Monday, December 20, 2010

Mayoral Musings

I'll be the first to admit that, when it comes to politics, I don't have much experience - okay, any real experience. Even when I was editor-in-chief of a university newspaper, it was the President that called the organizational shots. Combined with my total lack of fundraising it should not have shocked anyone that my quixotic campaign for Mayor of Toronto earlier this year was not going to go anywhere, and if I hadn't pulled out of the campaign to move to New Westminster, I would have been just another one of those names at the bottom of a list with a couple of hundred votes in favor.

Nevertheless. I'm going to go out on a (rather arrogant) limb and state my belief that, if the past two weeks end up being representative of the tenor of the next four years, I suspect that I may have made a better mayor than Rob Ford.

Arrogant in the extreme, I know. But really - take a look at Ford's actions so far. He's called for a halt to Transit City... because he personally doesn't like it. He believes that he can reduce taxes without decreasing services... because taxes are bad, full stop. He's packed his government with suburbanites to as great a degree as he can... because he won, even though David Miller did not similarly stack the deck in favor of downtown. When Don Cherry fulminated about the "kooks" and "pinkos" on their bicycles, Ford stood behind him. Ford, to me, displays a tendency of making up his mind and then sealing it up tight. I may not have any political experience, but neither do I have the experience of refusing to accept the possibility that valid ideas can come from people who do not agree with me.

It really comes down to an issue of character in the end, for me. Nonwithstanding his policy proposals, I don't believe that Rob Ford has the right character to be a good Mayor of Toronto. A good mayor would be willing to build bridges, to compromise, to work together with everyone in Council - because, first and foremost, politics is not a war to be won. I watched recently the troubles in the United States Senate, with the Republicans blocking each and every bill sent to them by the House of Representatives until President Obama caved on giving the super-rich another tax cut, with no small dread. Is that what we've got to look forward to here - politicians holding the system hostage until they get what they want?

I really hope that it doesn't happen that way in Ford's Toronto - but the question of Transit City still lingers, and if Rob Ford has to strangle Toronto's political system in order to yet again break the dreams of new, effective transit in Toronto, then given his actions so far I have no doubt that he will try.

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