On The Plus Side

July 15, 2011

Lest anyone be dejected that no good came out of this month’s clusterfuck shitshow of a council meeting, take heart. I can think of two things. Or people, as it were.

A couple rookie councillors emerged as genuine, forceful bona fides on the council scene. Both faced their own respective trials by fire over the last few months and stepped up from being hopeful prospects and into full time positions in the majors. While tough to celebrate given the circumstances, it should still be cause for at least a brief round of applause.

As any long time follower of this blog will know, way back when in the summer and fall of 2010, we were not supporters of then candidate Michael Layton here in Ward 19. In fact, we heartily endorsed one of his opponents in the race to replace Joe Pantalone, Karen Sun. Having watched a couple of the debates and briefly chatting with Mr. Layton when he came knocking at our door, nothing about him jumped out favourably at us. Like many constituents in this ward, we looked at the baggage/advantage he carried being the son of a former city councillor and now leader of the federal NDP and stepson (we think) of another former city councillor and current NDP MP with a certain degree of disdain. There was talk of needing a fresh start without any attachments to the past.

That said, having him an elected as councillor was not the worst thing that happened on election night. Rob Ford’s now mayor?! Cesar Palacio was re-elected!?

Certainly Mr. Layton did not assume office with any air of entitlement. I think I’d even go as far to call him tentative, not an immediate presence in council chambers. He seemed to go for the slow rollout, getting his sea legs, learning the ropes. I softened toward him when he hosted a town hall gathering during the lead up to the budget battles. Admitting that he was new to the process and didn’t have all the answers, he brought in former budget chief Shelley Carroll to help explain to the gathered residents what to expect when council began debating the budget.

Councillor Layton’s first mini-splash came during a subsequent council meeting when, in the middle of speaking on something or other, he was set upon by Councillor Doug Ford who took a rare turn to actually speak out loud, blustering and burping the usual nonsense that flows forth from his gob. Layton held his ground, effectively counter-punching until Brother Doug ran out of steam and plopped himself back down to his seat.

The feistiness flared up again Wednesday when Layton attempted to get Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong to commit to tearing up the Jarvis Street bike lanes only after the alleged protected lanes on Sherbourne Street were functioning. As is his way, Minnan-Wong avoided addressing the issue by spuriously accusing Layton of spearheading the building of the Fort York bridge, in place years before Layton was elected. Layton angrily called Minnan-Wong on his crap and demanded a retraction. Minnan-Wong complied in his typical weasel fashion to which we have become accustomed.

Ah, yes. The Fort York bridge. Councillor Layton’s nasty introduction into the politics of the Ford era. At last month’s Public Works and Infrastructure committee meeting, Ford loyalist, David Shiner, greasily sandbagged Layton with scant advance notice, that they were taking the bridge back to the drawing board and the issue was as good as dead. Layton scrambled to get the necessary 2/3s majority vote to bring it to council for debate but, unsurprisingly, fell short. Tough lesson learned but battle stripes earned.

The Public Works and Infrastructure committee also initiated Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam into the rough and tumble, oily manner of city politics, Ford style. Like Mike Layton, she too was blindsided at the very last minute about a project under threat in her ward. You might’ve heard about it. The Jarvis bike lanes? Mousy but obedient councillor, John Parker gave her about a 5 minute heads-up, after all the deputations had been heard, that plans were in the works to remove the lanes. You don’t have any problems with that, do you councillor?

Like Layton, Councillor Wong-Tam fought an uphill, losing battle in defense of the well-being of her ward but in so doing helped expose the members of the Ford team as mean-spirited, small-minded and categorically unable to defend their positions. When she submitted her 3 motions to save the bike lanes on Jarvis or to ensure they were not removed before the promised Sherbourne lanes had, in fact, been established, Wong-Tam simply embarrassed Councillor Karen Stintz who stood up to try and poke holes in the motions. I don’t know if Stintz didn’t do her homework or was simply performing a half-hearted gesture of solidarity with the mayor but she ended up doing herself or her side no favours. With each hard return from Wong-Tam of Stintz’s goofball queries, it became painfully obvious that, despite being the veteran in the exchange, Councillor Stintz was simply out of her depth and out her league.

