Meet A Mayoral Candidate XXX

It’s Friday, so turn your ball caps around, show us the price tag and we’ll bring you our latest installment of Meet A Mayoral Candidate!

This week: James Di Fiore, OddmanicMayor!

If you have to ask what exactly OddmanicMayor means, it means you’re an old fart, yo. Which is why we didn’t inquire about it for fear of looking like, well, an old fart. Let’s just leave it as one of those tics of the youth vernacular us grown-ups just weren’t supposed to understand.

You see, the James Di Fiore mayoralty campaign is all about getting young people out participating in the electoral process which they do not do at an alarmingly low rate. According to Di Fiore, the youngest voters (ages 18 to 35) represent over a third of Toronto’s population but only 18% of them decided to cast a ballot in the 2006 municipal elections. That’s well below an already embarrassingly 39% of all eligible voters who voted in `06.

So it would seem to be a huge demographic bracket to try and engage but that rarely seems to happen. Is it that whole chicken-and-egg, which came first dilemma? Young people don’t vote because candidates overlook them or do candidates overlook them because young people don’t vote? It’s not a new phenomenon, yet it would seem to be an important nut to crack for any candidate willing to try especially in what’s shaping up to be a horse race here for mayor where every vote will matter.

Into that gaping disconnect steps James Di Fiore. A self-described ‘media maverick of Canadian journalism’, Di Fiore gained notoriety when he was charged and convicted of violating the Canada Elections Act after he obtained 3 ballots at three polling places in the June 2004 federal election and wrote a piece for NOW magazine to tell the tale. While the stunt earned him it a $250 fine, it also led to an amendment in the voting law requiring voters to produce picture ID or to have someone vouch for them in person.

This wasn’t the first foray into actual newsmaking for Di Fiore. He also liked to hoodwink TV networks like CNN, CBC, the BBC into granting him panel space on their talking heads shows where he would proceed to cause a ruckus. Or so he claims unless he just punked us into writing that and help burnish his iconoclastic image that goes over well with the kids.

But will displaying attitude be enough to drag the young cohort out from in front of their Xboxes and Wiis and down to the polling stations come election day? If that were the case, we could just roll out, I dunno, Pauly Shore and run him for office. The youngsters still dig Pauly Shore, don’t they?

Mr. Di Fiore’s answer to that is simple. He’s got policies and platforms to back up the hip, subversive perspective. Oh yeah, that’s right, gramps. James Di Fiore will beat you over the head and back with policy ideas.

If elected, he would bring in a 3 year freeze on rental rates (although we’d be curious if that falls within a municipal government’s domain). Di Fiore would also like to see more tax breaks given to single people in the city who don’t get the same consideration as families, businesses or religious institutes. Di Fiore’s downright Dawkins/Hitchens in his animosity toward organized religion. No tax exempt status for you, churches et al, under a Mayor Di Fiore administration although, again, we’re not exactly sure how much of a hand municipalities have to play in that matter.

Di Fiore would also like to see tax incentives used to encourage businesses to foster virtual office space. That is, making it easier for people to not bother getting dressed in the morning and work from home. It would help alleviate congestion in business cores and contribute to a greener city enivornment. Di Fiore would continue the environmental policies of Mayor Miller and expand upon them.

A Mayor Di Fiore administration would intensify the waterfront redevelopment and extend a tourist initiative throughout other parts of the city including utilizing locations like Downsview Park much more. A daily transit user, Di Fiore isn’t one of your typical TTC haters even though he thinks it is weighted down with too much bureaucracy. He’d make it an essential service. He is also concerned about the number of sex offenders who are relocated in Toronto and would endeavour to halt that practice. His concern for the youth even extends to those not yet able to vote.

We wondered if having a campaign platform focused on young voters would be enough to get them out to vote in larger numbers. Did Di Fiore have any tricks up his sleeve to further help entice them to participate in the upcoming election? He did, yes, but when he started talking about using non-political events and online entertainment “that will allow [younger voters] to make a statement when they vote, not just cast a ballot”, we had no idea what he meant. But then again, we don’t have to. We’re not the demographic Di Fiore’s aiming for although he did assure us that as the election drew nearer his approach would become clearer. Even to codgers like us.

So we posed the question we’ve been asking all the mayoral candidates: If the present mayor would like his legacy to be that of the Transit Mayor, how would a Mayor Di Fiore like to see his legacy written? I would like my legacy to be that of a candidate who exposed young non-voters to the political process, he told us. I want 2010 to be seen as a turning point when disenfranchisement is replaced with a gradual inclusion between young voters and the system that represents them. I hope to be the catalyst who facilitates that turning point.

Hear that, front running candidates? There’s a big block of young people out there, wanting a seat at the table. If you’re not going to help make that happen, step aside. Candidate James Di Fiore will. Ignore him (and them) at your peril.

— dutifully submitted by Cityslikr

7 Responses to Meet A Mayoral Candidate XXX

  1. Sonny Yeung says:

    There is a candidate that registered on May 20. She is a women of colour.
    the 44th video at the CP24 election site scroll
    http://www.cp24.com/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20100831/20100831-mayoral-cottle/20100831/?hub=CP24Weather

  2. Peter MacQuarie says:

    Oddmanicmayor – now that’s more suited to AFUITBS’s style and capability.

    Maybe you will stay on this theme and target your classmates with posts like this one?

