October 27, election night, is under two weeks away. So, some thoughts:
After dealing with that barbaric pig of a mayor it was distressing that the bar for political discourse was so low, barely a shade above Fordian levels. This is as profoundly unsurprising as it is pathetic. If there was widespread apathy about municipal politics before Ford, there was a mild hope that not only would political engagement increase, but the level of conversation would become more sophisticated given the new prominence of local politics in newspapers and in general chatter. To put it lightly, John Tory has made sure this hasn’t happened.
His campaign assumed the population at large was ignorant and unwilling to look at anything beyond a headline, and it appears this estimation was correct. Tory’s paltry arguments wouldn’t stand up in a real debate against a single person who knew what they were talking about, but when he’s up against Olivia Chow in a mayoral “debate” he uses a cocky dismissive tone and repeats trite/winning slogans, burying data and, that thing he and other Conservatives feel they have a patent on, common sense.
It’s ironic what a hypocrite he and the business community are on the transit file and on taxes in general: they generally accuse the left of being platitudinous, but actually it’s Tory who is running on repeating fancy sentences and no data, and who plans on squandering billions of dollars in unaccounted for money on transit that doesn’t meet the stated objectives experts say are needed (doesn’t relieve existing transit lines, or provide areas that need transit the most–Malvern, Jane and Finch, Rexdale– with transit).
If Olivia Chow had Tory’s ideas, the right would correctly lambaste her for being the archetypal lefty, not just a tax-and-spend, but a tax-and-spend concealing intent. Who in the business community believes something can be purchased without money? Or that there’s no important distinction between capital and operating budgets because “money is money.” Tory unrepentantly says this! If a woman uttered these ridiculous things she’d be publicly humiliated, but Tory still has credibility in people’s eyes. They don’t hear or weigh what he’s saying, they just see a tall old white man with decent hair, and a mellifluous radio voice. But he’s a total and utter fraud, as pandering and pathetically empty as they come. Ford with bourgeois decorum. This makes him less uncouth but no better, and more dangerous. His ideas and agenda are the same, and anyone who can’t see this is naïve, not paying attention, or unwilling.
I do sympathize with the person who wants to believe Tory is acceptable. Many perceive Chow through a nightmare lens, as if when she becomes mayor everyone must instantly forfeit the password to their online banking, so she can conveniently pocket your money when she is running low, or feels like it. It is as if the substance of the candidate’s platforms have no existence, only the perception of these people influences people’s vote.
In case you think substance does matter, her transit plan corresponds more with what experts recommend, the funding plan is comparably reasonable and secure. Never mind that she actually has experience pertaining to the job, time in Toronto and Ottawa. Tory has never won an election. He’s a seasoned loser.
But the average voter in Toronto isn’t sophisticated politically whatsoever. This is reasonable, maybe even commendable. While a knowledgeable and engaged body of citizens is essential to a functional democracy, politics is a sordid depressing world that doesn’t really reward the time spent thinking and talking about it. But people hear “taxes” and their mind is made up. Tory seems to view forming a platform as a meaningless task. Can you say he’s wrong, when people do only vote based on whose ad is better? That’s why Tory avoids calling his phantom dollars a tax or debt. Chow says the city needs money if it wants to make purchases, an undeniable truth the other candidates devote their platforms to denying.
I have never been in the Chow camp, and if my new hatred for Tory is seen as an endorsement for her, take that for what it is, an endorsement by default. I was a Soknacki supporter, and I miss David dearly, and hope he is on a well-deserved tropical vacation away from this squalid city that stupidly didn’t embrace him. I wish Toronto well, I have a profound love this my home city, but I also hope it goes down the toilet, only so Soknacki can feel validated. He deserves the I-Told-You-So.
From the outset I was neutral, maybe even hopeful, about Tory, but am surprised what a pure charlatan and simpleton he has proved himself to be. It’s not just bad for the city, though it is that, but his brazen duplicity is highly offensive to me personally. I hate it and I hate him. The sight of him makes my stomach sick. Do I need to write here about why his transit “plan” is a scam? No, it’s been written about over and over and over again, and if you haven’t read it it’s because of your apathy.
(Fine, a brief word: by definition Tory isn’t proposing “rapid transit,” the trains come every fifteen minutes. He touts the 22 stations, as if their location is irrelevant, but it doesn’t go where planners say transit is needed. One is in fucking Ajax, outside his purview. It’s hugely expensive, his estimate is $8-billion, $2.7-billion for the city, but no politician cites the actual cost and it’ll surely grow by billions, and that depends on getting funding from other levels of government which they have explicitly stated we can’t depend on. He said tunneling was unnecessary, then it was pointed out that he’d have to, and he agreed, and it costs $300-million a kilometer. His faults are truly this stupid on the surface, that’s why people with any loyalty to Toronto and intelligence have been lining up to blast him.)
I have just enough respect for Tory to debunk him, a courtesy I won’t extend to Doug, who of course is a fraudulent boor and a disgusting man by every meausre.
PS: in case any reader thinks I’m overstating things, I dare you: look at the three paltry pages of text Tory devotes to describing SmartTrack [sic], the centrepiece of his “platform,” and tell me I’m wrong.