So what, you’ll say. At the end of the day, the ill-informed and malignantly intentioned won out. Hoo-rah for the losing side and their hopeless causes. But I happen to think strong character is best forged in defeat. Winning is easy especially if it’s achieved through deceit and, let’s call it what it was, treachery. It’s how you handle yourself and what you learn when you come up short that ultimately counts. Councillors Layton and Wong-Tam were tested and met the challenge. I think we got a couple of keepers on our hands.

happily submitted by Cityslikr


The Real Swing Factor In Trinity-Spadina

April 20, 2011

[Yesterday our email inbox contained a message that so nailed how we were feeling about the federal campaign going on in our riding that, with the author's permission, we wanted to share it with all of you. Plus, it gave us the day off to head out and enjoy our lovely spring weather.]

*  *  *

I am exasperated!

Today I read yet another article about how the Liberals and the NDP both need to court the centre-right condo vote in order to win Trinity-Spadina. But the “conservative condo vote” has been mentioned for almost a decade as a swing factor, only to disappear when the votes are counted. It is a cliché and it is wrong.

The real swing voters in Trinity-Spadina are independent progressives.

The NDP does not own the progressive vote in Trinity-Spadina, and cannot take it for granted. Many progressives grimaced as the NDP dithered over the long gun registry, or adopted the Tory anti-tax talking points on the Green Shift, or called for cheaper fossil fuels, or sided with conservative unionists who fear environmentalism costs jobs. These progressives really like Olivia Chow, but they also worry that the NDP is perhaps less a party of urbanists and environmentalists, and more that of culturally-conservative rural unionists who think Toronto pinkos can go to hell.

These swing progressives are the people who voted for Adam Vaughan over the NDP-endorsed Helen Kennedy municipally in Ward 20 (Jack Layton had reportedly threatened to “bury” Vaughan if he ran against Kennedy – nice!). These are also the people who voted for Karen Sun over Jack Layton’s son in Ward 19 last year. These alone represent about 12,000 T-S votes, or one-fifth of the voting electorate. These are the people who will decide the results in Trinity-Spadina, not the “conservative condo vote.”

And yet the condo cliché remains. Here’s the Toronto Star talking to Sean McCormick, an inexperienced Fordesque fiscal conservative who had been bizarrely endorsed by the federal Liberal T-S riding association in last fall’s municipal election for Ward 19 councillor. Not only did McCormick place third, even with the supposedly-mighty conservative condo vote, he was so incompetent that he defaulted on his campaign financials, the only front-running council candidate in the City to do so. (Liberal donors to McCormick’s campaign: according to City bylaw, this default means you are no longer eligible for the City’s 75% donation rebate). Bad enough that these Liberals endorsed an incompetent candidate, but the real stupidity is that they are chasing after conservative voters in Trinity-Spadina, and not progressives.

Clearly, the T-S Liberal riding association is still gripped by the dead hand of Tony Ianno, who was the Liberal MP from 1993-2006. He is famous around here for the contrast between his ruthless hold on power locally, and his lack of presence in Parliament. In 1988, he pioneered some disgraceful practices in the nomination process, practices that William Johnston said “strike at the legitimacy of the most fundamental process of our democratic system.” In 1996, as the feds were turning over harbour commissions to municipalities elsewhere, Ianno fought to create the Toronto Port Authority and put it under federal control. One of its first acts was to sue the City of Toronto for a billion dollars, and the TPA has been a continuous “fuck you” to the city ever since. In 2003, Ianno also pioneered new ways of getting around his own party’s campaign finance law, by creating a secret trust fund that was described in the Montreal Gazette as “a recipe for corruption.” In 2006, he shut down campus polls at U of T, the same thing Iggy slammed the Tories for doing in Guelph. To top it off, Ianno now faces stock manipulation charges.

After this Liberal stronghold fell to the NDP in 2006, you might have hoped the Trinity-Spadina riding association would seek a fresh face who could win back progressive Liberal voters. Next door, in Parkdale-High Park, the Liberals replaced a similarly defeated, similarly uninspiring Liberal with progressive Gerard Kennedy, who was able to defeat the popular and hard-working NDP MP Peggy Nash and retake the riding (some people say, “what a waste,” but why shouldn’t voters get to choose between good candidates?). You might also have thought the T-S riding association would be especially sensitive to the fact that their former MP was now facing an OSC probe during a recession caused by securities shenanigans.

Instead, just weeks before the 2008 election, the Liberals replaced their irritating former MP with Christine Innes, the MP’s wife. If you’re a registered Liberal but can’t remember when you agreed to this nomination, it is because you were not exactly asked. The couple apparently decided this between themselves. “It’s my time,” said Innes. This reminds me of how Andersen Consulting changed its name to Accenture following the Enron scandal.

