Don Mitchell "Will Leave a Void that Will Likely Never be Filled"


Terry Gabel

Don Mitchell has now attended his last Moose Jaw City Council meeting as an elected member. His resignation becomes effective on June 30th. It was an emotional goodbye from his colleagues on council, which including Mayor Tolmie reading Robbie Burn’s poem A Red Red Rose. But this will not be the last City Council chambers will feel his presence.  He will be back, even if from the other side of the speaker’s podium. He will never be able to completely forego his love of community.

Councillor Mitchell’s exit from council will mean much more than the loss of just one voice.  Over the years, “politician” has become a tainted and perhaps even dirty word.  “Politicians” are often dismissed as self serving and arrogant, disconnected from the people they purport to represent.   They are seen to be more interested in ensuring re-election than standing on principle. The public distain for “politicians” can been seen in the recent election of “anti-politicians” like Donald Trump or Doug Ford. Don Mitchell stood in stark contrast to this perception.

Councillor Mitchell believed in the people.  In grass roots politics.  He not only welcomed but regularly sought and even fought for more public input. Don Mitchell valued public opinion as much as any expert report or professional opinion. The people of Moose Jaw are, for him, what make Moose Jaw unique. 

Don Mitchell was a conciliator. He often tried to find common ground. He listened to and respected the opinions of others, especially when they differed from his own.   Of course he had his limits, as evidenced by the rare out burst of “bullshit” when it got too thick around the council table. But he could always be trusted to stand his ground and he always stood by his principles.

Councillor Mitchell made a very difficult decision. He struggled long and hard, but ultimately made the only choice he could…  the only choice any person of integrity could make.  He is stepping down from council to focus on his family. Don Mitchell will leave a void that will likely never be filled. He was a very special breed; a politician in the truest sense of the word.  In an era of a jaded population and the emergence of anti-politicians, a politician of Don Mitchell’s ilk, if another exists, is unlikely to succeed.