Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"It's about defeating the Fords, stupid." So I'm voting for John Tory!

Bob Hepburn delightfully sums up the state of affairs for about 65%-75% of Torontonians for whom the only issue in this municipal election is kicking the Fords out of the mayor's office after four years of woeful damage to our city's governance and reputation: "It's about defeating the Fords, stupid!"

Doug Ford is a simple-minded, thug bully who will appoint his brother to be deputy mayor should he somehow squeak up the middle and win on voting day.

But thoughtful, pragmatic, progressive, fair-minded people who aren't committed to far-left ideology are determined not to let that happen.  I'm one of those people.  Together, we will back the candidate who's run the best campaign and has won support across the entire city.  That's why after all these months I'm ready to do it: I'm ready to say I'm voting for John Tory for mayor.

I've always liked Tory, who I view as a moderate conservative with a heart, someone who is cosmopolitan and can finally represent all parts of this city in a way no mayor has since amalgamation in 1997.   I don't agree with everything he stands for, but I like enough of what he's proposed, including the smart policy of re-purposing existing GO rail lines to serve as rapid transit.   He's the only candidate of the three major ones remaining who has a plan that shows vision and creativity.

Olivia Chow seems happy to simply resurrect David Miller's legacy, which got us Rob Ford in the first place.   She's proven completely incapable of selling her plan to a broad swath of voters as she's only ever had to do so in the uber-progressive riding of Trinity-Spadina.  I always worried she wouldn't be the right mayor to unite the city after Rob Ford, and might even inspire a similarly grotesque far-right conservative backlash in 2018, were she to win this year.  But now it seems Chow is heading for big defeat on election night as voters like me switch to Tory to stop Doug Ford in his tracks.

Special memo to Chow supporters who continue to send out their annoying little tweets and attacks against John Tory's proposals, nitpicking on the details (which we all know will be fixed post-election) and trying to argue John Tory and the Fords are one and the same.  They are not and it's insulting to my intelligence to suggest it.   Only a far left ideologue who can't see beyond Kensington Market would believe John Tory is just like Rob Ford. 

In 2010, the city wanted a break from the left-wing experiments of David Miller and his failed management style.  They picked the most extreme opposite they could find in Rob Ford, mostly because no one with more credibility stepped forward.  As much as we hate the personal disasters of Rob Ford and the Ford family, it does seem like the voters in Toronto still want their mayor to lean a bit more to the centre-right.   John Tory can be that mayor, I think.

After so many defeats, it would be great to see John Tory finally win and see what he can do with the management of the city.  He'll be a very good mayor, I predict, should he win.   That's why I'm imploring all pragmatic, thoughtful, progressives to do the right thing: vote for Tory to stop the Fords.   Don't waste your vote on Olivia. 


Pamela Mac Neil said...

Hi Matt
I to am a liberal and will be voting for Tory. I think Torontonians want rid of the Ford thugs and Olivia Chow just doesn't have it.

Blue Grit said...

I have had the same dilemma, as I too, would prefer a progressively biased council. However, I came to a completely different conclusion.

You don't have to post this, but I did want you to consider the logic. It is somewhat convoluted.

In 2007 Tory could not understand the potential damage that faith based funding would have on the public education system. Even when advised on how unpopular it was, he did not see the problem. (Why?) Then after his lost, he essentially refused to accept any accountability. When one wants (and needs) to win an election, know that he will now say anything (or nothing) to garner votes. Does a man really change his core ideals after 55. Make no mistake he is a Conservative, with many markers (debts) to some powerful people.

Then you have the Fords. Doug is a bull in a china shop, and not the sharpest knife in the drawer. However, he is more about budget control, than big project plans and payoffs.
Another notable point is: Just because he is often blatantly ignorant, does not mean he is truly a racist (i.e. the Donald Sterling type).

Most importantly: If Ford won, there would certainly be more conflict in the council, but this would produce de-facto progressive governing, by push back alone. It will be messy and embarrassing at times, but sometimes it's better to go with the devil you know.

Matt Guerin said...

Thanks, Blue Grit. I did consider that issue a while ago. Tory wanted to resolve an outstanding injustice in Ontario which still exists. He chose what he thought would be the easiest solution from an implementation standpoint - rather than shut down the Catholic system altogether, instead provide funding to all faiths where numbers warrant. Unfortunately, it was the wrong choice. I don't think it was made due to some bizarre thinking; it was very calculated and designed to placate the right-wingers in his party. I don't think it actually reflected something he'd want to do on his own, but as leader of a party, he has different responsibilities than as one man (mayor).

And it blew up in his face, his party was crushed, he failed to win his own seat and he went through the terrible experience of losing another by-election. I think the right-wingers in his party who convinced Tory to put that in the platform failed to be held accountable for that, since they then used Tory's failure to jettison him out and put in Tim Hudak (and now they too thankfully have paid for their political sins.)

I can't see how a man can't have learned much from that episode even in his 50s. Plus it's a provincial issue. Even if he once was okay with the concept, as mayor he'll be taking care of transit, roads, planning, parks, basic stuff.

If we elect Doug Ford, we are basically saying the last four years were just fine and let's continue them. They weren't fine. They were horrific. I don't consider Tory a devil, I consider him to be a decent man who has worked hard, been humbled and still gotten up to fight another day. I like many aspects of his proposal including Smart Track. Under Ford, nothing will happen to address our urgent issues. I'm sure the council will be more progressive than the last one, I see many conservative incumbents in possible trouble. All in all, Tory will be forced to compromise but will get some things done.

We need to choose the best person for pushing our city forward in a good way. Doug Ford and Olivia Chow are not the leaders we need.