The role of a riding association generally does not come up in election coverage. And perhaps the distastefulness of the Ianno/Innes family compact is simply how the sausages are made. Voters are also expected to vote for the party and not the local representative. But who advocates for the community’s priorities in a party’s caucus if not the MP? Who sets the direction of a party in Parliament if not its caucus? And as the TPA issue shows, federal politics can indeed be local. MPs matter.

Christine Innes seems quite nice, and she is not her husband. But she is not a fresh start either, and her riding association’s overtures to hard-right fiscal conservatives should worry Liberal progressives. Is Ms. Innes herself centre-right politically, or does she just think the voters are? Either way, how can progressives trust her?

Why won’t the Liberals nominate a progressive in this progressive riding? Where’s our Gerard Kennedy? Where’s our Martha Hall Findlay?

It’s time to drop the conservative condo cliché, and its time for the Liberal riding association to pull its head out of Tony Ianno’s ass. Independent progressives are the real swing voters in Trinity-Spadina, and we are the ones who should be courted.

submitted by John Bowker


Post Mortem and Analysis

October 28, 2010

On the theory that there is much to talk about re: results of Toronto’s October 25 municipal election, All Fired Up in the Big Smoke has assembled its crack team of observers to dissect what happened, why and what’s next. This week, well, we just said. They’ll discuss the outcome of Monday’s election.

Cityslikr (heretoforth, CS): Well, the verdict’s in. Rob Ford won and everyone who didn’t vote for him is to blame. Especially hipster urbanites who never took him seriously and spent the entire campaign mocking, ridiculing and denigrating him and those supporting him. We didn’t get the anger.

Acaphlegmic (heretoforth ACA): Truer words have never been spoken. Which is why I’ve decided to go live amongst them.

CS: What? Live amongst whom?

ACA: There you go, getting all elitist. Whom! Amongst people who say ‘who’ not ‘whom’.

US (heretoforth US): But are still OK with the word ‘amongst’.

CS: What do you mean you’re going to live amongst them?

ACA: We can’t understand a people or empathize with them until we’ve seen through their eyes, walked a mile in their shoes. So I am venturing forth to live amongst them. To observe them. To understand what motivates them. To truly get under their skin in order to grasp their hopes, their dreams.

CS: So you’re like what? Margaret Mead of the inner suburbs?

US: Try Dian Fossey.

ACA: See? That’s just what everyone’s talking about. Mocking. Ridiculing. Denigration.

CS: But I don’t get what you mean, ‘live amongst them’. You going to hang out at the Jack Astors at Sherway Gardens?

ACA: There it is again. The mocking and ridicule. They don’t just shop, you know.

US: Yeah. They have to take regular breaks to fill up their Hummers and SUVs.

ACA: Mock away, my friend, mock away but you better start getting used to the fact that you’re in the minority now and start acting accordingly.

CS: Technically that’s not true. Ford did only get 47% of the vote which is why [turns to look directly into pretend camera] you should support RaBIT, the Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto. To start making every vote count.

ACA: Cling to that little pipe dream all you want, buddy. Me? I’m going to where the real action is. Larry’s garage.

[inserting very prominent … here to signify a monstrously large pause in the conversation. A really big one.]

CS: Who’s Larry?

ACA: Larry. You met him Monday night here, drinking. We got to talking afterwards. His son, Larry Jr., just got married, and he and the wife are moving into the trailer that’s parked in the driveway. So, Larry-pere offered me the garage. You should see this place! It’s not a garage. It’s like a 2nd home. All decked out. Like this 140” plasma screen TV. Ping pong table. Bar. You name it. A sound system like you would not believe! 4 speakers, maybe 8. I don’t know. Speakers all over the place. I have not listened to that much Foghat since… I don’t know… June of ’77, maybe.

CS: And you’re going to live there. In Larry’s garage.

ACA: You betcha! Live there and observe. Eat the food they eat. Play the games they play. Learn what it is that’s important to them. Rob Ford knows. I should too.

US: So you’re embracing your inner mullet?

CS: (to US) And you? No, wait. Let me guess. You’re moving to Calgary.

US: Well, hey. They took a bold step into the future. We fearfully clung onto… some misguided view of the past. Where we paid no taxes and there was no traffic congestion.

