Winners and Losers in Toronto’s Mayoralty Election
TORONTO – It is only right to congratulate the new mayor, Olivia Chow, on her victory. On behalf of the Corriere Canadese, which provided her with a first interview opportunity in her 2014 run, I applaud and wish her well.
All other candidates merit recognition for their input into the democratic process – some more than others. While the official vote count will not be certified until June 28 (tomorrow), the fact is that there was an increase of 10% in the voter turnout compared to last October, 2022. The increase alone should suggest a greater interest in civic engagement. We’ll see.
From a human interest and socio-cultural perspective, none of the top three vote-getters were “heterosexual white males”. In fact, all three are products of “the immigrant community”, representing three different racial subgroups in Toronto, started on the bottom rung of the ladder. Kudos to them all!
It does mean that despite the wailings of the “bleaters” in our city, merit does still play a role in where one ends up. There were 102 who were willing to be tested against that standard. They obviously could not all emerge victorious. The public is a discerning and exacting observer: only 13 of the 102 received more than 1,000 votes; together they accounted for 97.41% of the total ballots cast.
A superimposition of the votes on a city map may well suggest that the Toronto is beginning to tire of the amalgamation experiment that saw the elimination of the autonomous boroughs (cities) – Etobicoke, East York, North York, York, Scarborough and Toronto – in favour of a unified Toronto. The top two candidates appear to have relied on support that geographically points to decisions favouring “interests” of the “downtowners” (citizens south of Bloor St.).
The election finally raised issue of negative impacts of bike lanes to the transportation and commerce of the city. It also underscored the increasingly evident presence of “scofflaw” and violent behaviour within our municipal borders, the decay of our infrastructure and the growing indifference of Council and its bureaucracy to citizen concerns.
It may sound petty but the first greeting one hears on recorded messages – because no one answers telephones in government offices – is a variation of “if you raise your voice or are unkind to me, the call will be ended immediately”. If a citizen calls City Hall, for service that is likely not the reception expected.
Despite its reputed connection and closeness to the people, our municipal government may as well be located offshore.
Our Hope (to copy a campaign slogan) is that Mayor Chow will bring together a team to guide the city through this very rough patch in our history before we turn inward.