Archived columns and blog posts by Matt Elliott

It's election day in Toronto… thank God

By: Metro Published on Mon Oct 27 2014

It’s election time in Toronto, and thank God for that. There’s not a whole lot left to say after 10 months of campaigning, approximately 72,000 debates and dozens of polls that all seem to point to a foregone conclusion, but hey, there’s still time for some endorsements.

And while I won’t enthusiastically throw my support behind any of the leading contenders for mayor, there are some things I specifically will and won’t endorse.

For instance, I won’t endorse the idea that there’s no difference between John Tory and Mayor Rob Ford. The Olivia Chow campaign has been trying to convince voters for the past month that Tory and the Fords are one and the same, with identical right-wing views and plans.

I don’t buy it.

It’s an argument that diminishes the chaotic and dysfunctional nature of the Ford administration. The reality is that Tory would of course be a better mayor than either Rob Ford or Doug Ford, because pretty much anybody would be better suited for the job than the Fords.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll endorse the notion that Tory would make a particularly good mayor. It’s hard to know exactly what kind of mayor he’ll be. He’s provided an astonishing lack of detail about his plans for the office.

We know about his SmartTrack plan, sort of. Even that’s vague. Aside from that, he doesn’t have much else. He’s left us with way too many unanswered questions to earn my support.

So, almost by default, there’s a stronger case to be made for Chow as mayor. I’ll endorse that. She’s got a clear passion and vision for this city, plus experience where it counts. And she’s actually got a full platform — something that can’t be said for either Tory or Ford.

But I have trouble endorsing Chow’s all-over-the-map campaign. Chow had an opportunity when she entered the race to inspire the city’s hopeful progressives the same way Ford inspired people who felt like the government was wasting their money.

But it never happened. Instead, she took what felt like a lackadaisical and generic approach in the early stages. Her campaign got better, but it never got good. Chow proved once again that Toronto voters sure hate presumptive frontrunners.

There are two more things I’ll endorse. First, I’ll endorse that you should vote. Yeah, you. It takes a few minutes. Don’t be a jerk about it.

And I’ll endorse that we are finally at the end of this long election. No matter what the outcome, the future of Toronto won’t be decided on election day. It’ll be decided in the months ahead, as issues like transit, policing and housing are debated by the new mayor and council at city hall. It’s time for the real work to begin.

This post was originally published at on 2014-10-27T00:00:00.000Z

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Matt Elliott

City Hall watcher, columnist and policy wonk in Toronto.
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