CS: Which brings up something that struck me about the election. There’s all this talk about the downtown-suburb divide, the angry car driving, backyard BBQing Ford supporters versus us effete bike riding, latte loving urbanistas. Yet right here, smack dab in the downtown core, we had three open council seats, none of which were filled with what you’d call new, forward thinking, vibrant Nenshites. Ward 19 went stolidly status quo, replacing old time moderate lefty Pantalone with old time moderate lefty Mike Layton, ignoring a much more interesting progressive candidate in Karen Sun. Ward 18 went hardcore centrist Ana Bailão. Ward 17 and Cesar Palacio—

US: Palacio didn’t retire, did he?

CS: Didn’t he? How could you tell? They had this dynamite challenger, Jonah Schein, but went with their tried and true non-entity incumbent relic.

ACA: What’s your point? I gotta cut out soon. There’s some sort of… sporting event everybody’s getting together to watch at Larry’s.

CS: My point is, maybe this city’s not nearly the outpost of progressive politics we downtown elites would like to think it is. We live in this little bubble, dreaming of bike lanes, complete streets and being just like Portland when, in fact, we’re nothing more than another small minded North American burg concerned only with paying as little as we can and getting as much as we want. Rob Ford as our mayor shouldn’t come as a surprise. He’s not the anomaly. David Miller is. He was the outlier. Ford’s just a regression to the mean.

US: Nice. Regression to the mean. Works on a couple levels, too.

ACA: Blah, blah, blah. You guys just don’t get it! There’s nothing to analyze here. Nothing to deconstruct. People are just pissed off. End of story. Rob Ford gets it because he’s pissed off too. Guaranteed!

CS: No, we get the whole anger bit. What we don’t understand is how Rob Ford is going to help in any way to deal with it. What in his platform will help lessen the anger.

ACA: Wh-wh-wh-what are you talking about? Rob Ford isn’t going to lessen the anger. The last thing he wants to do is assuage the resentment.

US: You might want to curtail the use of words like ‘assuage’ with Larry’s crowd.

ACA: Right. The last thing Rob Ford wants to do is the dumb word for assuage the resentment. Without resentment, he’s just another self-interested politician wrapping his own narrow concerns into a populist package.

US: Exactly. And what are we doing in the face of that? Caving in and taking the blame. We got out-politicked, no question. That’s what we should be examining now not shouldering the blame for the perceived grievances of 47% of the population who refused to engage in an honest discussion about the real problems this city has to deal with. We spent very little time here, writing about Ford’s appearance or operatically sized personal failings. We kept asking, over and over again, how his policies on public transit and cutting spending were going to help address the city’s problems. The response? Wrapping themselves in a cloak of victimhood like pouty teenagers. Stop picking on me. You don’t understand. The guy’s not even sworn into office yet and he’s already backtracking on one big doozey of a campaign nose stretcher about replacing streetcars with buses, claiming he never said that, his opponents said he did. Then he gives a babblingly incoherent radio interview and calls it a smear campaign, so he can withdraw further into the safe cocoon of sympathetic press coverage at the Toronto Sun, National Post and AM talk radio. We’ve seen this movie before, guys. Remember. George W. Bush.

CS: Yep. I think we can now officially stop looking south at the Americans and smugly laughing at who they elect into office. Or their eating habits. Did you see where Canada broke the record for sales of KFC’s Double Down?

ACA: (standing) Are we done here? I really don’t want to miss the first quarter… or half of the… thing.

CS: Godspeed to Larry’s garage. Godspeed us all to a Larry’s garage somewhere.

ACA: I’ll be in touch. Under an alias. Send you my serial exposé of the Ford movement.

CS: Stay safe, Serpico.

(Rolling up his collar, Acaphlegmic skulks from the office.)

CS: So, the battle for hearts and minds has just begun.

US: Fuck that. I’m traveling to the Continent. Rent out my house and follow in the steps of Byron, Shelley, Keats. They want elite? (Pulls out his pipe) I’ll give them elite.

CS: No, don’t. You’ve already set off the smoke detector once.

US: I disconnected it.

CS: It stinks. Don’t.

(Urban Sophisticat puffs away at the pipe, trying to get it to stay lit. Eventually a smoke detector goes off in the distance.)

CS: This is going to be a long 4 years.

submitted by Cityslikr


Mayoral Endorsement I

October 22, 2010

Some 292 days and 270+ posts since the beginning, it has come to this. The final weekend of campaign 2010. They grow up so fast and times passes so quickly.

At the mayoral level, it’s hard not to think of the past almost 10 months as one big, dispiriting cock-up. A year long orgy of slagging and recriminations directed at the very institution a near unanimous number of front running candidates want to lead. Dismal and dreary, I’d call it, enticing only at the level of vitriol generated by the discourse.

