Despite Its Best Intentions CP24 Delivers The Debate Goods

In spite of its continued attempts to broadcast yet another substance-free televised debate last night, CP24 might just have inadvertently delivered one of those turning point moments that can define a campaign. Let’s not overlook the fact that it happened in Ben Mulroney’s absence. While not actually hard enough proof of cause and effect, I do think it’s worth conducting the experiment again with the next debate for further evidence. Do Toronto a favour, Ben, and stay home with the kids!

Although to be fair, it was apparently his grade school idea of picking names from a hat that delivered the seminal moment for me. If you haven’t been following along throughout the summer, each candidate picks another candidate’s name from a hat and asks them a question. Yeah, yeah. It is usually as lame as it sounds but last night Rocco Rossi had the great fortune of picking Rob Ford’s name and, surprisingly, he offered up a softball question that Ford, if he possessed an iota of sense amidst all the rage and indignation, could’ve/should’ve taken yard.

Rossi asked Ford to comment on a recent Toronto Sun article that suggested Ford didn’t single-handedly shepherd the Woodbine Live deal through council as he’s been spouting as an example of how he can work well with his colleagues and get votes passed. According to the rabidly pro-Ford rag, fellow Etobicoke councillor, Suzan Hall also had a hand in getting council unanimously on side. Here, Ford was handed the opportunity to reach out, seem collegial and show the city that he can play with others.

Instead, Rob Ford replied: “She had nothing to do with it. I was the one doing all the leg work.”

Yep. For the second time in a week, Ford’s gone out of his way to diminish, dismiss and generally kick in the slats everyone he works with. First, another councillor from Etobicoke and fiscal conservative soulmate, Doug Holyday, was paraded out to dejectedly state that maybe, just maybe, Ford shouldn’t call city council ‘corrupt’, at least not without some proof. And now this big fuck you to Suzan Hall.

So to you fanboys out there, trumpeting the ascension of Rob Ford and crowing about all the ass he’s going to kick and unions he’s going to bash and cyclists he’s going to run over, if your man gets elected, he’s going to be a mayor of one. All red faced and blustery, he’ll spend his time in office, stomping his feet and bellowing how he can’t get anything done, blaming everyone else but himself when the fact is, while pathological assholes who can’t work with others may be an asset when running an inherited business, it simply doesn’t fly at a non-political party municipal government level.

Oh, yeah. And there was that whole keeping newcomers out of Toronto thing that sprung up last night as well.

Now, I’m not going to call the racist card on Ford with this. I won’t even label him xenophobic because none of his followers will understand what the word means. What I will say is that his remarks in response to questions about the Tamil “migrants” on the west coast reveal a level of ignorance about urban demographic flow that no non-illiterate adult should possess. Like it or not, the world is becoming more and more ‘citified’, to use some hillbilly talk that seems highly appropriate, and we can’t or shouldn’t want to call a timeout so that we can make sure the house is all pur-dy for our guests’ arrival.

Spin all you want, Fordites, but it can’t mask the fact that you’re backing a talking horse who spouts Tea Party sentiments and everyone who signs on to the movement are simply porch sitting, AM radio listening, backwards looking Know-Nothings. What’s next? Building a fence around the city?

Despite that, there’s no reason to think that Rob Ford won’t be our next mayor. None of the other front running candidates are rising to match his simple-minded clarion call.

George Smitherman seems to be sharping his elbows and is starting to smother the talk of eHealth scandal and other provincial government nefariousness under his watch with a blanket of facts, figures and examples of positive things he oversaw. Now if somebody would just tell him that he doesn’t always need to use up every second of his allotted time. The more he talks, the more it becomes apparent that he’s not saying anything.

Sarah Thomson is no longer the doe-eyed valedictorian. She now just seems torn between two warring impulses. The more socially progressive Sarah which is the result of having two artist parents and the fiscally conservative Sarah who built a million dollar business by the time she was 30. What emerges is an utterly meaningless ‘Toronto has a management problem’ message. So I guess we should just fire all the managers then?

While being far more eloquent and sounding much more reasonable than, say, Rob Ford, Rocco Rossi is similarly one-note. “Value for Money” may mean something to business school types but to me it just sounds like Rossi’s talking to, well, business school types. We would all like value for money, Mr. Rossi. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way especially in government which is not nor should it be a for-profit enterprise.

