What’s The Story With John Tory?

October 17, 2010

I was asked the other day what it was we here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke would write about after October 25th. Pointing out that life does go on after an election, and a city will be run – for good or ill — regardless of who does the winning next Monday, so it will probably be more important to follow what’s going from that point than it was throughout the campaign. That’s when they can do the most damage.

“One thing I definitely won’t be doing after October 25th,” I went on, “is listening to another single word that comes out of John Tory’s mouth.” Unless I were to find myself mysteriously trapped inside a demonically possessed car during a weekday sometime between the hours of 4 and 7 pm, the radio dial refusing to budge from Newstalk 1010, driving me to the brink of insanity. I rule nothing out. Odder things have happened.

It seems almost as if we’ve come full circle since our debut post, way back on the first official day of campaign 2010. We exhorted Mr. Tory not to enter the race as we believed that he really brought nothing but baggage to the table. It was nip and tuck there for awhile, as he hummed and hawed, Hamlet-style, before officially declining sometime in late August. Pheee-ew, we thought. That’s that.

And yet the man hung around, always lurking near the spotlight, a regular debate moderator. Now, I realize Tory’s a Toronto media figure and wasn’t the only one of that breed who took part in the process. But he was treated as something more, like some civic sage, successor of David Pecault at the helm of the Toronto City Summit Alliance. An agent positive change.

Now come the much heralded and desirable John Tory endorsements. Candidates (challengers and incumbents alike) flaunting His benevolent tap on their shoulder as the chosen one of their respective ward. Vote For Us Because John Tory Would If He Lived Here.

Can I just take a moment and remind everyone that JOHN TORY WAS NEVER MAYOR! He lost the 2003 election after which, he did not stick around to contribute to the general well being of the city, but moved on to bumble and stumble through the vast wilderness of provincial politics, before getting chewed up and spit out back here. You don’t like the notion of a career politician? How do you feel about a failed career politician?

As a professional pontificator doing his schtick on the talk radio circuit, Tory has done his part to create the atmosphere of Toronto being a failed city under the Miller administration. Wise, objective truth telling or a little personal score settling; burnishing his own halo as the one that got away? If only we’d voted for John Tory in 2003, things would be so much better now…

A second reminder, folks. Before declaring himself a candidate for mayor back in 2003, a certain John Tory was a member of the infamous Mel Lastman ‘kitchen cabinet’. Ahhhh, Mel Lastman. Remember that guy? He and his cronies bear much responsibility for whatever financial straits the city finds itself in now with their ill-advised property tax freeze (hello, George Smitherman) and outright refusal to deal with the financial realities taking shape under amalgamation. As corrupt (of the official, MFP kind as opposed to the Rob Ford pretend stuff) as it was inept, it left behind a city reeling under not only weak governance but more than a little red-faced out there on the international stage. From that, we are to somehow jump to the conclusion that John Tory would’ve made a great mayor.

No, in more perfect world, a John Tory endorsement would be treated as pure poison to any candidacy. Yeah, thanks for that, Mr. Tory. But you know, my opponent has a lot to offer too. Here, take a look at their campaign literature. You’re going to like what you see. Instead, it’s a big deal to be trumpeted, perhaps even a game-changer in a close race. That says as much about the truly twisted nature of this campaign than even the fact of Rob Ford being one of the front runners. Unimaginable, lamentable and more than a little unsettling.

exasperatedly submitted by Cityslikr


Exeunt To The Cave

April 13, 2010

It is done. The wheel turned full circle. Case closed. The End.

Adam Giambrone announced last night that he is not running for re-election as councillor in Ward 18. His meteoric rise followed the course that most meteors take, finishing up with a crash and burn, leaving behind little evidence of their final impact. Certainly at 33 years of age, he is still a mere babe in the political sense with a long road ahead of him to start over again after enduring a period of time, wandering about the wilderness purgatory as many a great figure has done before him. (Wasn’t Jesus Christ of similar vintage when he battled the demon in the desert?)

Young Giambrone sounded resilient during his interview with CBC this morning. He ruled nothing out including another go at municipal politics once he’d done his time. (My words not his.) So perhaps there is little to mourn or to note in his passing. Rather than the final act of a great modern tragedy, it may only signify the curtain coming down for intermission, the ending of a first movie in a franchise of sequels.

Scoff as you might at my invocation of a tragic story but it does have all the makings of such. A brash young hero quickly rises through the ranks, impervious to the established limitations expected of one so green and inexperienced. He is arrogant, the old folk say, haughty. Just who exactly does he think he is?

Taken under wing by the king, he is given immense power which only increases resentment toward him. Clearly ambitious, a trait which normally elicits admiration, on young Adam it comes across as unseemly. The boy’s too ambitious, to the point of hubris.

Hubris. Pride. That which goes before the Fall. A fall that comes just as he nears the peak of powers, shortly after announcing his intention to become mayor of the city.

What trips our tragic hero up? That singular flaw which his pride blinds him to?

Errrrr…. he likes the ladies? Unseemly, maybe. Sordid even but tragic?

How about being a terrible judge of character? It wasn’t so much who he chose to practice his infidelity with but rather who he chose to text all about it with that ultimately undid him. Didn’t he see that an aspiring model with a need for publicity was not the best kind of character with whom to commit his unfaithfulness in bytes that could be easily broadcast far and wide? In that way, Giambrone was the author of his own demise. He was just plain stupid.

Hardly Shakespearean or Sophoclean. Barely movie of the week.

In reading an article by the National Post’s Jonathan Goldsbie earlier this week about another matter, I came across this little tidbit: … the dirty (non-sex-related) secret was that very few people actually liked him [Giambrone], as a person or as a councillor.

In other words, Adam Giambrone, once a rising start in the progressive political skies, was felled by the fact that nobody liked him.

Where’s the catharsis in that? All great tragedies provide catharsis. There’s no catharsis here. So this is no great tragedy. Sad and tawdry with a healthy dose of titillation, maybe, but certainly not a tragedy.

Or maybe it is. Only it isn’t a tragedy about Adam Giambrone. It is a tragedy about us. So obsessed have we become with the trivial, mundane and all that is monumentally inconsequential that we have lost our ability to focus on the essential. We reject complexity in favour of simplicity and can no longer collectively conduct our lives and society in any sort of rational, vigorous, mature manner. Those who think and act in such childish terms can only ultimately be treated as children.

sadly (but not tragically) submitted by Acaphlegmic