The mayoral chains of office are on fine display on a bust on a shelf in Darrin Canniff’s office. Just don’t expect to see them weighing him down at any council meetings.
Canniff, elected mayor in the fall of 2018, said the chains set him apart from other members of council, something with which he does not agree.
“The way I look at it is we’re a team. I am no better than any of the others,” he said of his fellow elected officials around the table in council chambers. “Wearing that (the chains of office) puts me on a pedestal. We are 18 people working together.”
He admits some sticklers for tradition may not agree with his decision.
“I view it as ceremonial, not practical,” Canniff said.
You will notice he dons the chains for ceremonial photos, such as the one on the municipal website.
He’s not alone in the decision to park the chains for council meetings.
“(Mayor) Mike Bradley in Sarnia says he hasn’t worn it in 30 years,” Canniff said.
But dropping the chains from his shoulders doesn’t mean Canniff doesn’t believe in other traditions. For example, the formalities of communication during council meetings, where all dialogue goes “through” the mayor, is something he said helps maintain civility.
“The ‘through you, Mr. Mayor’ is OK as it helps keep the discussions civil. That’s the purpose of it. You have to keep order in the meetings,” he said.
His traditionalist roots are also readily visible in his daily attire – suit and tie.
“I like ties. And people expect I should be wearing a suit and tie,” Canniff explained. “The chain is ceremonial. Wearing a suit and tie is more functional.”
The combo is also something he became quite accustomed to during his many years at Union Gas.
But Canniff said the tie could easily be optional as the municipality’s dress code is business casual.
“If I chose not to wear a tie, no one would say anything different,” he said.
Now, as for socks, Canniff said he owns a very diverse collection.
“I don’t own a ‘normal’ pair of socks,” he laughed, pulling up his pant leg to reveal a rather colourful pair.