Parties with Fashion Santa rather than participating in council's most important votes of the year.
Norm Kelly (Ward 40, Scarborough-Agincourt) missed council’s most important votes of the year because he was too busy being 6ix Dad.
— Steam Whistle (@SteamWhistle) February 18, 2016
The septuagenarian councillor with more than 200,000 Twitter followers attended most of Wednesday’s budget debate, but was nowhere to be seen when it came time to vote. @norm made the decision to leave the deliberations to attend the Notable Awards at the Carlu, an event meant to celebrate the best in millennials. Other VIP guests at the event included chef Susur Lee and real estate honcho Brad Lamb.
Meanwhile, council voted on various amendments to its $10-billion budget, including whether to flatline the police budget or fund more childcare spaces (they voted no to each of those). The votes were the culmination of two-and-a-half months’ worth of debates at City Hall, and affect policies for the next year.
Kelly was not the only councillor absent from the proceedings, but others had more understandable excuses. Rob Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) missed the debate, but he has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments; council voted to excuse his absence.
Kelly has defended himself against criticisms that his Twitter celebrity is a distraction from his duties as a councillor. In December, he responded to a critique of abdicating his role as a councillor in favour of being 6ix Dad by writing a Globe op-ed with the title “Having a popular Twitter account doesn’t mean I’m not doing my job.”
On Wednesday, that did not appear to be the case.