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Toronto's Race for Mayor : Following Fools, The Sun Endorses John Tory

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posted on Oct, 19 2014 @ 09:18 PM
The Toronto Sun has endorsed John Tory for Mayor.

In doing so, I think they are voicing an impulse felt by all of humanity under stress, the impulse to stop striving, to relax, to rest, to fall asleep in the snow drift, to curl up and let Daddy do the driving, to get away from chafing blankets and chilly air by crawling back into the warmth of the womb.

In the festival of frivolity that is Toronto politics, in the Toronto press, the Toronto Sun tells us that "It's time for Tory." I'm reminded of an earlier period in the long saga of entitlement at City Hall when another candidate in another race for Mayor of Toronto proclaimed, "It's time for Tony!"

It's a game of musical chairs, you see.

Incomprehensibly, the Toronto Sun, introduces their endorsement of John Tory with a substantial list of the accomplishments of Rob Ford, before going on to slam both Fords before giving the reasons they have for endorsing Tory. I won't go into Rob and Doug Ford's accomplishments.

But while we support fiscal restraint at City Hall, we don’t support the Ford circus.

Fortunately the Ford circus is not running for Mayor.

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.

The Mayor's spectacular achievements were undermined by a relentless campaign of harassment of him led by The Toronto Star. The Ford Circus, as circus, was created by the Toronto Star.

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.

It is completely true, not true up to a point, completely true.

But he cannot claim credit for the good things the Fords accomplished and then absolve himself of all responsibility for the bad.

Yes he can. Absolutely. The good and bad sides of this story are completely unrelated.

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.

This is utter nonsense. They lost stature on council because of the media circus created by the press, a circus that consisted of relentless, day to day character assassination of the Mayor. The press fomented division on council and even resignations of members of the Mayor's staff by putting people under relentless pressure, by taking pains to associate the Council and even the reputation of the city, with the Mayor's leisure time activities.

This was an active campaign to destabilize the Ford administration, in my considered opinion. It started during Mr. Ford's first campaign for Mayor, before any scandal about recreational drug use had come to light, and never let up.

Despite that, responding to a poll conducted by The Toronto Star, of city councillors, the vast majority of them, with a handful of dissenters, said that the term of council coming to an end had been a productive one, notwithstanding the "roller coaster ride" occasioned by coverage of the Mayor's problems.

Sue-Ann Levy, of the, wait for it, Toronto Sun!!!!!, can tell you much better than I can about the long time campaign by the press and others in Toronto to destroy the political career of Rob Ford.

. . . but going back to the quote, above, from the Sun's Tory endorsement, one gets a good idea of the sort of politics that has been conducted in Toronto for many of the recent decades. The Sun appears to approve a politics of back room and under the table deals, out of sight of the public, a politics unmarred by unseemly incidents of disagreement. The Sun appears to prefer the politics of "the fix".

The politics of "the fix" is the very essence of politics in Toronto.

I believe that John Tory's candidacy is an example of that, the result of back room dealing with the provincial government. I believe that his candidacy has been under preparation since shortly after he dropped out of the campaign that brought Rob Ford into the mayor's office. Tory's "talk show" on the radio was a transparent attempt to portray him, incongruously, as someone "interested in the man in the street". Remember, this is the guy that lobbied on behalf of Rogers Communications to keep that company from having to compete for your business.

In order to be received as a serious candidate, and receive the endorsements of the federal and provincial governments, I believe that he has undertaken to eliminate the chance that funding for transit expansion will be sought anywhere but through massive loans, new taxes and user fees.

Doug Ford believes that there is money available, in the form of taxes already paid, at both the federal and provincial levels. These two levels of government do not want another Ford in the mayor's office in Toronto, asking for that money. They don't want a strong voice in the politics of this city reminding Torontonians that the Toronto Region Board of Trade and The Federation of Canadian Municipalities have both stated that municipalities, like Toronto, are grossly underfunded.

Those organizations say that Canadian municipalities get only 8 cents out of every tax dollar we pay . . . and that it's not enough.

The federal and provincial governments don't want an uppity Mayor of Toronto addressing that issue. They want John Tory to tuck us all into bed. The Toronto Sun's editors are fine with that, apparently.

Back to wisdom from the Sun:

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.

A little explanation, perhaps an example, might have helped here.

Sue-Ann Levy has written, see link above, that it was Rob Ford who was the consistent, long term victim of bullying by other council members and by the press. The Sun's editors actually agree. Apparently the Fords were both bullies and bullied.

Sounds like city council meetings are a bit like the MMA, where bullying and being bullied are all part of the process. Only the Fords lose the support of the Sun as a result of it, however.

We wish Rob Ford a successful recovery from his addictions and from cancer.

But it’s time to end the circus.

Is the Sun vowing to drive The Toronto Star, ringmaster of "the circus", out of business?

