Sunday, September 14, 2014

TIFF '14: Benedict Cumberbatch's 'The Imitation Game' wins People's Choice Award

Due to vacations and work, I took it easy on TIFF this year, seeing only four movies.

But I'm happy to say that one of those four films was Morten Tyldum's excellent 'The Imitation Game,' (pictured) which today won the People's Choice Award at the festival.  

Considering previous TIFF People's Choice winners include Oscar Best Picture winners like '12 Years a Slave,' 'The King's Speech,' and 'Slumdog Millionaire,' this bodes well for 'Imitation Game's' Oscar chances.  

And what a great result that would be for a film that chronicles the life and work of mostly unknown Alan Turing, a British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, computer scientist, mathematical biologist, and marathon and ultra distance runner, who led efforts to successfully crack the Enigma code during World War II.  Winston Churchill said that Turing made the single biggest contribution to Allied victory in the war against Nazi Germany.  Turing's pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in several crucial battles.

The film focuses mostly on those fascinating efforts, but does so while shining a light on a character, Turing, whose introverted/anti-social nature might usually have deemed him an unsuitable lead character for a feature film.  The fact that the audience overwhelmingly sympathizes with Turing is due mostly to the great performance by Benedict Cumberbatch.

As Variety puts it in their mostly positive review, "His Turing is a marvel to watch, comically aloof when confronted with as mundane a task as ordering lunch, but seething with the mad intensity of a zealot whenever anything risks impeding his work, and finally heartbreaking in his inability to cope with the cruel realities of the world outside Bletchley Park."

The film flashes back and forth between events around 1952 when Turing was arrested for gross indecency (something I committed last week, by the standards of Turing's time), to Turing's war efforts between 1939 and 1945, and Turing's youth where the shy, bullied lad briefly found platonic first love with a schoolmate named Christopher, whom he would later name his Enigma-breaking super-computer after.

By the end, the audience is left with a strong sense of sadness at the life of a mostly misunderstood and tormented man who, despite hiding most of his life from people, still contributed so greatly to his own time and all the decades since.  His work building the Christopher computer, capable of deciphering through millions of possibilities to break the German Enigma code, clearly formed the basis for the modern computer.   For him to die so young (age 41) makes obvious the profound loss and tragedy of this genius's life. 

Check out 'The Imitation Game' when you can! 

I also saw and quite loved 'The Theory of Everything' about the early life of another genius of our time, Stephen Hawking.   It was as impressive as 'The Imitation Game,' although perhaps not as tragic and poignant.  Star Eddie Redmayne was simply perfect as Stephen Hawking.  No doubt, Redmayne and Cumberbatch have great chances of landing Best Actor Oscar nods early next year.

The final two films I saw at TIFF this year were Abel Ferrara's 'Pasolini,' starring Willem Dafoe as the infamous Italian director/writer Pier Paolo Pasolini, which was interesting but not overly focused, and the stunning 'Love in the Time of Civil War,' by Quebec director Rodrigue Jean.


Jean's film about Montreal junkie hustlers who gravitate between hot sex and searching for their next hit, was a bit long but still hammered home the point of these sad, downward-spiraling lives.  As the lead, sexy and oft-naked Alexandre Landry (pictured above) holds nothing back and, despite looking often a bit grubby, still manages to be mesmerizing.   No wonder he was named by TIFF as one of four 'Rising Stars' this year.

There wasn't much love in this time of civil war, but that seems to be Jean's point in one of the better films I've seen on the subject.   This one deserves a wide, international release across the whole gay market, if you ask me. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Rob and Doug Ford pull a switcheroo in Toronto's mayor race, giving Doug Ford a $1.3 million advantage....

Big news today in Toronto with Rob Ford dropping out of the mayor's race due to health issues.  Now his brother Doug Ford is stepping in to run for Toronto mayor in Rob's place, because the family considers the mayor's chair to be Ford family property, I guess.


And Rob Ford, sick in the hospital awaiting a tumour diagnosis, is running for his old seat of Ward 2.  His 22-year-old nephew Mikey Ford has dropped out of the Ward 2 race to instead run for school trustee.

