Yeah, I know, this comes out of nowhere. I’m not exactly active in politics. I don’t care for the ceaseless posturing and partisan bickering that goes on even here in sedate, boring old Canada. Not to mention that I live in Mississauga, and this post is about Toronto. This isn’t even a post about hot-button issues. It’s about local, municipal politics.
I want to talk about the Toronto mayoral race.
With Rob Ford with a large lead in the polls, I think it’s clear that there’s a leadership vacuum in Toronto. Have you ever dug into the man’s history? He’s a bully and more than a bit of a dimwit. That such a politician, whose policies are based on what he calls the “anger” of Torontonians, can be in the running for anything at all… it astounds me. He looks and sounds like he just rolled out of a bar in the morning. He says things that would put even the venerable Mel Lastman–the man who tried to re-unite the Spice Girls, mind you–to shame.
This week he suggested that we do marathons in parks, not on city streets. So we don’t have to close down roads. Um… what? If Mr Ford can’t put himself in a runner’s shoes (pardon the pun), which he clearly hasn’t done in some time, if ever, and begin to fathom what a very bad idea running a marathon in a park is, how can he be expected to lead an entire city? It’s ridiculous sound bytes like this that make him look like a class A moron.
As for the “anger” that Mr Ford claims is out there? I don’t see it. It’s another manufactured narrative that doesn’t exist. If there is any anger, it’s only in suburban Toronto, where they don’t like their mini-highways closed for any reason. It makes it hard to get the Doritos from the convenience store!
That’s not to lessen the burden of blame on the rest of that sorry bunch. How has Mr Smitherman not leveraged his position in provincial politics to take the Toronto leadership bull by the horns? Why isn’t he out there making noise? All I hear about is Ford, Ford, Ford, and you’ll forgive me if I’d rather hear from the catcher and not the pitcher. And why has Rocco Rossi not changed his name so he doesn’t sound like A) a mobster, or B) a pizzeria? It doesn’t seem like a lot of effort comes from the other camps. And until the other candidates manufacture their own narrative, they’re not going to get anywhere.
But I have an idea. It’s American-style, so we might not all like it, but remember that Toronto is a “world class city” nee constantly-surprised-that-a-celebrity-would-visit-our-quaint-little-town!
Let’s go negative. It’s not that hard. Mr Ford doesn’t stand for anything in particular (it’s a miracle he can stand at all, frankly), and he’s basically taking the election by pointing at his chins and telling us how cute they are, so let’s take it one step further. If Mr Ford has made the election about Mr Ford, let’s help make the election even more about Mr Ford. Let’s make the election about how Mr Ford can’t reliable walk and chew gum at the same time. How he’s kind of like that embarrassing kid who always says something stupid when there’s a gap in the conversation. Let’s make the election about Mr Ford’s past leadership style and how many enemies he’s made over the years. Let’s make the election about how Mr Smitherman, by contrast, can walk and chew gum at the same time. It’s not a lot, but it’s not nothing, and it’s sure better than Mr Ford.
With five weeks to go, I think that’s how you’re going to have to win it, boys.
So have at it.