Still Undecided

I know what you’re thinking.

Olivia Chow’s in the race to be mayor of Toronto. She’s got his vote.notsofast

It’s true.

She was my city councillor until 2006. She was my MP until yesterday. I voted for her every time there was an opportunity.

But my vote on October 27th is not a given.

Here’s what Olivia Chow in her campaign to be mayor of Toronto has to do to ensure my vote.

She has to embrace every aspect of her progressivism and repudiate everything that the current mayor, Rob Ford, stands for. There is nothing, nothing, of this mayor’s record that should be embraced or applauded. His 3+ years in office have been an unmitigated disaster for this city. listofmydemandsMs. Chow must not miss any opportunity to point that out.

I do not want to hear hedged talk or cautious goals. I want a full, warm embrace of real city building, an acknowledgment of the responsibilities we have to make Toronto a healthier, more sustainable, more equitable place to live. I don’t want to see any ducking away from the inevitable epithets thrown in her direction, that have already been trotted out in expectation of her entrance into the race. Tax-and-spender. Yeah? What of it? That’s what people elect politicians to do. Tax fairly. Spend wisely.

While I recognize Ms. Chow was only around for a part of David Miller’s tenure in office and she could try and keep her distance from his record, I’ll become suspicious if she does so. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, especially in light of what’s come later. In fact, now is the time to set that record straight. That we were never on the precipice of fiscal ruin. That we weren’t being nickel-and-dimed to death by overly onerous taxation. whatareyougoingtodo1That the gravy train was nothing more than an effective campaign concoction.

Olivia Chow also needs to come right out of the gate with a realistic transit plan that is not designed to mollify parochial concerns. As the federal transportation critic for the NDP, she was conspicuously silent during the last Scarborough subway debate. Perhaps she felt it wasn’t her fight to fight. Now it is. How she proceeds on this issue will go a long way to how I wind up casting my ballot.

As a left of centre voter my support should not be taken for granted or assumed to have nowhere else to go.

With only one declared major candidate on the left right now, the other contenders realize they have to chip away at that base if any of them have a hope to win this time around. They have to roll out their progressive cred, as it were. allearsWoo those voters who aren’t yet or never will be able to bring themselves to vote for an NDP labeled candidate.

I will be listening to their pitch too.

Truthfully, I’ve already ruled out Mayor Ford and Councillor Karen Stintz. Neither one of them has shown any progressive stripes while in office. John Tory makes a big stink of his red Tory politics but certainly coming out of the gate he’s shown off none of that, relying so far on flying monkey attacks on Chow’s fiscal record and alleged use of public resources to kick off her mayoral campaign. You can’t team up with the dark side and not expect to collect any of that dirt on you.

That leaves David Soknacki so far as the reasonable voice of the centre-right big name contenders. He’s certainly made meaningful announcements about the Scarborough subway and transit file. I’ll wait patiently to see what else he has to say and the policies he rolls out. (I’m even prepared to overlook his first serious gaffe, yesterday uttering some divisive suburban vs. urban nonsense to greet Ms. Chow’s entry into the campaign). It’s a long race. caucusraceThere’s no need to decide on anyone yet.

And don’t forget. I’m not afraid to cast a ballot on a long, long, long shot, doing so in 2010 on Himy Syed. While the stakes seem higher this election, we now know exactly what damage can be done and not what damage may be done, I will not be beholden to voting strategically and settling for a lesser of two evils. I’d really like to go out and vote without holding my nose and believing I was making a positive contribution to Toronto’s future.

That possibility exists currently. Let’s cross our fingers and hope it stays that way.

hopefully submitted by Cityslikr

9 thoughts on “Still Undecided

  1. Yeah, Screw you to Tory Supporters!(smile) Olivia Chow has registered to run for Mayor and will be on the ballot this fall. She is running on the theme of transit & people issues; something the Fords lack. Olivia should get enough center to left votes to deny Rob a squeaker of a victory…I am calling it now, a Chow win!

  2. Having said:

    Elections 2014Nobody wants to be on the losing team. Nobody wants to waste their ballot on a long shot.

    Of course you need to be a Career Politician: You have to be elected Dog Catcher and work your way up through the ranks.

    Unless you have more money than brains and you can enter the race from a position of privilege.

    Allow me to continue….

    The top dogs in this race get way, way, WAY too much press. Obviously we can’t just ignore them. (As much as we’d like to) but there’s gotta be a better way.

    Maybe: Every time there’s a new sound-bite we should all turn to the underdogs and give them the podium in order to comment/criticize/rebut the “Career Politician”.

  3. I was done with Ford long ago…and Tory and Stintz support Ford’s #PanderExpress subway.

    That leaves me with Chow or Soknacki on the “Scarborough LRT” platform.

    Based on his willingness to (A) tell voters things they don’t want to hear, and (B) his use of actual-numbers and math, I am supporting Soknacki….until at least Thanksgiving weekend.

    I expect that ONLY someone from Scarborough will actually be able to run “against the subway” all the way to the Election. Fully expect Chow to support the Scarborough Subway at some-point in the Summer.

    • The Ford/Stintz plan Tory supports would raise your property taxes 0.5% another 0.5% next year to become 1.0%; plus 0.6% in 2016 to become 1.6%; that would be carried through 27 years to get the 30 years of funding at $900 million PLUS whatever cost overruns…

      I crossed paths with Chow several times earlier this year and I am glad that she has joined the mayoral race after the waiting game

      New Mayor. Better City!

  4. Stintz and Soknacki will be out soon. Both are floundering in low single digits. Their fund raising efforts will be in the toilet.

  5. I don’t necessarily see it as divisive for Soknacki to point out that Chow’s support is likely to be concentrated downtown, and that her policies would be more aligned with the interests and viewpoints of those living there than those living elsewhere. When downtown-oriented politician and commentators use the euphemism “Ford Nation” in their invective, it’s pretty clear who they’re referring to.

    If I had to offer any advice to Chow, though, it would be to never, ever use the expression “world-class city”. For one thing, that’s the mother of downtowner shibboleths. Secondly, for many Torontonians living outside of downtown (and that majority of us in that vast hinterland called “the rest of Canada” – you know, that place to which Adam Vaughan had banished the GTA) that expression pretty much translates to “hubristic schemes and reckless spending aimed at impressing international list-makers”.

    • Dear Mr GW,

      Without any actual examples about Ms. Chow’s downtown-centrism, we here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke do think it comes across as just a broad, divisive swipe when stating a downtowner for downtowners. So far, her only policy statement, vague as it is, has been in terms of building a city for children. Is that something of no interest to those living in the suburbs? And to follow the open logic here, do we then assume any candidate hailing from the suburbs is simply a suburbanite for suburbanites?

      Think you might want to check the records. World class city is hardly the sole domain of left wingers. In fact, pretty sure Councillor Doug Ford loves to tout that phrase. Certainly Scarborough subway supporters took to saying world class transit for a world class city.

      • Yeah, it’s kind of sad to see some Scarborough residents getting sucked into that civic equivalent of Hyacinth Bucket social-climbing. I suppose being called “Scarberians” for so long is bound to give some of them a complex.

        I’m waiting for someone to suggest changing the spelling of the megacity’s name to “Toronteau”.

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