Yes this family seems to feel they are entitled to public office.  We'll see if the voters agree.

Here's my assessment of the situation.

This is bad news for Olivia Chow, who might've benefited had Rob Ford been forced to remove himself from the race without being replaced by his brother.   Then it would've been a choice between Chow and Tory, and progressive folks like myself would've had the luxury of choosing between them.

But now with Doug Ford on the ballot, the "AnybodyButFord" dynamic of this race continues.  I'm still just as determined to keep Doug Ford out of the mayor's chair as I was removing Rob Ford.  Both are cut from the same cloth.

Doug has less folksy charm and less political experience than Rob, two major parts of Rob's enduring appeal to Ford Nation types.  I would guess, considering the circumstances, that most of Ford Nation will continue to back Doug Ford in this race.  But no doubt, some might feel less inclined to do so.

Furthermore, the Rob Ford haters will, by and large, continue to oppose Doug Ford's candidacy for mayor.  So I don't think Dougie is going to win much support from elsewhere that Rob couldn't win.

But now that Doug Ford is a new candidate for mayor, he now apparently has the right to spend the maximum of $1.3 million to support himself between now and October 27th.   Money spent this year by his brother's campaign doesn't count against Dougie's new spending tally.

That's morally wrong since money spent this year to bolster the Ford brand is going to benefit Dougie.

I'm not too worried about that, though.   I don't think any amount of money will change many people's minds about the Fords now, but nevertheless this switcheroo today does raise important questions about spending fairness.  But no doubt, the Tory and Chow campaigns have been saving up the bulk of their own resources for this very late campaign period for advertising, so whatever extra cash Doug can spend may not make a real difference.  He still has to raise that money.

I'm only annoyed that since Rob Ford is running in Ward 2, this means the jerk could still be around to spread his poison a bit more and perhaps launch a comeback in the future (should, of course, he survive his current cancer scare.)

Not a great day for decent people in Toronto.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The awful Sam Sotiropoulos

A good friend of mine commented on this Global TV interview with idiot/homophobic Toronto school trustee Sam Sotiropoulos and said it all: "Kudos to the Global TV reporter here who doggedly attempted to engage demented school board trustee Sam Sotiropoulos on his inane comments about transgender people. His weird smirky "we're done here" glare near the end is the funniest/creepiest thing since Joe Pesci in GOODFELLAS." 

I couldn't agree more: 



Why do such losers get elected in Toronto suburbs and elsewhere for school board trustee?  Probably because most trustee elections usually are won and lost simply based on whose names voters vaguely recognize.   

But I'm hoping Sotiropoulos' shameful pontificating against LGBT people and Pride parades this year and against transgendered people recently gets punished this October.  Come on, Scarborough-Agincourt voters, does this man in this Global TV interview really speak for you?  

There is luckily one very strong candidate running against the bigot Sotiropoulos next month and she's gaining momentum: Manna Wong.  I may have to donate some money to her campaign.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

John Tory's critics complain about TIF but fail to admit all urgent transit relief plans will cost taxpayers eventually

I'm getting a little tired of John Tory critics picking apart his "Smart Track" proposal as "risky" and "dangerous" simply because he hopes to finance it with tax-increment financing or TIF.   

Such a plan could fall well short of paying the city's $3 billion share of Tory's plan, forcing taxpayers to pay in other ways.   John Barber is the latest to offer his condemnation. 

Here's the truth: it doesn't matter if TIF will pay Toronto's entire share of Tory's Smart Track plan or any new rapid transit line plan.  If TIF fails in the future to do so, the money will have to come from elsewhere.  How was that ever not going to be the case?

From Olivia Chow's campaign (when Warren Kinsella was running the war room), we only heard attacks on Tory for somehow flip flopping on his proposal to make a Yonge Street relief line his top priority.  Tory's not flip flopping; he's simply fleshing out a plan that works.  Her campaign hasn't attacked Tory's financing plans (that I recall at least), because they aren't talking about their own financing much at all.

To build the kind of relief we need on our subway grid, we either need to electrify and re-purpose existing rail stock to create the relief sooner.   Or we build it elsewhere from scratch and take many more years to do it.

