Friday, October 22, 2010

A guide to Toronto's mayoral candidates

Courtesy of the Star. Some highlights:

Taxes: Ford wants to abolish the land transfer tax, while Smitherman and Pantalone want to keep it. The situation with property taxes is interesting. As noted previously, Smitherman is actually even more aggressive than Ford on this issue - he wants to freeze them, while Ford merely wants to index them to inflation.

Transit: Ford, much like Katz in Winnipeg, wants to tear up the existing plans and renegotiate. Pantalone wants to continue, while Smitherman actually wants to add to existing plans.

Other environmental issues: Both Pantalone and Smitherman scored high here (20 and 18 out of 20 respectively). Ford didn't bother to answer the questionnaire.

Contracting out: Pantalone wants to freeze it; both Ford and Smitherman want to do it. Of the two, Smitherman is arguably worse than Ford, since he is open to contracting out bus routes in addition to garbage and recycling.

Debt: Pantalone figures there are higher priorities, and that the debt can be kept constant. Both Ford and Smitherman want to actively reduce it by selling city assets.

Hiring of staff: None of them advocate massive layoffs. Pantalone wishes to continue the present policy, which is to simply evaluate whether it's necessary to fill a given vacancy. Ford and Smitherman are much more aggressive here, wanting to eliminate 1,500 and 1,300 jobs, respectively, by attrition.

Size of council: Pantalone and Smitherman want to leave well enough alone, while Ford wants to cut it in half.

Looking at it in this way, Smitherman does seem to be somewhat preferable to Ford overall, and I certainly think the venom that some have directed towards those who advocate tactical voting is a bit excessive. Nonetheless, I still think Smitherman would remain mayor for a lot longer than Ford would if elected, and that could be a negative in itself. So I'd still urge progressive Torontonians to hold out for Joe.

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