None uglier and more bitter and heated than in the office here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke. Blows have been exchanged. Invective hurled. Precious little meeting of eyes. Unsurprisingly, no consensus is possible at delivering one unified endorsement. (At the mayoral level that is. Still 6 big thumbs up from us for Karen Sun as councillor of Ward 19!)

So, we bring you three endorsements, one a day, Friday-Sunday. Up first, resident hippie, 1968 deifier and Hunter S. Thomspon wanna-be, Acaphelgmic.

My Endorsement For Mayor: Rob Ford!

In the immortal words of the Mahatma Gandhi (or perhaps it was MLK), I say, let’s tee this motherfucker up!

So you actually think Rob Ford is suitable to be mayor of the city of Toronto? A place of over 2.5 million people, representing a wide swath of the world’s populations? You truly believe that a government with over a $9 billion annual operating budget can be managed by pea-brained adages of looking after the pennies and the pounds taking care of themselves? You have no problem handing over the reigns of power to a councillor who readily admits, boasts really, about not reading reports before voting on items? It makes sense to you that slashing the number of councillors in half will somehow bring about a more responsive, approachable form of local governance?

If you’re OK with all that (and so much more lunacy to boot), if you search deep down into your soul and truly come to the conclusion that the kind of change this city needs is a coffer draining, vindictive bureaucracy purging, bring it on then. Give him the keys to the mayor’s office and all the inherent powers that go along with it. Wind him up and let him loose to have at it. Stop the Gravy Train. Respect the Taxpayer. Take Back City Hall!

And when he fails, when he falls, when he crashes and burns spectacularly, all of which he will do, probably sooner than later, because Rob Ford is simply unfit to manage such a complex and difficult task that is being the mayor of Toronto – nothing personal, you understand; anyone with his limited world view and complete lack of curiosity about anything much beyond his BBQ life would be similarly inadequately prepared for the job – when it becomes so glaringly apparent that he is a big-assed bust of an embarrassing mistake of a mayor, and has been marginalized as nothing more than that blustery, red-faced tool we’ll all regret having allowed to have been elected, we can get on with the job of really building the city.

Yes, there will be collateral damage. Repairs will have to be made. Fences mended. Apologies doled out. Probably by the bucketful.

But it will be worth it and let me tell you why.

In the inevitable disastrous wake of a Mayor Rob Ford, his ideological kin will be forced to run for cover. After an initial blush of success when a tax is cut, a union is busted or… whatever else it is that so engulfs his followers with such rage (although that seems to be about the extent of it), the reality will quickly set in, even for those who live their lives operating in the protective, impermeable bubble of right wing, libertarian belief. Governing isn’t just about saying no. A city can’t be run on the basis of simply what’s in it for you and yours. Being a successful mayor means reaching out not slapping away.

Rob Ford’s ineptitude will damage the modern day, small ‘c’ conservative, anti-government cause. Not for the blinkered, unwavering true believers, of course, who will continue to lock their jaws on the stick of dogma regardless of how hard you beat them over the head with a pipe of reason, logic and rationality. They will simply slink away, back into their dank burrows, awaiting for the next opportunity to pop back up and foul the public space with their acrid yapping, yipping and yelping.

The real damage will be done in the eyes of those who are truly justified in their anger toward City Hall. Those left behind and struggling in this city as it slowly pieces itself together from the rubble of an ill-thought out and malignantly intended amalgamation process. Citizens living in neighbourhoods where crime rates are actually too high and their prospects for bettering their lives too low. Citizens left to their own devices, stranded as they are in neighbourhoods without access to functioning public transit. When they realize (and the realization will come quickly) that their anger, frustration and resentment has been hijacked by the likes of Rob Ford and his gang of Etobicokan elitists, the gig will be up.

For a period of time after that, perhaps even with Ford still as mayor, ineffectually blustering and beating his chest and wondering why he ever ventured away from the comfy confines of his daddy’s business… that is, if he did venture away from the family business even as mayor… another solid majority of Torontonians will band together and get down to the task of building a better, more equitable 21st-century city instead of looking back and pining for a mythical town of the 1950s.

We must go forth into the darkness before emerging into the sunlight, my friends.

And for that reason I, Acaphlegmic, endorse Rob Ford for mayor of Toronto.

feistily submitted by Acaphlegmic


Whither You Progressives

October 18, 2010

Here’s where the numbers don’t add up for me. (Nice cold start. No mucking about with wordy intro.)

