It’s easy if you follow politics for enough hours of the day to find your ugly, surly side. Gone are our Capraesque notions of the nobility in public service, if ever they existed outside of, well, Frank Capra movies. We have grown to expect the worst in anyone who offers themselves up for political office. What are they really angling for? What’s the matter with them anyway, can’t they find a real job? How many times have you heard this sign off on a discussion of politics? A plague on all their houses!
Certainly a municipal mayoral campaign like the one we’re experiencing currently in Toronto does little to buoy a person’s outlook. Government, bureaucracy, they are the enemy. Anyone speaking in favour of the public good cannot be trusted and is suspected of wanting to only pad their own nest. Ill-temper and mean-spiritedness rule the tone of discourse.
(Even writing that I can feel every atrophied editorial muscle in my body screaming – OK, squeaking – don’t write that, don’t write that! Unless you’re being facetious. Are you being facetious? If you’re being facetious, that’s OK then. As long as everyone knows you’re being facetious. Will they know you’re being facetious?
What is wrong with me?!)
I had myself a very pleasant and upbeat experience at a political fundraiser is what I’m trying to say without getting all embarrassed and fearful of losing whatever edge cred I might have. The room was full of positive talk and energetic people who weren’t ashamed about expressing a desire to contribute to the building of this city rather than ripping it apart. Yes, there were some dark discussions about the odious possibility of a Mayor Rob Ford and the clusterfuck that was the G20, yet it was mostly background noise. A soft, discordant noise that vaguely grated but never imposed.
As for the candidate herself, Karen Sun, well, she is, or should be, considered a serious contender in Ward 19. She brings a decade of experience working and volunteering with and around the city on numerous environmental issues which is clearly her métier. But her resumé is also full to bursting with work on matters like immigration, human rights and sitting on advisory committees like Toronto’s Emergency Medical and Fire Services. Civic groups like the Maytree Foundation, Toronto City Summit Alliance and Diverse City have tapped Ms. Sun for her leadership capabilities.
However, she will be up against it in the council race in the form of Michael Layton, son of you know who, and who’s already picked up the endorsement of outgoing councillor and mayoral candidate, Joe Pantalone. Mr. Pantalone did himself no favours around this office with that move which smacked of old school horse trading. My machine for your machine? Michael Layton will have to bring his A-game to the table if he wants to convince us that he would better represent Ward 19 at City Hall than Karen Sun would.
For progressive minded voters out there, this may be the key to a successful election outcome in the fall. Let the mayoralty chips fall where they may, hoping for the best of a worst lot and concentrate your energies on electing council candidates like Karen Sun. Yes, that would be handing over the bully pulpit that is the mayor’s office to some disagreeable views and opinions, lending them credence and traction. But the mayor still only carries one vote and if they can’t muster 22 likeminded councillors to their way of thinking then it will all be nothing but bluster.
So maybe candidates like Karen Sun are the way forward and the hope for breaking through the darkness that has descended on civic life in this city.
– shinily and happily submitted by Cityslikr