Since Rob Ford registered to run for Mayor on January 2nd earlier this year, I have been worried if he was easily going to be re-elected the way David Miller was easily re-elected in 2006 without any credible candidate running against him.
I was not sure if the only credible candidate, John Tory, was going to run or decline to run against the scandal-plagued Mayor who is arguably Canada's least competent public official and a late night punch bag for America's late night talk show industry. I was relieved when two competent and serious candidates including John Tory and Karen Stintz, registered to run against Ford Nation earlier this week.
John Tory was the first to register early looking confident and with an easy smile. Karen Stintz followed the radio broadcaster with her young kids and with no identification. This momentarily delayed her registration making a mockery of her chance to make a first impression mirroring the experience of Robert Stanfield's football fumble decades ago that helped kill his chance to be Prime Minister.
While Stintz's announcement and registration was expected for weeks, Tory's was a total shock for many of us. I welcome the candidacy of both of these Torontonians and wish John Tory the best of luck. He is exactly what Toronto needs and deserves.
While I respect Karen Stintz, I predict hers will mirror the candidacy and dismissal showing of Stephen LeDrew or Jane Pitfield in 2007. Perhaps this is a self-inflicted political suicide for the downtown Councillor as part of her exit from electoral politics after a decade being a City Councillor.
Clearly, John Tory is certainly the one to watch.
I have admired John Tory for eon and his dedication for public service is legendary all across Canada. When I was a candidate in 2010 for instance, I met him through Maytree Foundation and he encouraged me, gave me valuable advice even though I was a virtual unknown city council candidate. When I needed him as a citizen for mentorship and advice, he was accessible even though his time was needed by many interests.
He has had a long involvement with public service and once even managed the historic campaign of Canada's first woman Prime Minister, Kim Campbell. He has led successful businesses such as Rogers, headed the Canadian Football League and led a United Way campaign and in recent years, chaired CivicAction - fulfilling a promise he made to the late David Peacaut.
Tory has been involved in politics for generations starting from his much younger years. A Red Tory, he grew up working, volunteering and admiring the likes of Bill Davis, John Robertas and Leslie Frost -- successful Canadian politicians who understood the roles of governments and public institutions.
The mayor's brother, Councillor Doug Ford, who is also his campaign spokesperson and manager reflected to the media, how Rob Ford represents the "small, hardworking, blue collar folks" and that Tory is "the establishment candidate". It seems the Ford Nation wants to turn the race in to class warfare of elitist citizens vs. ordinary citizens. Despite Doug Ford's criticism of John Tory being a rich elitist, the Fords are rich, elitist and well connected.
John Tory believes government should be inclusive and a voice of every citizen. The current mayor believes government is there to lower taxes, reduce services and destroy public institutions and advocate for just "hard working taxpayers" which in itself is disturbing coming from a noted public figure of an important City.
The current mayor has personal defects, including doing and buying drugs, binge drinking of alcohol and has been videotaped using profane rants and videotaped with faulty characters while in office. John Tory, while not prefect, does not and will not embarrass the city. I trust and admire his judgement.
Earlier today, when the mayor was asked on Newstalk1010 about any potential embarrassing secrets in the closet popping up during the campaign and the mayor angrily ignored the question and responded how "you may be perfect, maybe the rest of society is perfect, all I know is that my record speaks for itself," and that "I'm a real person. I'm straight up."
Mayor Ford, a straight up person you are not.
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