    Trust me, it feels good to do good. Tearing down decent folk is not nearly so rewarding, and your mothers will like you better for it too.

  3. Andrew says:

    Some of the “other” mayoral candidates are better off sticking the $200 registration fee into an RSP or TSFA.

  4. Janet says:

    I’ve examine all of this man’s platforms thoroughly as a means of stimulating my 14 year old gifted son who really enjoys politics. We’ve actually had many interesting discussions about this candidate and his ideas.I was very interested to get my young sons view point after reading some of Mr. Difiore’s platform ideas, I myself am only thirty two so I also fit the demographic that Mr. Difiore feels he is “the voice” of. All I can say is that my gifted kid who excels in technology, found a way to explain and show me why none of Mr. Difiore’s ideas are sensible or even make sense in some cases. My son understands more about fiscal budgeting, political strategy and how and why a platform should and could be created to encompass all demographics, not just the one you “feel” you understand. My kid does have a genius I.Q but I would expect that the right candidate for the job would be one that could compete with that and more due to all the thought, planning, researching and keeping an open mind any person running for a Mayoral position should do.
    My son could dissect and explain Mr. Difiore’s failure to comprehend the best possible solutions for ALL Torontonians with hard facts and statistics, as well as back up his own ideas with solid material to prove how it could work. I say this only to explain that even my son as a young man comprehends the in’s and out’s of campaigning and the cities infrastructure. I’m referencing his position mainly in my comment because he is part of the youth and in just a few short years he will be voting. He actually took offense that this man had decided to call himself a voice of youth in this election as he does not represent that demographic well, in fact makes the youth of city seem flighty, stand offish, and child like when utilizing problem solving skills. Even my kid understands that tax breaks for single youth aren’t as high as other groups because tax breaks are allocated to assist and support the people most in need. As a young person myself, I am proud of the system we have here in Ontario and Canada in general. I don’t get the same tax breaks as those with larger families, seniors, people with disabilities, etc but I do understand that as I go through life I will get better tax breaks at the times I need them the most. Young people are the healthiest folks with the least responsibilities in terms of what a person goes through in life so it shouldn’t be a burden for the short time that they are young and singe, to endure less tax breaks than other groups. There will come a day for each and every one of them where that will change.
    I was willing to give this candidate a real chance at making me understand why he is the best man for the job but sadly was disappointed. The city needs a candidate who cares about each and demographic in the city, what their needs are, and what can be done to accommodate everyone, even marginally.
    I urge anyone who reads this to take a few minutes and examine Mr. Difiore’s platform realistically and with an open mind. He deserves to have a voice but he doesn’t have the right to lead voters to believe that he represents the youth of the city. I’m sure there are many out there who if they knew, would find his statements insulting. He is but one man with one opinion, sadly that isn’t what it takes to lead a city full of diverse citizens.
    And Mr. Difiore, since you seem to have the time to seek out and respond sarcastically to any comment made about you that isn’t favorable, please feel free to respond and I would be happy to outline the facts and real evidence behind your failing platform issues that I’m speaking of. Better yet I’ll let my son handle it, he is the future voter and he had much more to say about your platform than I did. I just felt the need to put it out there that the youth of today are intelligent, do care, and are much more informed about the world around them then even one generation prior, thanks to all of the sources of information that the internet provides. They can tell when a candidate doesn’t have a reasonable platform even if it is littered with promises of perks and gimmicks to get their vote.With that in mind it needs to be understood that most of the youth have similar concerns as older generations because each person does age. It shouldn’t be about the youth vote, it should be about what things can be applied to make the city a better place for all. Once you really grasp that and change, you’ll see that you not only have the youth vote but many other demographics as well.
    I sincerely applaud your efforts and your courage in running. I just feel you have a great deal more work to do and a need for getting a better grasp of voters and their needs. Take care.

    • oddmanic says:

      I appreciate your comments, but you didn’t really say what yours or your sons problem with my platform was.

      I have had some people complain that much of what I see as important issues are actually handled at the provincial level, but history is teeming with legislative examples of municipalities working with the province in order to right some of the wrongs.

      And I don’t know what young people you hang around with, but most of the ones I know are riddled with debt, just starting out in their career and trying to stay afloat. They not only deserve a tax break, they should be exempt from paying income taxes until they make over 40K annually (if they have a student debt).

      I am always interested in hearing differing opinions, and I am sure your son is quite bright. If he has something to say about my platform then I welcome it. The one thing missing from politics these days is civility, don’t you think?

  5. dawn says:

    WOw, whether you agreee with Mr. Di Fiorie’s campaign strategy, target audience or approach, why the need to start throughing out disrespect from paragraphy #1?

    “Let’s just leave it as one of those tics of the youth vernacular us grown-ups just weren’t supposed to understand.”

    Do some research before you publish your work.

    I am also very offended by the images used in this article, they’re just so irrelevant and off the mark.

  6. oddmanic says:

    There is little wonder why fringe candidates remain fringe candidates. By the way, I look nothing like that picture of the dude at the top.

    Oh, and all you had to do was ask me what Oddmanic means. I suppose if you did you would have had to also figure out a different lead paragraph. I suppose it did work for your audience though.

    A little cheeky, a little insulting, yo (???)…but overall not a hit piece. And in politics, what more can a fringe candidate ask for. Cheers.

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