Thursday, October 7, 2010

Toronto's day of reckoning approaches

The latest polls still show that Rob Ford has a five point lead over George Smitherman in the race for mayor. Given what an idiot Ford appears to be, this is rather unsettling, and this is no doubt why nominally left-leaning Joe Mihevc has endorsed Smitherman. Nonetheless, this has led to a strongly worded response:
Dear Joe Mihevc,

This election is all about jobs and services, ethics & principles and who we trust to take us through the next four years. For you, it should have been all about the marginalized sectors of Toronto, and how collectively to provide protection for what we all worked so hard to create, protect and then re-create after the provincial Harris/Eves & Toronto Lastman years.

This election is very important for Toronto’s working class, un- and under-employed workers, poor families, new Canadians and senior citizens,
all of whom have a lot to lose if Rob Ford or self-identified “compassionate cutter” George Smitherman are elected.

For many of us, neither can be a choice: Door A promises no less than 6,000 jobs eliminated while Door B, your candidate, will see the elimination of 4,000 jobs by attrition. Whether you like it or not, both candidates objectively will destroy the programs and services we all need. Unlike these candidates, we cannot “buy” our way out of the problems we face like wealthy people are able to do.

Telling you how angry, disappointed and betrayed many of us feel doesn’t properly convey the depth of emotions being experienced by community members today.

You made this part of the election ‘all about you’. In three weeks, the election will be over. You may have helped elect a Mayor who will attack our quality of life. Likely you will still have your job, as not much can happen to you in the election at this late date

This endorsement isn’t about principles, ethics, or solidarity.
If your candidate is elected, you will be among the chosen inner circle. We, on the other hand, will have to continue to fight for the values, programs and services we all supported.

Can you really wonder, then, why so many are cynical, ‘apathetic’ and disengaged in the election process?

Katie McGovern
Recording & Corresponding Secretary
Local 4400
Now I'm kind of an outsider in this whole thing, having left the province 2½ years ago (and my main source before that was Metro Morning). Nonetheless, I see a lot to agree with in McGovern's letter, though I don't think I'd have worded it so harshly.

The thing is, as noted in that letter, while Ford is a huge jerk, Smitherman doesn't come across as much of an improvement, except with regards to the environment. Now as Audrey McLaughlin once said in a different context, "that's a pretty big except", but my fear of Ford is also tempered by my belief that he probably won't last more than a term; Smitherman, on the other hand, might hold on for as long as he wanted. And if Ford does hold on for multiple terms, it will be by moderating to the point of being no worse than Smitherman would have been. So in the end, I'd probably go ahead and vote for the best candidate, who in this case seems to be Joe Pantalone. On the other hand, I wouldn't be quite as judgemental as McGovern is about people who hold their noses and vote for Smitherman.

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