In the 2006 municipal election, incumbent mayor David Miller was re-elected with nearly 57% of the vote. According to the latest poll from Nanos, the outgoing mayor’s endorsed candidate, Joe Pantalone, is pulling in 15%. My very unscientific reading of that suggests over 40% of a supposed left of centre, progressive voting bloc has dissipated somewhere into the ether. Where to, is what I’m wondering.

It’s hard to imagine that even with all that alleged anger manifesting itself post-09 civic workers’ strike, there’d be such a stampede across the political spectrum toward the decidedly un-progressive Rob Ford. George Smitherman has run a very right of centre campaign, tossing out the occasional lefty crumb to keep up liberal appearances. So where are those 40% of David Miller voters?

Granted, not everyone who ever voted for David Miller would consider themself progressive or left of centre. In 06 there was the power of incumbency and, arguably, a weakness of opponent. In 03 Miller was deemed the agent of change who would undo the disrepair wrought on City Hall by the Lastman gang. Change seems to be a major player again in this campaign. Regardless of ideology, the electorate has moved to candidates they think will bring about the biggest change for the city.

Still, it’s hard to reconcile the Pantalone 15%. As we have stated on more than one occasion here, Mr. Pantalone is not a strong campaigner. So, that must be factored into the equation. He’s simply been unable to rally the troops under his candidacy’s flag. But with no other viable left of centre candidate (at least in the mainstream media – and thus, a majority of voters’ eyes) on offer, 15% seems like a very, very low number.

Yes, there is the Ford factor. Many who would naturally tend Pantalone-sque are so violently appalled at the prospects of the Etobicoke councillor becoming mayor that they have abandoned their natural base in order to stop that from happening. The Deputy Mayor simply never polled high enough to be considered the candidate to defeat Ford. That simply takes us back to the question, why?

What’s taking place here in ward 19 may offer up a possible answer.

Two progressive candidates are fighting it out for the council seat that opened up, appropriately enough, when Joe Pantalone decided to run for mayor. Michael Layton has been endorsed by the former councillor and is back by the legendary local NDP machine including his father’s wife, Olivia Chow, the M.P. for the area. Karen Sun is an independent voice who has spent the last decade working on a series of municipal level matters both at City Hall and outside, ranging from environmental to governance issues.

The division between these two candidates, I think, represents the ongoing transformation of progressive thought, and may help explain Joe Pantalone’s anemic showing in the campaign so far.

Mike Layton epitomizes the old school, left wing coalition of urban elitism, the “ethnic vote” (for lack of a better term), unions and Tommy Douglas-like grassroots populism. The “ethnic vote”, I would suggest, is fairly disparate at this point that doesn’t vote en masse for a single candidate. Ditto, the union vote. Populism has become largely right-wing recently. And us elites can only be counted on not to vote too far right. That’s a tough group to stitch together in hopes of gaining a plurality. A little of each may not be enough to secure a victory.

Especially if you’re vying with a candidate who is offering up a similarly progressive but far more urban oriented platform. For a candidate growing up with a father and stepmom both city councillors, Layton the Younger displays remarkably little affinity for local, urban specific issues. Check out his Community Experience under the About link on his website. A camp councillor?!

In comparison Karen Sun represents the face of urban progressivism. Her work has been focused almost exclusively at the municipal level. This is vitally important since we as a nation are becoming increasingly urbanized. With over 3/4s of us now living in what are considered urban environments, it is becoming more critical for us to elect those well versed on those issues to represent us. Progressive values have become increasingly linked to urban values.

Bringing us back to the flagging Pantalone support. While he can rightfully boast of a number of progressive initiatives he’s helmed or supported, his endorsement of Michael Layton displayed a proclivity for stale thinking. Whether he believed Layton was the best candidate on offer for ward 19 or if it was just a case of mutual back-scratching with the NDP powers-that-be, Pantalone showed himself to be out of step with where much of the progressive, left of centre is at the moment. He may be the most left leaning voice still in the mayoral election (that is within the realm of the remaining 3 front runners. Perhaps if the wider voting public had been allowed to see more of Himy Syed, the city would be in the throes of the same deliberation we here in ward 19 are currently in the midst of between Layton and Sun) but Pantalone simply is not in step with the wider progressive movement.

Thus, leaving much of the left limply unenthusiastic and prone to drifting reluctantly to where they think they’re needed most.

unsupportively submitted by Cityslikr


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