Tory at least showed he can think creatively by rightfully using existing rail lines to better integrate TTC with GO and produce the results we desperately need much faster and probably cheaper (as using existing surface lines instead of tunneling through the city is cheaper by definition.)  

The idea is sound and even inspired Chow to copy it for a good chunk of her own transit plan.

I like Chow's overall transit positions more.   I admit they will cost city taxpayers billions to fully implement.  Her plan to expand bus service by 10% will also cost even more.   She hasn't fully explained how she'll finance all these ideas either.  David Soknacki, whose transit plan is very similar to Chow's plan, at least has admitted his proposals will mean big tax increases and fare increases.

But to say Tory's plan is somehow "dangerous" for taxpayers while offering no equal criticism to Chow's plan or Soknacki's plan, is disingenuous and just plain wrong.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rob Ford can't run a high school football team, and he most certainly can't run a city....

This is required reading for Ford Nation or those bizarre people who appear to be still considering voting for the turd in October, according to the turd pollster Forum Research.  

Here's an excerpt from the Daniel Dale story today: 

"Mayor Rob Ford made his high school football players “roll in goose scat,” threatened to beat up a teacher, showed up intoxicated to the final practice before the Metro Bowl, ignored requests to complete criminal background checks, stuck the school with a $5,000 tab for helmets he promised to pay for, and held an improper summer practice at which a player broke his collarbone, according to internal documents from the Catholic school board."

Yeah, sadly this disgusting behaviour doesn't shock us any more.  We're numb to Ford's excesses.  

After Ford has done so much lying, so much covering up, so much malfeasance, our collective reaction (at least those of us who are sensible and care about our city) should be to tune him out and scratch him off our list of possible recipients of our vote in October.   There should be no way he can win more support than 20-25%, which is about the percentage of dumb people who don't care about a mayor smoking crack on the job, I guess.  

That's why I don't want to believe today's Forum Poll which claims Ford is gaining and getting back in the game, only a few points behind frontrunner John Tory.   Really?   He lies incessantly for years about his record and his terrible behaviour, he's a confirmed bigot and has given us no evidence to believe otherwise, but now we'll consider voting for him still?  

I don't think so.   Forum is just acting like most of the pollsters out there these days: putting out bogus polls to get more attention for their brand.   They don't care how they compromise our democracy or distort how the race is going; Forum and others just want their poll to "get people talking" and get their company's name is as many media outlet stories as possible.  That's all. 

I'm waiting for the next Nanos poll.   


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"Our Next Progressive Toronto City Councillor": Kate Holloway formally launches bid for city council seat in Ward 20 in Toronto

I'm very happy to be supporting my friend Kate Holloway (pictured) in her bid for a Toronto City Council seat this October.  

She's running in Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina, which was Adam Vaughan's former seat until he resigned to run federally.

Kate is a sensational, hard-working person and community leader, as well as an environmentalist entrepreneur.  She has founded, managed and directed several environmental organizations, including the Toronto Women's Environmental Alliance and Carbonzero and has worked extensively in energy management and municipal infrastructure.  Level-headed, fair and compassionate, she'd be a great asset to the people of Ward 20 at Toronto city hall, as well as to all Torontonians.  You can read her full bio here on her website. 

I met Kate when I helped organize 'Liberals For MMP' in 2007, the grassroots Liberal group dedicated to promoting electoral reform in that year's provincial referendum in Ontario.  I also volunteered on her campaign to become the Liberal MPP for Trinity-Spadina that year, in which, despite very little time, Kate managed to win 14,180 votes in the riding and cut then-NDP incumbent Rosario Marchese's margin of victory by about 2,000 votes.

Her engaging and warm personality, her very strong leadership skills and her progressive values which nicely complement those of Trinity-Spadina voters, make her an ideal fit for the Ward 20 community.

Kate today held a press event at her campaign office at 222 Spadina Avenue in Toronto (Concourse Level) to sign her "Pledge" to the voters of her community.  I was very pleased to be there for it (video to follow later.)  Here's an excerpt from the press release:

“Our community and neighbourhood are at a crucial juncture, and on October 27 I’m the only candidate who can finish the fight that Adam Vaughan started,” said Holloway.  “I’m running to be our next progressive city councillor, I’m running to put residents first, and I’m running to win.”