City Hall needs to be run like a business that delivers services to taxpayers in the most efficient ways possible.

I think they mean that City Hall should be run (run again?) by the political mafia. All the old timers will tell you that Las Vegas was never run so well as when it was run by the mafia.
edit on 19-10-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

edit on 19-10-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 19 2014 @ 09:19 PM
The Sun goes on to say:

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.

Tory is a "sandman", droning vaporous platitudes, that he may well believe himself, that are guaranteed to put the public to sleep so that the people he really represents, the federal and provincial governments, can control the financial strategies of the city of Toronto.

The following is platitudinous blather, designed to convince unsophisticated Torontonians that the former lobbyist for Rogers Communications has their best interests at heart.

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.”

The following passage of the Sun's endorsement is particularly reprehensible. I have bolded one completely disingenuous part.

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.

What this is intended to do is to convince people that Tory is going to have to work to get the very busy and preoccupied federal and provincial governments to contribute toward financing transit expansion in our unimportant little city, Toronto, as if a sales job were necessary to accomplish that.

This is a complete misrepresentation of reality.

This kind of writing could have been done in the Prime Minister's office or in that of the provincial Premier, Kathleen Wynne. The reality is that both the federal and provincial governments have no choice but to put money into transit expansion in Toronto, and other infrastructure projects, if they want our society, nationally to continue to prosper.

We Torontonians lose several billion dollars in business, and federal, provincial and municipal governments lose hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes every year already because the regional transit system can't handle the traffic demands upon it.

Here are some quotes from the Toronto Region Bord of Trade publication entitled, Toward a Toronto Region Economic Strategy:

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

Toronto experienced negative productivity growth from 2000 to 2010. It is lagging behind all of its peer metropolitan areas.

Toronto region has a huge infrastructure backlog.

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

This, the unfair distribution of tax dollars, is the real, though ignored, issue in this election and in every municipal election in the country.

Unfortunately everyone who can see the problem is walking on eggs around it. Doug Ford has been most vocal but still talking softly with no stick in sight, and Olivia Chow has been acting like a cross between Minnie Mouse and Pollyanna as she lays out her transit plans, refusing to enunciate what is really going on with tax money in this country.

John Tory is the exception. He doesn't see a problem. His job, I believe, is to just keep going along with the status quo.

The consensus building that the Sun refers to in connection with Mr. Tory's search for funding from the feds and the province for transit expansion, refers to the "consensus" that Toronto should fund 33.3% of the cost of transit expansion as should the federal and provincial governments, but should collect only 5.7% of the taxes that flow from that expansion, while the other two levels of government should collect, as they have in the past, 94.3% of those tax dollars.

That's the kind of consensus Mr. Tory has constructed in his real constituency (the federal and provincial governments). That is the kind of consensus that needs to be deconstructed and dispensed with entirely.

Here's what the Sun says:

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.

If elected, of course, he will have to display that calm against a background of "little monkeys and wolves" down at city hall. Good luck with that.

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.

His agenda certainly won't be undermined by the provincial and federal governments. I fully expect Mr. Tory to maintain decorum. The Sun got that right.

The Sun, a newspaper with huge amounts of journalistic integrity, even express reservations about Tory. Keep in mind that expressing reservations about the Titanic, prior to boarding, couldn't possibly compete with refusing to board any boat that the owners advertised as "unsinkable".

edit on 19-10-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 19 2014 @ 09:19 PM
Here are those reservations:

We have concerns about Tory.

His desire for consensus can at times devolve into dithering.

I just thought of a great campaign slogan for the Tory campaign. Elect Mr. Dithers. (Youngsters unfortunately won't know who Mr. Dithers was. He was an elderly puppet on a kid's show on TV. If Tory is Dithers, I must be Phineas T. Bluster.)

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.

Unless you're Rob Ford of course and the press insists that you make your omlette without cracking eggs, or else.

We worry Tory is too close to the Liberals at Queen’s Park.

Do ya think? My, my, but were getting suspicious all of a sudden. Whatever could he be up to with them?

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.

Well done, Toronto Sun! You should cultivate skepticism when writing about politics. That "claim" will never happen, or, if it does, it will be because "property taxes" are disguised as some new user fee, like a "sidewalk scraping fee" charged to cover "depreciation of the sidewalk" caused by snow shovels in the winter. The zeitgeist is all about inventing new fees and taxes. Anything to avoid confronting upper levels of government. Take it to the bank.

That said, among the candidates running for mayor, John Tory is the best choice, by far.

I'd like to close by addressing the readers of the Sun's Tory endorsement.

I'm reminded of a line fron the movies, " Who is the bigger fool, the fool or the fool who follows the fool."

Don't follow fools, Toronto. Don't vote for John Tory.

edit on 19-10-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

edit on 19-10-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

edit on 19-10-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

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