Sunday, October 24, 2010

Toronto Voters Face Tough Decision

With Municipal elections taking place tomorrow, I am glad I don't have to live with the consequences of choosing the new Mayor. While David Miller has taken himself out of the race, each of the remaining candidates have major flaws that put into question their ability to lead.

Rob Ford - Ford has been a tremendous assest to City Council. He has been a thorn in the side to many in the old boys networks of patronage and privilege. He has recieved rath and scorn from councillors who were not happy with his boat rocking. He was even investigated for not spending enough money from his office budget. He has fought and lost many times to put a cap on spending or to reduce the perks councilors are entitled to. His fiscally responsible approach is what has put him within range of this election. However their is more to being a Mayor then cutting spending. The city also needs to be allocate funds wisely in order to grow and prosper. I just don't see Ford being able to grow beyond his rebel image to fill the shoes necessary for the job.

George Smitherman - The last provincial election predominantly factored into our decision to leave Canada. The government campaigned on the principle that all Ontario students are entitled to the same secular public education. Catholics can also have their own education but funding any other religion is an attack on public education. Smitherman was a prominent member of the government and the election campaign.

Joe Pantalone - Pantalone was the unions only pick to run for Mayor. As Mayor he would be as close to David Miller as it is possible to get. The city needs to take control of it's finances, instead of trying to find more creative ways to tax the same people.

There is a plus side. A bunch of councillors have stepped down leaving the arena open to fresh blood with fresh ideas. Although Ford may not make it to council there are a number of fiscally responsible councilors (Doug Holyday, Karen Stintz, Denzil Minnan-Wong etc.) who should be returned to serve another term. Hopfully the fresh faces in Council and the Mayor's office combined with the reelection of deserving councilors will be a huge leap forward for the City of Toronto.

The fallout from this election is going to filter into the next Provincial election and possibly Federal election. Most people are billing it up as Ford (Hudak) vs Smitherman (McGuinty). A number of scenarios have been proposed as to who to cheer for. When McGuinty was elected Premier for his first term he campaigned that as a Liberal he would be better suited to deal with PM Paul Martin. In the end they didn't get along and Martin was kicked out of office a short time later. McGuinty is hoping a Smitherman win would bring in an era of like minded leaders that would help him in the election. The flip side is if Smitherman fails the demand for change will sweep through Queen's Park and knock the Liberals out of power.

The same analysis could play out in reverse. Ford falling flat on his face in his first year could be an anchor on Hudak, allowing McGuinty to win for a 3rd time. Win or lose Ford has a lot of political capital. If he doesn't become Mayor he will find himself a seat in Queen's Park or Ottawa. His reputation for shaking things up to help the Conservatives come election time. Which ever direction voters send his political career, he will remain a force to be reckoned with.