At City Hall, members of council and staff have done their utmost to fill the leadership vacuum. Toronto's non-partisan system, while messy, has allowed its city government to deliver with little disruption. Council and the City's senior management found equilibrium on a wide range of issues from transit to housing to electoral reform.
The Yonge-University-Spadina (YUS) subway line carries 34 per cent fewer passengers during rush hour than its design capacity. Whereas the decision to...
Unlike the past, when professionals led transport planning in Toronto, transport planning today has become the exclusive purview of poorly informed politicians. To have any chance of addressing gridlock, transit planning has to start with professionals who actually understand real needs and alternative solutions before political choices are made.
It all started simply enough. I registered "Doug Ford" on Ello in jest. And then decided to start adding some friends. At which point, the fun began. I left the office with hundreds of email notifications from Ello, dozens of tweets and even an article in the Toronto Standard! Which is when things turned dark. Very dark. My 24 hours of being Doug Ford taught me 7 key things.
I was not prepared for what actually happened last night. Olivia Chow started off with vigour but then seemed to fade, John Tory was aggressive, and both attacked Doug Ford as if he were the frontrunner. There were no kid gloves for the debate newcomer. I think many observers may see this as the beginning of the end for John Tory, the much anticipated point where he begins to lose as he has done so often before.
You can still vote for me on October 27, but striking your ballot will have the same result. Instead of putting up my dukes, I'm admitting the humbling failure that was this brief foray, and settling into a future more suited to someone of my limited skills and boundless grumbling.
Tomorrow is the first appearance at a debate of mayoral candidate Doug Ford, not to be confused with councillor Doug Ford, or Rob Ford's campaign manager Doug Ford. This is a whole new ballgame. After just a day as the candidate, Ford propelled the fortunes of Ford Nation from a distant third to within striking distance of the leader. Polls showed him at levels no Ford has been at in over a year outside of Etobicoke. For the few people still following this race, here are my thoughts on the five things to watch for in this first Doug Ford debate.
It's almost as if that nasty business of the media running roughshod -- downright bullying -- a man suffering from a mental illness never happened. Journalists never hounded him at the rehabilitation facility. Or coerced other patients into revealing intimate details of his treatment. Or wrote features about the clinic founder's own history with the law. Now that he's dealing with a physical disease, on the other hand, it's real. Let's give the man some privacy, our noble journalism vanguards suddenly declare.
The best thing for Rob Ford the Cancer patient is media silence. And the best thing for the Mayoral election is that this non-candidate for Mayor ceases to dominate the conversation. Let us hope that Rob Ford's cancer disappears along with Rob Ford's presence in the narrative of this Mayoral election. For the good of Rob Ford, and the good of all of us.
The values we used to be most proud of as Canadians are slipping away. We used to differentiate ourselves from the States because of our kindness. Our compassion. Our politeness. Our open-mindedness. Socialized medicine. These are progressive values. These are Canadian values. Or so I thought. Our heros have been fighters for the underdog. Tommy Douglas. David Suzuki. Jack Layton. Nellie McClung. Terry Fox. Yet somehow, most Canadians seem to be saying that progressive values don't speak to them anymore.
We can pretend living in Toronto and having $200 dollars you aren't using qualifies you to be Mayor, but it doesn't. There are realities that come with running for office and one of those is being able to demonstrate popular support for your candidacy and ideas.
The fallout from Rob Ford dropping out of the mayoral race is yet to be seen but there is a hidden picture which bears discussion -- the age old myth: "it might happen to you but it won't happen to me!" When an illness strikes or a death occurs it is too late to take care of many important issues.
Now more than ever we need to acknowledge that an election choice is more subtle than any winner-take-all contest can ever capture. Voters are forced to choose the lesser of all evils and vote strategically about who they want as well as keep in mind who they are afraid might win. Why not let the voters rank the evils directly and stop worrying? It would be more honest. Government and democracy are about more than just finding efficiencies, lowering taxes or even getting people moving. Informed and responsible citizens of a democracy need to work to make the system better.
With only six weeks to go until Toronto elects its next municipal government, Doug Ford, the obnoxious, ignorant, careless, and deeply polarizing former Councillor with his own conflicts of interest and drug dealing past, is now stepping in to try to rescue his brother's administration. Good luck with that. Regardless of the end result of Rob Ford's medical situation, whether it's manageable or not (and again let's hope it is a solvable problem), it's the end of a turbulent era in Toronto politics.
The trouble is that recent years have invigorated the mayor's brand of hyperbole politics. It pays out in spades for those willing to join the bandwagon and echo the "us versus them" chorus. Its cronies transcend party lines; its victims and resisters fade quickly from memory ("not a leader", anyone?). It is the Ford Nation creed. A new, normalized nastiness has imbued the body politic, harshly demarking who is "one of us" and who is to be cast aside. Its candidates bob in the fickle surf of prejudice or fashionable platitudes, instead of wading into their own vision or fair-minded convictions.
It's been more than a year since Ford was revealed to be a crack smoker but he has maintained his meaty grip on power, and is currently dominating the media coverage of Toronto's upcoming municipal election. To pull this off, Ford has redefined the art of crisis communications, demonstrating that you can survive scandal by simply avoiding the truth or drowning it out. Ford is not, of course, the first to use silence, denial and obfuscation to advance his own interests.