Who purloined the penny-pincher's pig?
The question dogged city hall much of the afternoon on Wednesday as city councillors searched high and low for Budget Chief Mike Del Grande's porcine pal, better known as Mini Mike.
"Whoever took my pig, give it back," a dejected Mr. Del Grande begged council.
The councillor and his plastic piggy bank have developed a close bond in recent weeks with Mr. Del Grande shaking the Mini Mike's discordant coins at anyone suggesting new spending projects.
Councillor David Shiner stood in council to plea for the Mini Mike's safe return, suggesting the fate of the city's ledger hangs in the balance.
"He was saving very hard for our budget with that pig and it's hard to balance the budget without it," he said. "It definitely was a member of council that may have been asked to collude with it and hide it somewhere."
Speaker Frances Nunziata pledged to sick the integrity commissioner on the case. Some councillors suggest television footage be reviewed.
Right-wing councillors interrogated their left-leaning colleagues, certain that the pig-napping was retribution for Mr. Del Grande's thrifty ways with the city budget. They played coy.
"Do you know where it is? It's with the gravy," said Councillor Mike Layton when asked.
Others rose in council to question the budget chief's supervisory skills.
"If the budget chair can't take care of a pig, how can he look after a budget?" asked Joe Mihevc.
The budget chief characterized the theft as a major setback. "We have been collecting all our pennies to try and balance the budget. Now we have to start all over again," said Councillor Del Grande, who begged the robbers to be gentle.
"Just don't hurt piggy. We are willing to look at the ransom demands but just remember we don't have a lot of money here."