The 1st Day Of Christmas

And on the 1st day of Christmas… only now do I realize that I’ve done this all backward, the last being the 12th day not the 1st but then I wanted to get all countdown-y like so I flipped it… anyway, the final instalment of our 12 Councillors of Christmas and the partridge in the pear tear is—

Councillor Chin Lee, Ward 41 Scarborough-Rouge River

Behold, ye Torontonians. If our fair city is to fend off the worst destructive, anti-urban tendencies of the Ford Administration we should turn our collective hopeful gaze to the likes of Councillor Lee. With two entrenched factions at City Hall, the left and far right, there’s been much talk of the true seat of power residing in the so-called Mushy Middle. There the focus has been concentrated on a handful of rookie councillor, largely consisting of the two Joshes, Ana Bailão, Jaye Robinson, Michelle Berardinetti, Mary-Margaret McMahon. Win them over on an issue and your cause will triumph.

Now, I’d argue that at least in the case of Councillors Berardinetti, Colle, Matlow and Robinson, their mushiness oftentimes is reflected more in their principles than the politics, doing the expedient thing rather than the right thing. With Councillor Lee, what we have is one of those rare and, at times, seemingly near extinct species called the moderate conservative. Now into his 2nd term at council, no one would accuse him of being a former Millerite. He was part of the Responsible Government Group that formed in 2009 in the spirit of an unofficial opposition to Mayor Miller. In his pre-politician days, much of his community activism was spent fighting for decreases in property taxes and pay for elected officials.

And to be sure, he boned up on those fiscal hawk credentials early on under Mayor Ford’s reign (rein?), voting in line to repeal the VRT, freeze property taxes, reducing councillors’ office budget, etc., etc. He gave the thumbs up to contract out waste collection west of Yonge Street. Councillor Lee also was part of the financially dubious and entirely War on the Car driven decision to rip up the Jarvis Street bike lanes.

But there has been a drift of late away from the mayor and his team. I noticed it first during the shark fin ban debate. Not the most powerful of orators, Councillor Lee stood up and essentially slapped down Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti who had just finished up blathering on about how a ban would be an attack on Chinese culture. Of Chinese descent, Lee dismissed Mammoliti’s overtly political concerns as nonsense. After the ban passed, Councillor Lee sat alone in his council seat, not joining in the celebration.

Which is a place the councillor is finding himself more and more lately. Watching him at budget committee meetings has been quite instructive. He apparently picked the short straw and found himself plunked down beside the committee’s vice-chair, Councillor Doug Ford. Councillor Lee spends much of the time with his seat turned from his colleague, facing away as if in the hope that it’s all a bad, bad, terrible dream. Or as if he’s simply offended at having to be in the presence of such a know-nothing blowhard who has absconded with the conservative label and soiled it beyond repair or recognition.

It’s a realization much of Toronto is beginning to face up to, and if this city is to survive the onslaught of such radical anti-government ideology falsely calling itself conservative, we have to follow Councillor Chin Lee’s lead and turn our backs on it.

finally submitted by Cityslikr

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