the 8th tee to check Google on his cell phone and found the definition of a Lame Duck President was generally used to describe a person whose successor is waiting to take over the office at the US inauguration. The sitting Prez has little or no power while he or she awaits their replacement. Apparently the term originated in England and meant someone who performed poorly or had no power. Either in the stock market or playing cricket. You can see how these things get their current usage.

Our foursome does not shy away from those taboo talking points: sex, religion, and politics. The sex part is usually about our prostate problems; the religion features jokes about a minister, a rabbi, and a priest; and politics anywhere from local municipal to provincial to federal. Don Trump’s name even pops up occasionally when we can’t find anything to say about Justin.

The talking point that day was the news piece that our young deputy mayor was considering a run at the Mayor’s chair. It may seem a little early to do that but already rumours are making little waves on the council puddle. We recalled how the Deputy started his campaign months ahead of everyone else in the last election. His posters and signs appearing everywhere – and it worked. Familiarity with the name and face helped him top the polls. Perhaps that is what he is thinking again – start early.

Dick (not his real name to protect my source) had heard that the current mayor might be stepping down. Maybe the deputy heard the same tale. However, to spice up the chat as we walked to the green, Dick said he heard – from a reliable source – that the fellow they threw under the bus over the Memorial Gardens fiasco might put his name in the hat. Now Dick had my complete attention. Then he added that at least four of the current council would not be running in the next election.

Interesting stuff but back to the limping duck. Municipal councils have a lame duck period between nomination day and the swearing-in of the new council. There are some things a council cannot do unless a majority of the council are acclaimed, and if Dick’s information is correct, that will not be the case next year. It’s just a thought, but wouldn’t it be nice if voters knew well before Nomination Day if councilors were considering running for office again? Say if we knew by at least Heritage Day (the old Civic Holiday) weekend next year who were going to be limping ducks and who were going to run for office. Of course they will all become ‘lame ducks’ come mid-September hunting and voting season next year. Nonetheless, it might give some extra preparation time to encourage a few good people to consider their odds in running for office.

The thing is even now those limping ducks in the Council Chambers can pass legislation for which they need not face the electorate in confirmation of their decisions. Shucks, they might even make a decision on ‘Summer Concerts in the Hockey Arena’ (tickets not wrist bands) before they limp out of office, not to mention West Ferris arena or King’s Landing decisions. Which is their right, but hopefully they would not pull any Bill Davis’ stunts and saddle us with future problems and more debt.

Now about those NAFTA negotiation’s: Talk about a limping Donald Duck! However, not to worry – Justin will have all our ducks in a row. Just saying.