David Soknacki has officially ended his Toronto mayoral bid – on his 60th birthday. Soknacki announced his decision to drop
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.
That's what makes Ford Nation so extraordinary -- the incredible dichotomy that exists when it comes to criticism of most politicians and criticism of Rob Ford. Ford effectively gets what amounts to a jaw-dropping free pass from his base (in Toronto or in B.C.) nine times out of 10.
If we truly want Toronto to be the best city it can be, we are going to need to accept the stark reality that the way we have been approaching gridlock simply is not working. Throwing more money at the problem won't solve everything, and more transit won't fix our congestion challenges alone without fixes for other modes.
While the leading candidates for Toronto's mayoral elections -- Olivia Chow, David Soknacki, Karen Stintz, and John Tory -- were unanimous in realizing that mobility was the number one issue for the City. The transit plans they revealed had one thing in common: they only have partial solutions and pet projects for Toronto's mobility troubles.
If the campaigns, including the media attempting to manipulate it, continue as they have started 2014, we will wake up on October 28 and ask ourselves again how Rob Ford won.
This is why council is so important. As a unified body it has immense power to shift the agenda of our city. A mayor should technically be able to unite and determine solid goals for Toronto along with a strong policy agenda designed to solve our toughest of challenges. Unfortunately there hasn't been much unity on council and partisan-politics has stifled much progress. The never ending subway vs. LRT debate creating a rift between the downtown core and the suburbs and a lack of true 'big-picture, visionary thinking' has seriously stalled Toronto's ability to capitalize on its unique potential.
If Rob Ford's opponents don't step up their game, there is a very real chance Rob Ford will be re-elected Mayor of Toronto in October 2014, providing he continues to meet the requirements to be a candidate for Mayor. Wednesday night's debate hosted by CityTV was an absolute farce. It was not a good night for Torontonians ready for change at City Hall. Very little by way of policy was discussed, and even when it was, there is enough agreement between the Mayor's opponents on key issues that polarizing this election in a manner that favours a challenger will be hard.
The experience of Tory losing many political battles to lesser quality candidates in the past should have reminded him that in politics, the electorate wants immediate answers to their issues and not just a down payment promise. If Tory is to have any chance of being elected, he has to go beyond just being nice and start eloquently pursuing a unique brand and policies to his candidacy ASAP.
Olivia Chow says the new revelations surrounding Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and drugs prove he is not fit to lead Canada's largest