Following her compass


(Louise Severson, right, shakes hands with city clerk Sandra MacDonald after filing her revised nomination papers.)

More than a year ago, former councillor Louise Severson was taking to social media to deny her leadership of COPS had anything to do with another run for mayor.

And now, well, here she is.

Yet again, I will give Severson the benefit of the doubt, since she told me, after the close of nominations, her involvement with COPS did not launch her into her current mayoralty bid.

In fact, the peculiar trajectory Severson has followed, leaving COPS many months ago, landing in the race for councillor, then bouncing up to the mayoral race, suggests this was not a carefully premeditated plan that started with the OPP debate.

It may have simply been a matter of shaking the compass.

Nearly four years ago, after losing the 2010 battle for mayor to David Henderson, Severson recalled how, in her 2000 campaign for council, she had trouble orienting herself around the city, so her good friend, Chuck Pearce, gave her a compass to help her find her way.

That day in late November 2010, as she bade farewell to council, Pearce refused Severson's return of that compass, giving it back to her and suggesting she would use it again in four years.

Here we are, four years later, and Severson, having put her name to get her old councillor job back, has discovered that compass was pointing her back to the mayoral race all along.

I am not endorsing a candidate in this fascinating three-way battle for mayor, but I will say honestly I respect Severson for her move.

From where I am sitting, it looked like Severson would sail quite easily to the upper middle range of the vote counts for the councillor battle, easily securing one of the eight seats up for grabs.

Instead, she is choosing a greater possibility of defeat, with only one seat available and two other substantial candidates running against her.

She is choosing that greater possibility of defeat because the alternative is the certainty of regret about what might have been.

The next six weeks will show voters whether Severson has the many qualities required to be mayor. For now, we know she has the one that involves not settling for an easy win.