Leaving us with the most perplexing campaign among the front runners, Joe Pantalone. I do not get what he’s doing at all. With the left side of the spectrum wide open to him, he insists on snuggling up to the cushy but crowded centre along with Smitherman, Thomson and Rossi. I understand with no ideological threat from that angle, he feels free to ignore voters positioned there because where else do they have to go? Still, he’s defining himself as indistinguishable from the other three and getting lost in the shuffle. Their “freshness” makes him seem stale.

Pantalone should just step back and vigorously defend the administration he’s been an integral part of. Despite what his opponents scream and yell, I don’t think there’s nearly the rampant anti-incumbency among voters that the other candidates are counting on. That’s something they have to believe is out there (and stir up) because they’re not offering anything else. Joe just needs to stop giving over to the reality his rivals are trying to create and show us that, despite being in the throes of a nasty economic downturn and the pains that we’re undergoing as we move into a post-manufacturing centre, Toronto remains a vibrant and healthy place to live.

That’s why people will risk their lives to endure an arduous ocean passage to make their way here. For a better life. We have it despite what all the nay-saying contenders for the mayor’s office are trying to tell us.

dutifully submitted by Cityslikr

4 thoughts on “Despite Its Best Intentions CP24 Delivers The Debate Goods

  1. “if your man gets elected, he’s going to be a mayor of one. All red faced and blustery, he’ll spend his time in office, stomping his feet and bellowing how he can’t get anything done, blaming everyone else but himself when the fact is, while pathological assholes who can’t work with others may be an asset when running an inherited business, it simply doesn’t fly at a non-political party municipal government level.”

    Genius. I think that many Fordites and even many Torontonians in general don’t realize that the Mayor’s office is not a monarchy. You don’t just say “harrrr, no more _____ tax” or “graw, no more bike lanes” and it happens. I just wish it wouldn’t take a term of Chris Farley’s Bloated Corpse as mayor for them to wake up to that fact.

    • Dear Mcflash; the Federal Gov’t is adding 30 seats and the Province 10 seats. How would he get 22 councillors to cut those positions thereby forcing each other to compete on the other side of the provincial riding for the Ward. Also the population of Toronto is trending towards 2.7 million…

      Currently, City Hall is 15 left, 15 right and 15 middle of the road. With 4 lefties and 4 righties not running for reelection. The trending would go 12 left, 15 right and 18 middle of the road which means…

  2. I’m glad I didn’t attend the debate last night. It is no wonder that Torontonians are so turned off of politics at the municipal level.
    The media has already decided that one of the top five and only one will be mayor. By leaving the rest off the newscasts and off the printed pages they are doing a disservice to the city and themselves.

    Issues that should be debated are bing ignored like the congestion problem and the TTC insistence that we continue to use traffic clogging streetcars and the city allowing them to waste 1.2 Billion on new ones that will only make the situation worse than it already is.
    No new expressways because the idiots at city hall think they are bad and do not understand why we have so much congestion. It is because we have more people trying to get around and there anen’t enough routes for them .

    The other thing is why are we sending a resource which can be incinerated cleanly to produce electricity to a landfill. The incineration of garbage can be done cleanly and it can serve 2 purposes at the same time . It will reduce the volume of waste by 90 percent and will reduce our use of hydrocarbon fuels for electricity.

    I am hoping to make a difference but intelligence will only get one so far. If there is no willingness on the people to look for other viable candidates the people will truly get whom they deserve as our mayor.

    Selwyn Firth

  3. Just a short comment about Pantalone.

    He’s the most reasonable sounding of the candidates
    because he’s the only one not shouting and posturing.
    That alone should put the others in sharp relief with
    Ford at the top of that crowd.

    Pantalone is the man who will sit, listen and speak
    quietly to the situation at hand. Most of the others
    don’t have or don’t show that characteristic.

    One of the problems of the debates has been
    the moderator–Stephen LeDrew. He’s not really
    a journalist and John Tory isn’t either, I should add.

    Debates like this need a real journalist like
    Steve Paikin and not someone like LeDrew.

    I like the quiet listener (Pantalone) and I am
    sure the others will learn all too late to
    change their style to copy his and become
    reasonable sounding candidates. By then,
    for most of them, it will be too late.

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