Toronto's Mayor, Rob Ford, is out of "rehab" and the election campaign, which has become something of a "phony war" will start again in earnest.
I don't feel like writing about Toronto politics anymore. I'm a firm believer in the old saying, "Don't pee in your own pool." The only reason I
started writing about Toronto in the first place was the "Bryant Affair", where the derelictions of the Press were beyond egregious and I felt that it
was going to be up to the online "samizdat" style journalists if anything like balanced coverage of that incident were going to be made available to
That led to other things, very importantly among them, the defense of Rob Ford.
Ford doesn't really need a defense, as Mayor. His record speaks for itself. He's saved the city hundreds of millions of dollars, the first mayor to do
so in a long time. As far as fiscal thinking goes, he has changed the culture at City Hall. The formerly "entitled" are, for the moment at least,
giving lip service to the notion of not wasting money and have made it clear that they share Ford's respect for taxpayers and THEIR money.
Unfortunately, Ford's opponents in the mayoralty campaign are also united in deploring his personal behavior.
Olivia Chow has gone so far as to express concern about the possible effect the Mayor's behavior would have on her grandchildren. Olivia hasn't really
made it clear whether she believes that the Mayor should stop having a substance abuse problem immediately or whether the Toronto Star should stop
reporting on that substance abuse problem immediately. The main thing is that people should elect Olivia because if the people elect Olivia then her
grandchildren, who are apparently very interested in city politics, would be able to take their impressionable minds off the entirely inappropriate
behavior of the substance addled ex-Mayor.
All the candidates feel much the same way as Olivia does on the matter of the Mayor's behavior, although none of them tug the heart strings with the
same irrational fervor as Olivia. However, they all seem to agree, "The Mayor is a buffoon. Elect me. I'm not a buffoon."
In Toronto it would seem that the number one qualification to be Mayor is not to be an embarrassment. Olivia Chow is unembarrassed by running a
national election campaign as a socialist while fully intending to merge her party with another, centrist, one after the election. One assumes that
she is not embarrassed by deserting her provincial NDP colleagues during the recent provincial election in order to be ready to be able to deal with
the re-elected Liberal Premier of the province when she becomes Mayor.
I found it shocking that John Tory admitted during a radio interview on AM 640 at the time of the last mayoralty campaign in Toronto that. "I would
never trust my own judgment." Is that an embarrassing admission in a candidate for Mayor? Do we want to elect someone who has no confidence in his own
judgment? Rob Ford, under the influence of drink, has demonstrated repeatedly that he ought not to trust his own judgment, under the influence of
drink, by embarrassing both himself and the city in a variety of buffoonish incidents. What sorts of buffoonery might we expect from a man, sober, who
doesn't trust his own judgment?
A mayor must be able to make fine judgments in order to set the agenda at City Hall. He must be a shrewd tactician in order to meet his objectives and
fulfill his mandate.
John Tory is intelligent, but is he shrewd? He is undoubtedly an able administrator. If you take Don Quixote, the romantic idealist, as one extreme,
and Sancho Panza, the shrewd and often vulgar but practical peasant, as the other extreme, then Tory is more like Don Quixote and Ford more like
Sancho Panza. Tory may want the best for Toronto and be sober as a judge, but he isn't as shrewd as Ford.
Olivia Chow is a cipher. She has no policies or plans. Toronto's ten month election campaign for Mayor is tailor made for people like her, people who
need a ten month orientation period to figure out what the heck is going on in Toronto.
But Olivia is "brilliant".
When the provincial election campaign was going on, Olivia noticed that the campaign for Mayor of Toronto was five times longer than the campaign for
Premier of Ontario, and, wait for it, The Toronto Star jumped right on the story.
Olivia had said something that nobody else had addressed in a more comprehensive way, for the first time in the campaign.
It was strange how this happened. You see, the campaign for Mayor was going on simultaneously with the campaign for Premier and also coincided with
the campaign for Prime Minister of the second most populous country on the planet, India. Olivia and The Toronto Star (and everyone else with a double
digit IQ) noticed that Toronto, "New York run by the Swiss", had a longer election campaign than either of the two larger entities.
As constructive criticisms go, it was a "no brainer", which is why Olivia and the Star jumped on it.
But the brilliant part, and this is really the key to understanding the cipher that is Olivia Chow, is that it is actually beneficial to her
personally to have a ten month election campaign for Mayor because she is the only candidate who doesn't know any of the issues, at least not the way
Rob Ford or Karen Stintz or David Soknacki or Sarah Thompson or even talk show host Tory does.
A ten month campaign will allow her to get up to speed with the other candidates. Until she does, she can adopt the posture of the "new broom" and
look relevant by calling attention to the outlandish length of the Toronto campaign, longer than the province's campaign and longer even than India's
This is just more of the "tittle tattle" style politics that is Olivia's forte. She must have been a terror in the schoolyard as a kid.
Stintz, Soknacki and Thompson are knowledgeable people but the former two are in this for future credibility. Neither has the weight, at this time to
haul the sort of freight our current Mayor has been hauling during his first term. For Thompson I don't think this campaign is more than a way to get
her ideas into the public discussion.
Looming over all is Toronto's transit situation, not the personal problems of the Mayor.
I know that The Toronto Star fully intends to make those problems the means by which they dispose of Rob Ford once and for all. Why they are doing
this is a mystery. They tried to torpedo his first election campaign and then dogged him throughout his first term of office.
To some extent they are responsible for making it impossible for him to concentrate on his job during his first term. After all, he was only able to
save the city almost one billion dollars. They even chided him about exaggerating his numbers, insisting that he only saved the city several hundred
million dollars, not a billion.
Perhaps if they had not been hounding him throughout his first term his substance abuse problems would not have gotten so far out of hand and he may
very well have pushed his savings over the one billion dollar mark in an indisputable way.
The main issue of this campaign is the transit issue and people should be very suspicious of anyone who attempts to fight this election on the basis
of "tittle tattle" and the personal smear.
edit on 30-6-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)