Don’t Let The Name Fool You

I put myself in the middle of a circular conversation a couple days ago with someone who took exception to my incomprehension at the notion of Liberals, circularmazebig L liberals, throwing their support behind John Tory in his bid to become mayor of Toronto.

You see, I am of a vintage that was still in swaddling clothes during the Lester B. Pearson era. I came of age under Pierre Trudeau. I’ve always lived with a national medicare system, brought in from coast to coast to coast by Louis St. Laurent.

This is how I remember Liberals.

I sometimes forget that time has moved on. The current crop was forged in the face of the Mulroney years and the rise to prominence of the Reform movement. Late career Jean Chretien and his arch-nemesis Paul Martin. Bitter rivals but deficit hawks and downloaders both. The Common Sense Revolution wrought a Liberal automaton, series 2.0 Dalton McGuinty.

These are Liberals seemingly more at home with my misty-eyed nostalgic memories of red tory hued Progressive Conservatives like Robert Stanfield, Bill Davis, Peter Lougheed, Joe Clarke, David Crombie.nostalgic

There you go. Blue Liberals for red Tory John Tory. Makes perfect sense. Remember, he was once the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. A perfectly reasonable confederacy in the face of a possible purple and yellow wave forming over on the left.

But here’s my thing.

As much as the centre of the Liberal party has shifted, so too has it with conservatives. The bland greyness has been wiped clean. We no longer have moderate patrician types with a sense of noblesse oblige as our right of centre party. Federally, they’ve even dumped the pretense of progressive. Here in Ontario, the word might as well be in quotes.

Mike Harris. Jim Flaherty. John Baird. Tony Clement. Stephen Harper. Tim Hudak. The Ford brothers.

Snarling, thuggish, mendacious, regressive, government hating and private sector worshipping neo-conservatives in the American Tea Party mold are these men. robfordbellicoseNoblesse oblige, you say? Is that French for Ayn Rand?

In that light, John Tory doesn’t look so bad. He’s almost none of that. A throwback to an earlier time when Liberals and Progressive Conservatives could sit down to dinner together over a nice bottle of wine. During this 2014 municipal race, he offers the appearance of a safe harbour for disaffected, candidate-less Liberals who could never bring themselves to mingle with the NDP horde.

Looks, as they say, can be deceiving.

Avert your eyes from the image being presented and listen to the words being spoken instead.

At his official campaign launch on Wednesday, he derided tax-and-spending politicians who were eyeing the wallets of the beloved taxpayers. fordnationHe vowed to keep taxes low while promising to invest in the city’s infrastructure including a new subway line. How would he pay for that? Finding savings and efficiencies. Plenty of waste still to be found, he assured the crowd (despite opinion to the contrary).

Doesn’t that sound a bit familiar to you, almost word for word? City Hall doesn’t have a revenue problem. City Hall has a spending problem. Subways, subways, subways! It won’t cost you a dime because it’s time to Stop the Gravy Train.

John Tory is simply a pretty face, a soothing voice, the almost featureless presence fronting what sounds like the very same destructive policies that will be the true legacy of the Rob Ford administration. A Trojan horse for an army already inside the compound. He wants to be mayor of this city only in order to change the name on the door and the trashy newspaper headlines.

Liberals getting in under that big tent with him need to stop pretending that anything’s going to change other than the din of discord and the reality show antics now occupying space at City Hall. trojanhorseThe tone may become more civil but if the discourse remains the same – and that’s what I’m hearing so far from the Tory campaign – low taxes and cutting waste as the primary source of revenue, programs and services will still be under threat, growth based investment a pipe dream. That’s what you’re signing up for.

Which may be a-ok with many Liberals. They just need to stop pretending there’s anything progressive about it.

warningly submitted by Cityslikr

7 Responses to Don’t Let The Name Fool You

  1. That’s just what I’ve said Thanks for this but as I can attest they aren’t interested in listening, the evil NDP must be destroyed at all costs.

  2. For me, Tory picking Kouvalis as a visible part of his team is a disqualifier. Finding a way to pay him to stay out of the race because of the damage he did last time, I could understand. But to put someone as corrosive as him in the vanguard with these silly slogan-sites and japing on twitter speaks to poor judgement, especially if the candidate is playing the “I’m a nice white rich guy who loves Toronto and LOOK! a good looking family” game. Tory might have gotten 1010 to pull the podcasts of his show down but I can’t believe someone hasn’t already archived those and is combing them for the many shilly shallying quotes to be found therein. His corporate CV won’t help him either – he was taking the blame for the Blue Jays pulling craft beer on twitter yesterday, never mind his lobbying efforts for the Big Red Cash Machine.

    The one thing that must be heartening for left leaners is that Chow has clearly looked at whether to campaign to win or to campaign in the expectation that hope is better than fear. The former course is being plotted, what with the proxies going to war on twitter in January/February, the shockingly cynical leaflet drop just before resigning (although perhaps as noted above perhaps the early debate did force her hand in giving up another month of federal pay), the media heavy book tour at publisher expense which Toronto media dutifully recorded as she pinged from launch to launch across the country. Even with missteps within her organisation like hiring Jamey Heath, I wouldn’t bet against her at this stage.

    • Simon Says says:

      Olivia Chow has Warren Kinsella as part of her team. And Warren is corrosive and toxic.

      • Sonny says:

        Warren brought us Chretien and Economic Growth.
        Nick brought us Ford, the Federal Cons and Austerity like cuts…

      • Simon Says says:

        Warren had an easy time with two right of center parties running against the Liberals and uses this to inflate is ego as helping Chretien win. Don’t think NK was in any Federal Con war room.

  3. Sonny says:

    How did it turn out when Liberals voted for the right wing Ford OR Harper. This time there are few “liberal” mayoral candidates so where to go given a low voter turn out.

    There are some very bad people on the right.

  4. Connie Harrison says:

    Warren is a nasty bigot so I will be supporting Sarah.

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