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But while we support fiscal restraint at City Hall, we don’t support the Ford circus.
And the Ford circus — starting with the mayor’s outrageous conduct under the influence of alcohol and drugs, while lying about the fact he was an addict — undermined the Ford agenda.
Doug Ford, now running for mayor in place of his brother who is battling cancer, says he shouldn’t be blamed for the failings of Rob Ford and that’s true up to a point.
But he cannot claim credit for the good things the Fords accomplished and then absolve himself of all responsibility for the bad.
The Fords lost control of their agenda because they failed to build the political alliances necessary to sustain their policies through four years in a 45-member council, where the mayor and his brother have only two votes.
The Fords thought, wrongly, they could bully council into doing their bidding, a fatally-flawed strategy which eventually drove even their allies away.
The Fords claim they were the victims of bullying — that many on council and in the media were out to get them from the start.
And that’s true, but they played right into their hands.
We wish Rob Ford a successful recovery from his addictions and from cancer.
But it’s time to end the circus.
City Hall needs to be run like a business that delivers services to taxpayers in the most efficient ways possible.
We don’t believe Doug Ford — who has called councillors “little monkeys” and “a pack of wolves” — can do that.
We believe John Tory can and that he is the best candidate to get Toronto moving forward again, with everyone pulling in the same direction.
Tory is a consensus builder, not a bully.
As Tory puts it: “We really are in this together. The most creative, diverse, innovative and successful cities have always depended on strong leadership, vision and the ability to create successful partnerships and citywide initiatives that capitalize on their strengths. I know we have what it takes to succeed. I believe in building One Toronto.”
Tory has a wide range of political support on council and among both Liberals and Conservatives at Queen’s Park and on Parliament Hill.
That will stand him in good stead as he seeks funding from both levels of government to implement his major election promise — SmartTrack — to address the city’s biggest problem, congestion and gridlock.
It is notable that the Toronto region’s contribution to our national economy, roughly 20 per cent of GDP, matches that of Greater London, in the United Kingdom. Page 4.
Toronto has the highest share of national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) among the North
American peer jurisdictions, contributing 18.5 percent of Canada’s GDP and 45 percent of Ontario’s GDP, and making the region the economic engine of the country (Exhibit 3). Page 14
For Ontario alone, the association of Municipalities of Ontario in their June 2008 working paper estimated that to close the estimated gap between actual infrastructure spending and what is needed would require at least $5.9 billion a year over the next ten years. this spending estimate includes transportation; water systems, wastewater systems, and storm water systems; solid waste facilities; parks; and municipal buildings. given that the infrastructure gap has yet to be addressed in any significant way, this figure surely underestimates the magnitude of the current gap. Toronto’s infrastructure gap is estimated to be around $30 billion, roughly equivalent to half of the ontario total. Page 19
The Board joins many research organizations and businesses, such as Siemens Canada, the OECD,
and PricewaterhouseCoopers, in their wariness of the region’s underinvestment in infrastructure and the potential impact on the competitiveness of Toronto. The region needs an increase in sustainable infrastructure investment from governments and businesses as infrastructure forms the foundation for economic activity.61 Page 64
Toronto’s infrastructure needs are great but the region is encumbered by what are widely recognized as constraining fiscal relationships with senior levels of government (provincial and federal). Despite the fact that cities are responsible for delivering the bulk of public services, everything from policing to social housing, on average they only collect 8 cents of every dollar, while the other 92 goes to the province and federal government. Page 73
But being mayor is about more than having a transit plan.
Tory will approach that job in a calm and thoughtful fashion, which is what the city needs right now.
His personal life — and he has spent most of it in the public eye — is beyond reproach.
He won’t embarrass our city or the office of mayor because of his behaviour, nor will it interfere with his job or undermine his agenda.
We have concerns about Tory.
His desire for consensus can at times devolve into dithering.
A good politician not only has the right allies but makes the right enemies, knowing you can’t keep everyone happy all the time and be effective.
We worry Tory is too close to the Liberals at Queen’s Park.
As chairman of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance, Tory praised Premier Kathleen Wynne for proposing new revenue tools (read: taxes) to build public transit, but now claims his $8-billion SmartTrack plan can be built without raising property taxes.
We’re skeptical about that claim and we fully expect there will be times in the next four years where we will oppose Tory.
That said, among the candidates running for mayor, John Tory is the best choice, by far.