|John Tory's SmartTrack plan addresses the city's most pressing issue; the man has his finger on the pulse.|
Four Years Ago Toronto had a Municipal Election
We elected a moron. Someone who could work, "Respect for Taxpayers" into every other sentence but who had few talents besides this. During his term as Mayor, Rob Ford has skipped council meetings to coach football, fled on foot and by motor vehicle from the press, displayed astonishingly bad judgment in his choice of companions and in his choice of illegal drugs. He has also wasted four years of everyone's time, with the possible exception of newspaper owners looking to increase circulation numbers.
This time we deserve someone better. John Tory has made his SmartTrack transit plan the staple of his Mayoral bid. He smartly owned the transit issue before his competition had laid a finger on it. I remember an early morning in June when I was about to board the subway at St. Clair West station - members of his volunteer team were handing out SmartTrack diagrams that showed how his proposed transit plan will connect Toronto from Etobicoke to Scarborough and get people where they're going faster.
For anyone who lives in the downtown core, the boldness of Tory's plan is welcome. For far too long municipal and provincial politicians in the Centre of the Universe have argued about transit and gone back to the drawing table time and again, wasting valuable time while the system strained at the seams.
If you don't believe me, just take a ride on the Bloor line Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM on to see, feel, and smell what an excruciatingly unpleasant experience riding the TTC during rush hour can be. To quote The Globe and Mail's endorsement of Tory: "Toronto’s transit deficit is enormous. It is strangling the city’s quality of life." That about sums it up.
In John Tory we have a Mayoral candidate who has pledged to tackle the city's most pressing problem head on. He has both government and private sector experience (Tory was formerly President and CEO of Rogers Media). This experience would make him valuable as Mayor - he can see both sides of the coin - the public's need for services balanced with the corporate drive to profit. This, and he was recently a radio show host for Newstalk 1010, hosting 'Live Drive with John Tory.'
Having met him briefly I was delighted that he asks questions and genuinely seems to care about your answers. Journalism is the art of asking questions and paying attention to answers, so this plus his corporate experience makes the man a real triple threat.
Contrasted with his main opponent in the race, Doug Ford, Tory is everything the Fords are not. Of our soon to be former Mayor Rob, an astute city councilor once remarked he's a, "read-the-report-a-phobic." This and a proven bully, poor negotiator, and someone who has shown his colours as a homophobe.
It was fall-on-the-floor funny and deeply embarrassing at the same time to see Rob Ford taping a Canadian flag to the inside of his council office in protest when the city voted to raise the Rainbow Flag during Russia's Sochi Olympics to protest how that country treats gays and lesbians.
Jokes aside we need a Mayor who can bring much needed courtesy and civility to City Hall. Someone who knows how to make deals with people who don't necessarily share his political views, and who has a plan that faces Toronto's most important problem - our outdated transit system - head on.
John Tory is that person. That's why I voted for him as Mayor last week in Toronto's advance polls.
To everyone who lives in Toronto and can legally vote I say this to you - examine what the candidates are saying today and what they've done in the past. Take the time you need to arrive at a decision. And then vote.
Toronto cannot afford to repeat the last four years. We have a real choice this time around and I should hope we're all wide awake and can see what that choice is.
Let's do this thing.