Kate’s Pledge has seven clearly-focused parts that underscore her commitment to Ward 20 residents:

1.  Fight for our values
2.  Build transit now
3.  Smarter growth
4.  Less construction disruption
5.  New public spaces & more Kid Space
6.  Bike lanes
7.  A community you’ll be prouder of

“My Pledge has seven parts, and it’s crucially important that we accomplish them together to put residents first,” Holloway said.  “It’s my commitment to fully focus on our community’s core issues, and devote my complete attention to our neighbourhoods and our city, because there’s nowhere I’d rather be.”

A progressive entrepreneur, journalist, and political activist, Holloway’s roots run very deep in the Trinity-Spadina community.


“With trust, hope, and hard work, on October 27 we’re going to elect me to be our next progressive city councillor in order to put our residents first,” said Holloway.  “So let other candidates make promises – I’m the only one signing a Pledge.”

To find out more or to help out or donate to this great candidate, please check out Kate's website here. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Still struggling between John Tory and Olivia Chow in T.O.'s mayoral race

With this fairly quiet and not-hot-enough summer drawing to a close, the Toronto mayoral race is just about to switch into high gear.  Polls offer a hint of clarity as many lately have shown John Tory pulling ahead, Olivia Chow falling back and Rob Ford stagnating, including the reliable Nanos.

We'll see if that trend continues.  Without a doubt, Tory's got game and is performing well in this race, sounding reasonable, talking about things on the minds of most Torontonians like easing gridlock.  To date, his Smart Track proposal is his strongest play, despite the many attacks it's received from opponents.  There is much to debate about it, but at its core it best represents Tory's refreshing ability to think creatively about how to solve our transit crisis in this city by using existing rail lines and pushing for greater integration with the GO network.  


Much of Tory's plan depends on substantial action and funding from other levels of government, but so do all the transit plans being promoted in this race (except of course for Rob Ford's non-plan which calls for subways, subways, subways paid for by fictional efficiencies.)

I still don't like the Scarborough subway extension plan which would add three stops instead of seven, serve fewer people, take twice as long to build and cost $1 billion more than the existing Scarborough light rail plan.  Tory supports the stubway, as do Rob Ford and Karen Stintz. 

Olivia Chow's transit plan is better for Toronto, in my opinion.  She wants to build the better LRT in Scarborough, and continue with the LRT lines for Sheppard East and Finch.  She unveiled more details today, also promising to integrate electrified GO lines into her subway relief plan, while still proceeding with an actual new subway from Pape station south and west to Union Station.   It's Transit City Plus Smart Track, in many ways.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery, John Tory could say.  


We'll see if this better transit plan helps Chow re-capture some momentum.  She'll have to relentlessly promote it at every stop as transit seems to be the biggest issue in this race.  

Still, Chow's speaking style in this campaign has a lot to be desired.  She's somewhat likeable, but comes across as flat and uninspiring.  Her years as a background political organizer in the shadow of her late husband Jack Layton hasn't helped her develop her macro-retail political skills.  Her disadvantage as someone whose first language isn't English is proving a difficult barrier to overcome.  Had she the personality of Kathleen Wynne, Chow might be able to win this thing despite that.  But alas, her support seems to be dwindling to just the core left of the city.  

I'm not entirely sure how she can recapture her earlier lead.  With Tory performing so well (and that will only increase after Labour Day when he no doubt ramps it up), Chow could get pushed aside and find herself an also-ran. 

For me, yes I would like to vote for someone whose transit plans I support.  No doubt, that would make me a natural Chow supporter.   Her longstanding support for cycling also makes her quite appealing to me.   On the other hand, John Tory's expressed doubts about east-west dedicated bike lanes in the city's core have been off-putting.  Lately, he's said he has an open mind about them, which is good as they're desperately needed by cyclists like me.   I soon need to see a John Tory cycling plan for the city that makes sense.  

