Career Politicians

Anybody who’s thrown so much as a passing glance toward us here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke knows that we kind of rankle at the hurled derision of the ‘career politician’ taunt. tryingmypatienceWe happen to think, done well, politics can be a noble profession, and one which need not be subject to some arbitrary time line. New blood does not inherently mean good or better blood. It’s just new.

But I will tell you that Councillor Raymond Cho is severely testing our laissez-faire attitude on this issue.

One day – ONE DAY! – after coming in 3rd in the June 12th provincial vote, Councillor Cho registered to run for re-election in October’s municipal election. Looking at the councillor’s history, you might conclude that he’s spent a lot of his career trying to get out of City Hall. He ran federally for the New Democratic Party in 1988 and then federally again in 2004 as an independent Liberal candidate. This time around, he took a stab at it as a Progressive Conservative candidate.

Having now run under the banner of a party with perhaps one of the most anti-urban agendas in recent memory, escapeplanCouncillor Cho blithely intends to return to municipal office as Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River incumbent. No hard feelings, eh guys? It’s not like I was a conservative in anything but name only, OK?

I’d probably be more forgiving if the councillor had done much of any significance this past term. At the start, just after Rob Ford became mayor, Cho was a bit of a thorn in Team Ford’s side. More like a pesky annoyance, really. But as the province lumbered toward a general election, Councillor Cho saw another exit opportunity and after securing the riding nomination, he just sort of faded into the woodwork. His most notable achievement ended up being to join with 8 other Scarborough councillors and derail plans to bring the LRT to their part of the city.

With a federal election on the horizon for 2015, you’d be crazy not to think that Councillor Cho isn’t ruling out one last kick at that can. sixofoneIt’s not like he’s getting any younger!

At least one of his opponents in the recent provincial campaign, the NDP’s Neethan Shan, had the decency to wait a week before throwing his name into the municipal campaign, registering to also run in Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River against Councillor Cho.

Frankly, that news doesn’t sit much better with me.

I know that there’s a lot of overlap between the provincial and municipal governments. In many ways, they are inter-dependent. It’s not unusual to see the same names vying for a position at both levels. Hell, 3 of Scarborough’s 5 Liberal MPPs are former Toronto city councillors and a fourth was a school board trustee in the city.

Still, Mr. Shan’s quick entry into the municipal race strikes me as something a budding politician might do in search of public office. Doesn’t care where, Queen’s Park or City Hall, as long as it’s an office. And public. pickadoorI’ll be very surprised if he’s the only unelected, unsuccessful provincial candidate who tosses his hat into the municipal campaign ring before its September deadline.

This kind of campaign juggling strikes me as lacking a certain commitment to, I don’t know, a cause. A passion for politics, maybe, but generalized, unfocussed. The thing that motivates you should dictate the level of government you aim for. International affairs or development? Federal. As a school board trustee, Kathleen Wynne has said it was the Mike Harris attacks on education that pushed her into provincial politics.

That might be too harsh or over-simplified. One of my favourite city councillors, Gord Perks, first ran for public office at the federal level. careerpoliticianThere’s obviously something to be said about learning the ropes of the campaign trail, taking it on the chin a few times before getting it right.

But, in the end, if a candidate is fortunate enough to win an election, there should be some passion for the office they step into. I’d be much more content with a city councillor who’s something of a lifer because they love the job they do and are good at it than someone just passing through municipal politics as a stepping stone to where the real power lies. That’s self-serving not public serving.

And it’s the kind of thing that gives career politicians a bad name.

testily submitted by Cityslikr

4 Responses to Career Politicians

  1. Ron Wheeler says:

    I understand your point and Cho has been a one man shortbus for the entire 4 years. Every time he rises to speak….I cringe for the iq points I’m about to lose.

    On the other hand; I sure hope that Joe Cressy will seek the ward 20 seat at city council after he loses the federal byelection.

    • Sonny says:

      I have met Cho and he seems like a nice person and will likely defeat Shan as a siting incumbent councillor

      It would be interesting if Layton sought W20 vs the 17 and then Cressy could seek W19

      P.S. the Widow of Flaherty is seeking the PC leadership and will get it

  2. As much as you dislike the idea of Term-Limits (3-terms / 12-years), I think it is the only way to cleanse the system of these Barnacles on the System.

    Also, I think it should be LAW that –

    A) Sitting Councillors MUST resign their seats before running at PROV or FED level (*thank-you, Adam Vaughan).

    B.) Sitting Councillors MUST submit their re-election papers by June 1st of an election year (*Hint, Hint – Paula Fletcher) – so as to make clear their intentions & any incumbent advantage they may have on the back’s of their Office Budgets.

    • Sonny says:

      Why don’t you run as a candidate on that idea?
      There are term limits called elections…

      Seems that Bailao will do well based on the Provincial turnout despite her drinking & driving conviction thanks to being lobbied… Nice touch getting the lit out with the office budget before the deadline. My councillor; Berardinetti got her’s out on Tuesday.
      Fletcher like any potential candidate has until the Sept. 12 deadline!

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