Has this been a weird election, or what?
TORONTO – As I was writing this, one of the candidates appeared on a [non politically correct] rant bemoaning the sad state of affairs in the City of Toronto. That candidate, a current Councillor and part of every decision agreed to by City Council in the John Tory era, attempted – vainly, to this observer – to lay all of the city’s woes at the feet of the forgotten ex-mayor.
I’ll bet that most Torontonians were just beginning to wonder what happened to their mayor. Now they know. Judging from his haggard, disoriented look and dishevelled appearance (for him/them), he/they resembled a victim of the 19th century “press gangs” scouring the taverns of England’s cities in search of “volunteers” to serve in the Majesty’s Royal Navy in the interests of colonization and oppression.
Having precipitated an election that no-one needed, the former mayor emerged to bestow “the kiss in the Garden of Olives at Gethsemane” upon a former Councillor, now his/their preferred candidate for mayor. Barring divine intervention, another candidate will be the beneficiary. It is, as the saying goes, all over but for the counting.
That candidate will be “indebted” to few organizations, at least not to LiUna (“feel the power”) Local 183, other Construction Unions and the Transit workers. One will have to wonder how the Councillors who rushed to the same standard/flag as Tory will feel in the Siberian hinterland – where their “enemies” on Council will wish them to be banished.
It seems that only the “inside workers” (teachers’ included) Unions guessed correctly. As did the NDP, the only political entity unabashedly supporting one candidate. For them, the campaign was not about Toronto but about who can best stop Premier Ford, three years from now.
None of this augurs particularly well even for media types. They, and we, have a stake in the outcome. The Corriere Canadese is in Court against a particular current Councillor and their former colleague; the Toronto Star chose the same candidate as Tory and eight members of Council did, despite pollster after pollster repeatedly saying, “do not go there”.
The Corriere made its pages available for in-depth interviews to willing candidates. It is no secret that, if we had to make a choice, we might prefer someone reflective of our readership – all other things being equal. Not all candidates took advantage of the offer.
Italians are no longer ethnically or linguistically the biggest non-Anglo demographic in the city, but their numbers are still in the vicinity of 178,000 residents, as per the last census. They have a culture of voting. So, missing out on the opportunity to address them directly should be counter-intuitive and questionable, politically speaking.
We decided, as an editorial board to follow the format you will read from each of our main writers without committing the newspaper to a particular candidate. We hope this is viewed as being in the interests of focusing the last-minute discussions on the issues that in our estimation should have been front and center.