Tory has vacillated between sounding like a thoughtful red Tory open to smart, progressive ideas, to sounding like a right-wing pretender who uses the term "NDP" as an insult for opponents and talks about stopping bike lanes to help traffic flow faster.  He needs to clarify things and really emphasize his trump card: that he's the best candidate to unite the city, suburbs and the downtown, as a cosmopolitan conservative with a heart.   If Chow can somehow convince voters she's better to unite the city, she might have a chance to overtake Tory. 

But for me, all of the issues mentioned above are secondary; the only real issue for me is getting rid of Rob Ford.  I will vote for the candidate who has the strongest lead in all credible polls to beat Ford, hands down.  I can live with anything in John Tory's platform if he is the person to beat the goof currently occupying the mayor's chair in Toronto.

If polls show Tory way ahead in this race, with Chow continuing to flounder barely ahead or even behind Ford, I will happily vote for Tory.  Should Chow regain some momentum on Tory, leaving Ford in the dust, or even if Chow recaptures her lead in the polls, then she'll get my vote.  If it's too close to call between Chow and Tory, I'll have a tough choice to make.

But if current trends continue with Tory solidifying his new momentum, he'll get my vote, despite his support for the Scarborough subway extension. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Edward Keenan hits nail on the head of Rob Ford's "shamelessness" and "ignorance"

Very pleasant reading today courtesy of Edward Keenan in the Toronto Star.

Here's an excerpt:

"Is he shameless, or ignorant? Those seem to be the options. If he knows what he is talking about, then he is being brazenly dishonest. If instead he is attempting to be truthful, then he suffers from an ignorance so profound as to be worthy of an Adam Sandler movie treatment.


Does anyone still believe Ford's lies?  The wilfully ignorant and shameless, for sure.  And of course the bigots for whom Ford gives permission to feel "normal" and "mainstream" again.  For those who missed it, here is a clip of the reaction some LGBT people and allies received from Ford Nation mobs last week: 


But thankfully, the Ford era seems to be heading to its conclusion, according to good pollsters who continue to show Ford stuck in the 20s in terms of popular support.  He's well behind Olivia Chow and new frontrunner John Tory, I'm glad to say.

We can't afford to be complacent.  We have to continue to fight against this anti-mayor bigot until he is voted out of office.   I intend to continue to do that.   We can ignore the idiots who still make up Ford Nation.   The rest of us simply have to decide for whom to throw our support to ensure Ford's defeat: Tory or Chow.

More on that choice in the coming weeks...

Victory in Uganda as Anti-Homosexuality Act struck down in step towards ending discrimination

Wonderful news!

Uganda: Anti-Homosexuality Act struck down in step towards ending discrimination | Amnesty International

"Uganda's Constitutional Court today ruled that the Act was "null and void" as not enough representatives were in the room for the vote when it was passed by Parliament in December 2013." 


“Even though Uganda’s abominable Anti-Homosexuality Act was scrapped on the basis of a technicality, it is a significant victory for Ugandan activists who have campaigned against this law. Since it was first being floated in 2009, these activists have often put their safety on the line to ensure that Ugandan law upholds human rights principles,” said Sarah Jackson, Africa Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty International.
“We now hope that this step forward translates into real improvements in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people in Uganda, who have been trapped in a vicious circle of discrimination, threats, abuse and injustice for too long.”

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ford Nation bigots provoked by rainbows at Ford Fest; similar themes explored in great short film 'The Divide' by directer Ashley Monti

A very good friend of mine, director Ashley Monti, recently shared with me a copy of her new short dramatic film called 'The Divide.'  The short film chronicles the efforts of armed, quasi-vigilantes who patrol the U.S.-Mexico border to try to stop illegals from entering America.  Here's the trailer below:



The American Film Institute-produced film has played at several film festivals so far including the Rome Independent Film Festival, the Albuquerque Film & Media festival and the Toronto Italian Contemporary Film Festival.  It was also recently programmed into Montreal World Film Festival which runs August 23 to 27, 2014.  If you have the opportunity see it, I recommend you do. 

The most impressive thing about the short film is the intense emotional impact it packs in just 15  minutes.  Most of the characters in the film are gun-toting Caucasians cautiously guarding their country's borders from folks they deem unwelcome.  Not all of them are violent; indeed, the main character, a retired rancher, seems mostly interested in protecting his family.  Although his recruitment of his adult grandson and arming him with a gun proves quite destructive: the young man ends up shooting a young Mexican woman trying to cross over.  The two men bicker about what to do next until they are joined by more militant militia compatriots who try to seize control of the situation. 

