He's not the 'huggy' type


What is political coverage without a bit of humour? That would be dour indeed.

So it was refreshing to see members of city council generate a reasonable amount of humour at their marathon triple-header of meetings Tuesday.

Quips are a great way to relieve the monotony and tension of a long council session, and a few members of council are known for their ability to toss the occasional barb.

Some of the best humour, however, flows from the very character of the person uttering it.

And the award for that type of funny goes to Mayor David Henderson, who gave us a slice of his character Tuesday night that is perhaps his most concise self-summation.

The marathon was nearing its end when the topic turned to Councillor David LeSueur's proposed marina study.

There was no way councillors were going to approve $50,000 for this project, nor were they inclined to pay for half of it after LeSueur amended his motion downward.

But LeSueur has made his mark as a keen and sincere champion of projects that do not come close to unanimous support: a business incubation centre, the railway tunnel, a new marina...

So colleagues considered it considerate to acknowledge that passion and energy by prefacing their shoot-downs with complimentary words. The template became to praise the project as a great idea, worthy of future consideration, and then proceed to the objection.

For all except the mayor, who long ago cemented his reputation as the council member who is furthest from sentimentality (Tom Blanchard comes in a close second).

The praise-and-object template had been used repeatedly by the time it was Henderson's turn to speak, and he was having none of it.

Instead, Henderson used this completely honest preface: “I can't do that huggy thing that everybody's doing at the start of it...”

Granted, this did not generate the rolling guffaws of a Mike Kalivas or Jason Baker zinger, but its intrinsic comic value needs to be acknowledged.

Deflating niceties can be fun – especially when everyone in the room knows they are just that.