Oh, It’s You Again

July 31, 2014

I’m happy I’m not over there in Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina and have to pick a new city councillor in October.

For a couple of reasons.pheew

One, my house is actually located in Ward 19. So I’d be voting illegally if I cast a ballot in Ward 20. Although, the consequences to breaking any sort of election law in this city seem to be negligible to none if current cases are anything to go by.

Secondly, I might actually feel a little, I don’t know, badly not voting for Joe Cressy for a second time in less than a year.

Don’t get me wrong. He seems like a nice enough guy with his heart in the right place. He says all the right things for all the right causes. joecressyI mean, I’ve never even been to Africa, let alone, worked with HIV and AIDS projects there.

Credentials?

Joe Cressy’s got the progressive credentials in spades, my friends.

But I’ll tell you something.

When he was running in June for the federal seat in Trinity-Spadina left vacant by Olivia Chow and her bid to become the next mayor of Toronto, and I was able to vote him, I didn’t because I had no clue why it was he wanted to be my M.P. I knew exactly why his opponent, and eventual winner, and the candidate I voted for, Adam Vaughan, wanted to go to Ottawa. Cressy? Frankly, between you and me? It felt like the next entry in his C.V. This is what someone of his pedigree does next.

Now, having been turned down for that job opening, his bid for a city council seat feels like a 2nd thought. cv1A fall back plan. Don’t worry, he assures us when he announces his municipal run, he won’t run federally again in next year’s scheduled general election. Not next year.

It’s still early yet in the municipal campaign, just under 3 months to go, so we may get a better sense of why Joe Cressy wants to a Toronto city councillor. Hopefully it’s something beyond building a progressive city platitudes. Right now it feels like Joe simply wants to be a professional politician.

Am I being too unfair?

It’s probably because it also feels like he’s bringing party baggage to the proceedings. I have grown to loathe the party mechanics at City Hall. Party mechanics? you say. There’s no party politics at the municipal level. What are you talking about? Party mechanics?

Well, there is. Just behind the curtain. Not quite out of sight but far enough away to provide plausible deniability.

Look. Some of my favourite city councillors are eye deep in party affiliations. partymachineI’d like to think it doesn’t cloud their judgement, add a little colour to the way they see things. But you constantly have to ask how complete, 100% independence is possible if you owe at least a little something to the party that helped get you into office.

It’s difficult at times to look at the current council make-up and not see some party standard bearers sitting as city councillors instead of, I don’t know, just really good city councillors.

And I remain convinced that party politics played an integral part in inflicting the Scarborough subway debacle on us. A not so subtle push from Queen’s Park in order to curry favour with Scarborough voters in both provincial by and general elections. An unexpected windfall from Ottawa to put some skin in the game, as they say, for their ‘side’. stinkeyeLoyalty to party before good, rational decision making.

So yeah. I cast a wary eye in the direction of Joe Cressy’s latest candidacy. With all the advantages that come with being a political company man, there’s one pointed, challenging question he needs to answer. Exactly who’s he running to serve? His constituents? His party? His career?

Not that he has to answer me. Like I said, I don’t live in the ward. I’m just an interested observer.

just sayingly submitted by Cityslikr


By-Election Trinity-Spadina

June 27, 2014

Here’s my thinking.thinking

It’s a federal by-election in Trinity-Spadina, right? This is going to make no big difference on the make-up of parliament. I guess there might be some sense of momentum going into next year’s general election but, you know, for what that’s worth.

So I actually don’t have to perform the party-candidate balancing act. You know the one where it’s all, I like the candidate but am unhappy with the party, or vice versa. The lesser of two evils more often than the best of both worlds. There’s no fear that if I vote this way that party will become the government.

That’s going to make it incredibly easy for me to mark my ballot.

thumbsupAdam Vaughan, hands down.

I say, put him in office and see what he can do before we head back to the polls in 2015. How much influence will he actually have in setting the Liberal party’s urban agenda? Will the pressures to toe the line that come with party membership curb the sharp-tongued, outspoken former city councillor?

Truthfully, I have grave concerns about the quality of Justin Trudeau. I’ve yet to see any rigour manifest in him. If Adam Vaughan is elected MP on Monday, I’d eventually like to ask him what it’s like working under the leadership of someone who seems not nearly as smart as he is.

During his time at City Hall, Vaughan did not suffer fools gladly which earned him something of a prickly reputation. Certainly over the course of the last four years, there were plenty of fools to go around, many of them holding positions of power. That never sat well with Vaughan.

Now, I’m not comparing Justin Trudeau to Rob Ford. I just don’t see him as much of a heavyweight although I’m perfectly happy to be proven otherwise. trialperiodI hope the possible presence of Adam Vaughan in his caucus will bring out the best in Trudeau. If it doesn’t, if he doesn’t live up to his commitments to housing and other progressive urban issues that Vaughan has been touting during the campaign, it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. Exactly how maverick-y will he be willing to go?

And that’s the beauty of this situation, right? It’s a trial period. See how it works, re-visit my decision next year.

Besides, the NDP candidate in the race, Joe Cressy, has made next-to-no impression on me. Zero impact. I have little sense of what’s driving him to seek this office. adamvaughanProgressive ideals, for sure, but what I’m hearing mostly from him right now is party, party, party. The NDP is home to progressive voters. The Liberals long ago abandoned their progressive ideals. There’s only one way progressives could think of casting their ballots. NDP, NDP, NDP.

Oh, and Jack Layton.

But for me, we’re not fighting the last election. We’re getting ready for the next. I have great admiration for the work Adam Vaughan did as a city councillor. I think the Liberal party with him a part of it, will be a better party, a more progressive party than it’s been for a couple decades now.

If I’m wrong about that, we get to do this all over again in 2015.

decisively submitted by Cityslikr