Monti's direction is powerful, showing the tragedy of lost humanity amid hatred, ideology and stupidity.  Most of us know little about these types of people who "guard" the U.S.-Mexican border to keep foreigners out.   It's great this little gem of a film shines a light on the subject.  All around, it's a great calling card for the director, as well as writer Kate Weddle.  

The themes of lost humanity amid hatred, ideology and stupidity, as well as a major and tragic cultural divide, reminded me about what's been happening in Toronto lately.  The most recent example happened Friday evening when anti-mayor Rob Ford held his annual bbq in Scarborough's Thomson Memorial Park designed to promote himself and his family.  Thousands of Ford Nation lemmings showed up, the type for whom no behaviour from Rob Ford is too repulsive to shake their support.

But also showing up to the public event were some very brave LGBT activists with rainbow flags, signs and bullhorns ready to send a message to the Fords and their supporters that most of us outside Ford Nation hate what their bigot has done to our city.   They were met with derision, homophobic slurs and violence (both physical and destructive of property.)  




CP24 even got this shot which they described as an "alleged assault."  Not too much alleged about it, if you ask me:



It seems when you, in not so subtle ways, signal unrelentingly disrespect and hatred toward the LGBT community, as Rob Ford has done, that hatred trickles down to the lemmings who are emboldened by your arrogant bigotry. 

In response to the violence, Toronto Police mimicked their investigation into Rob Ford's other crimes by simply standing around, observing and then not laying any charges.  

In the end, it took Doug Ford to try to "calm" the waters by apologizing to the LGBT community, but then doing his typical thing and blaming the LGBT activists for the assaults.  

The divide between smart Toronto and Ford Nation remains as wide as ever. 

*******UPDATE********

Yes, Toronto Police seem to have an inconsistent approach to handling crime.  If you merely encourage online for people to throw food at Rob Ford and nobody ends up doing it, you still get charged with counselling an uncommitted indictable offence.

Meanwhile, if you're at the event and put your fingers around the neck of a LGBT protester in a threatening manner like the man pictured above did, or you tear personal property like signs out of other people`s hands and destroy it, and it's all recorded on video, the Police still won`t do anything about it.

I guess Toronto Police can`t tolerate alleged crime when it`s committed against Rob Ford, but when it`s committed by Rob Ford or his supporters, it gets a pass.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Toronto Taxpayers Coalition don't give a crap about real taxpayers, only helping out Conservative politicians...

This statement below released today by Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow caught my attention: 

Reality Check: Taxpayers Coalition Misses Biggest Bill Taxpayers Face

FRIDAY, JULY 11, 2014

Oversight, cosy alignment with conservative candidates, something fishier, who knows? But the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition ignored the priciest issue in the mayoral race…in a questionnaire about taxes and fiscal responsibility.  It’s the $1 billion bill for underground rail to Scarborough.

It’s the most expensive subject of debate, despite delivering four fewer stops than the above-ground option—and shovels not starting to dig until 2019.  So it’s more than strange that the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition didn’t bring it up at all. Don’t they speak for the very taxpayers that Ford and Tory want to make pay $1 billion more than they have to?  Olivia answered earlier than the August 1 deadline and released her replies, asking why it ignored the most expensive issue being discussed.

Chow makes an excellent point.  If you read the survey questions (and Chow's answers) available here, the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition makes no mention of the misguided Scarborough subway plan which Chow opposes.

This seems at odds with the Coalition's stated mission on its website: "The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition is a non-partisan advocate for the municipal Taxpayer. We are committed to lower taxes, less waste, and holding government to account with respect to how they spend your hard earned money."

It seems not only is the Coalition quite partisan, but they are not committed to lower taxes (otherwise they'd oppose the Scarborough subway), they are not committed to less waste (otherwise they'd oppose the Scarborough subway) and holding government to account (which they aren't doing on the issue of the Scarborough subway boondoggle.)

