And They’re Off…With A Whistle

There was no confetti falling on a convertible car with our newly elected mayor sitting in the back, waving at the cheering crowds, along North Cowichan’s main drag. But today’s eagerly anticipated (at least by me) municipal council swearing-in ceremony did start with a parade, if only a small one.

A piper, clad in his plaid, and two red-suited RCMP led Mayor Jon Lefebure and his six councillors into council chambers at the municipal hall. The seating capacity in this room is about 70; it was a full house. (70 seats? There are 28,000 residents in North Cowichan. God help them if a flash mob shows up at a council meeting).

As they entered the room, I was about to stand for the cheerful ovation these seven hard-working people deserved, when I realized I would be the only one ovating. Apparently, this was not a time for celebration, but a time to sit silently and gawk.

Are you kidding me? I worked with Barb Lines on her campaign, and after a month of door knocking, speech giving, interviews, and responding to questionnaires and online discussions, Barb deserves more than a quiet entrance — as do all the candidates. I was so proud of them my heart was beating out of my chest. But there I sat, quietly, like one of the herd.

Not for long.

Each candidate had to swear on a bible that they would be good. Mayor Jon was up first. After swearing in, he was adorned with his mayoral bling: a golden medallion neck chain that would make rap artist 50-cent envious. (Dude, that is heavy metal. Does he have to wear that thing at every meeting? Good job he’s a basketball player because those shoulders are going to get a workout!). Once decorated and seated in his chair at the council table, we clapped, though in my mind not with enough enthusiasm.

When it was Barb’s turn, I said to the woman sitting next to me, “I’m sorry for what I’m about to do.” After Barb swore on the bible that she would be good, and the crowd clapped, I whistled — with two fingers, extra loud, and extra long. If I’d had confetti, she’d have been covered in it.

All sworn in, our new council set to the business of the day. They passed a few motions, made a few comments. Mayor Jon appointed himself, Ruth Hartmann, and Barb Lines to the CVRD board. That’s a big deal. The other big deal (and what must have been a surprise from the look of gratitude on her face) was the appointment of Ruth Hartmann as Deputy Mayor. Basically, if Mayor Jon is M.I.A., Ruth gets to wear the bling.

Let the games begin!

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