In response to their hypocrisy, I sent the following email to the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition.   This is not a group that in any way is advocating for this Toronto taxpayer!

COPY OF MY EMAIL TO TORONTO TAXPAYERS COALITION:

The Scarborough Subway plan pushed on the city by Rob Ford and other councillors looking for Scarborough votes would cost Toronto taxpayers an extra $1 billion in tax increases!   

Yet you support this over the less expensive and FAR BETTER existing plan to build an above-ground light rail train that would have 4 more stops, serve tens of thousands more people and be built four years sooner!  

You clearly don't care about taxpayers in this city.  Your only real concern is supporting conservatives, no matter how fiscally irresponsible their plans may be. 

YOU ARE LYING HYPOCRITES!  

Glad that Olivia Chow, whose position on this issue of Scarborough rapid transit expansion is the most fiscally responsible of the major mayoral candidates, properly called out your hypocrisy in this statement today:  

http://www.oliviachow.ca/reality_check_taxpayers_coalition

This issue of supporting a light rail train extension into Scarborough over Rob Ford's stupid subway plan will be Chow's strongest card to play for the rest of this race, I think.  It's the main reason why I may end up voting for her.  I simply cannot support politicians who support this disastrous and fiscally irresponsible plan to build a subway extension into Scarborough with just 3 stops over the better LRT plan to build 7 stops stretching all the way to Centennial College.  It's a misguided attempt to win votes for all those politicians supporting the subway plan.  In fact, I'd say many in Scarborough support the LRT plan too for the reasons stated above.  They know a Rob Ford boondoggle when they smell it!

Monday, July 7, 2014

John Tory takes lead in new Nanos poll on Toronto's mayoral race

Well, things are getting interesting.  Just two days after I decided to ignore most public opinion polls except for Nanos Research polls, that very company has come out with a new poll in the Toronto mayoral race.

The results put John Tory ahead with 39.1% support, Olivia Chow in second with 32.7% and incumbent buffoon Rob Ford trailing badly with just 21.7% support.  None of the other candidates garner even five per cent support.   The random telephone survey of 600 Torontonians was conducted between July 2 and July 5, after Rob Ford's big return to the scene after finishing two months of cottage country rehab.

I must say I trust Nanos polls quite a bit, due to both their methodology of contacting actual people, as well as their solid track record.

So it seems that John Tory is catching on with the public, and Olivia Chow has not yet done so.  I refuse to say that Chow has somehow lost her lead in the race as the only polling company that put her in the lead was Forum Research, a polling company I do not trust.

So I guess my recent instinct judging Chow currently has the most support is wrong; instead, it seems Tory is currently in the lead. 

I have to say I quite like John Tory and have been seriously considering supporting him in this race.  I've also felt the same way about Olivia Chow.  Both have their strengths, but also weaknesses.

I agree with Chow's positions on most issues, including banning jets from the island airport, promoting cycling, and building Light Rail Transit in Scarborough instead of the ill-conceived Scarborough subway extension.  On the other hand, I question her ability to lead a large corporation the size of Toronto when she's never managed anything that size in her life, as well as unite the city between downtown and suburbs.  While electing Chow might feel good in the short term, I worry about a longer-term conservative backlash which leftie politicians like Chow and David Miller always seem to inspire.  Such backlashes historically have given birth to truly regressive, neo-conservative regimes.   Rob Ford was the beneficiary of such a conservative backlash in 2010.   I shudder to imagine what the next conservative backlash might look like after Chow.

Tory, on the other hand, has few weaknesses, except perhaps not being the strongest campaigner.  I must say I quite like his 'Smart Track' proposal which makes sense and looks like it could achieve the much needed results of a "downtown relief line."  Tory is a moderate, compassionate red Tory and a cosmopolitan who understands the downtown as well as the suburbs.   He can be a ditherer who takes a long time to make decisions, but I prefer that to the numb skull ideology of the incumbent.  I'd be quite comfortable with Tory as mayor.

Could this be the year John Tory finally graduates from perpetual loser to electoral winner?  We shall see.  I'll be waiting for the next Nanos poll to see if this lead is part of a trend, or a blip.