Monday, October 25, 2010

Toronto's right wing Rob Ford enjoys smashing win to become mayor over centre, left candidates

Toronto Mayor-Elect Rob Ford

There is much to be learned from the overwhelming Toronto mayoralty election victory tonight of right-wing Councilor Rob Ford over centrist opponent George Smitherman and left-wing Councilor Joe Pantalone.

But one thing is clear - there is no Vancouver version of Rob Ford waiting in the wings to become this city's next mayor.

Despite pre-election polling that showed a neck and neck race between former Ontario Liberal deputy premier "Furious George" Smitherman and suburban Etobicoke councilor Ford it wasn't even close. And voter turnout soared to 52% from just 39% in 2006's last Toronto election.

Ford cruised to victory with a 47% to 35% margin over Smitherman, while Deputy Mayor Pantalone - outgoing Mayor David Miller's endorsed successor - had just 11%.

And Ford's win was all the more impressive after Toronto's elite lined up to denounce him as a barbarian at the city's gates, an uncouth lout with a past drunk driving conviction [true - and familiar here in BC for having no great effect] and a privatizing conservative who would demolish public services [which may indeed happen].

None of it mattered because - lesson learning time - voters were simply fed up with classic politicians.

Ford is a real, if flawed, person.

Ford wisely ignored the daily attacks from the country's largest newspaper - the Toronto Star - and stuck to his campaign message throughout - to "stop the gravy train" at city hall. He promised to cut taxes, hire more police and slash the number of city councilors in half.

His chief opponent Smitherman unwisely wandered all over the political map, talking about privatizing city garbage collection, bus routes and other services while also trying to appeal to centre left voters - it didn't work.


"The two places where big dollars are spent and where outsourcing are going to be most prevalent are garbage and also with respect to the operations of the Toronto Transit Commission," Smitherman said early in the campaign in March.


Ford also talked about privatizing but came at it from a classic right-wing perspective, so no one was shocked or appalled. And when a Ford advisor publicly suggested privatizing the TTC, the candidate immediately distanced himself from doing so. Advantage - Ford.


Pantalone was never in the running, having no chance to escape Miller's long shadow, but he didn't help himself either by hiring long-time Conservative backroom strategist John Laschinger as his campaign manager.


No doubt intended to show that Pantalone wasn't simply a left-wing candidate, hiring Laschinger simple did nothing to solidify the veteran councilor's attempt to continue Miller's coalition.


And while Laschinger had run Miller's successful previous campaigns, his other efforts included the ill-fated Belinda Stronach Conservative Party leadership effort in 2004.


As for Vancouver similarities - there is no Rob Ford here. Even the unofficial opposition and Non-Partisan Association's partisan blog - City Caucus.com - endorsed Smitherman, not Ford. And Ford wasn't running against an incumbent, while the NPA will be forced to take on current Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in the 2011 contest.


One big difference - Metro Toronto has 44 councilors representing regional wards, plus the mayor.

That system allows councilors to create their own power base, while Vancouver's archaic at large electoral system forces councilors to run city-wide and encourages dependence on political parties which can get the message out.


Put simply, a potential Rob Ford has almost no hope of being elected councilor, let alone mayor, in Vancouver.


Whether that's a good or bad thing will soon be seen.

.


10 comments:

kootcoot said...

I think the election of this disgusting new mayor of the center of the universe is just another sign of the frustration of people all over North America and Europe. Like the Teabaggers to the south, Ford's election is just a lashing out at whomever is visibly (seems to be) responsible for their frustration.

It isn't a right/left phenomena either, just basically anti-incumbent whomever the incumbent is and how ever long they've been there (Obama hasn't been able to fix the whole world in 20 months - so many expect a fringe ReThug backlash). This is borne out by the reverse results in right of Republican Alberta where they elected a non-reich winger Muslim mayor in the cradle of the Harperite Christian Taliban heartland.

We certainly live in interesting (and scary) times!

Leah said...

And what were the first words out of his mouth? "Toronto is open for business!"

Where have we heard that from a rightwinger before? Look out Toronto!! You're on your way to becoming the next BC...
.

Anonymous said...

big deal,now where that lot more you have to say on the basi virk sudden dismissal or are you blowing smoke.heard you on nw why would you even go there?they sure tamed your ass .

Anonymous said...

"That system allows councilors to create their own power base, while Vancouver's archaic at large electoral system forces councilors to run city-wide and encourages dependence on political parties which can get the message out.

Put simply, a potential Rob Ford has almost no hope of being elected councilor, let alone mayor, in Vancouver."

Kind of comparing applies to oranges.

Toronto is much larger in surface area than Vancouver.

Vancouver had the opportunity to return to a ward system, but it was defeated.

Also kind of hypocritical in regards to political parties, since Vancouver has had a NDP affliated political organization for decades (COPE, Vancouver's Civic NDP an NDP constitutional subset which didn't last very long, Vision Vancouver, and who could not forget the so-called "Civic Independents" which
starred Mike Harcourt, Ron Johnson, etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous said...

big deal,now where that lot more you have to say on the basi virk sudden dismissal or are you blowing smoke.heard you on nw why would you even go there?they sure tamed your ass .

10:35 AM PDT

Chill out, do a bit of research on Bill T's promise. Yes its the 26th today. He said he would be post it here, at 24 hour and the Tyee, and voila!

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2010/10/26/HungOutToDry/


and oh look, Bill's posted it here now....

Anonymous said...

"This is borne out by the reverse results in right of Republican Alberta where they elected a non-reich winger Muslim mayor in the cradle of the Harperite Christian Taliban heartland. "

Religion obviously didn't have much to do with Nenshi's election.

Seems the poster is too much wound up on things he doesn't have much understanding about.

If he thinks he does, a few weeks in Northern Pakistan within the Taliban will certainly wake him up.

If that doesn't do it, he should live in an oppressive Afghanistan
should the Taliban return to govern there and be critical of them.

He wouldn't last two weeks.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Bill,I'm an ass hole at times,this is 10:35 eating crow man it taste like shit.

kootcoot said...

AnonoMouth at 2:07 sez:

"Seems the poster is too much wound up on things he doesn't have much understanding about."

It is clear you don't even understand my comment. Harper and his Xtian Right is much more like the Taliban than the Muslim mayor of Calgary. All Muslims ARE NOT fundamentalists anymore than all Christians are radical fundamentalists.

My point was folks are pissed off everywhere and in Alberta you pretty much have to go left to voice you disatisfaction as it is almost impossible to get to the right of the current government unless you are a complete fascist!

Anonymous said...

"It is clear you don't even understand my comment. Harper and his Xtian Right is much more like the Taliban than the Muslim mayor of Calgary. All Muslims ARE NOT fundamentalists anymore than all Christians are radical fundamentalists. "

When then don't compare the two. VanderZalm for example is a devout Catholic but he hardly represents all Christians.

You're way off base in comparing Harper with the Taliban. Was VanderZalm with his insisting of his personal views when he was Premier? Making up his own fiefdoms? Not at all.


My point was folks are pissed off everywhere and in Alberta you pretty much have to go left to voice you disatisfaction as it is almost impossible to get to the right of the current government unless you are a complete fascist!"

Once you're finished slapping yourself with both hands, sit down and think things through, and if you want change things by getting involved with the NDP.

Coming up with silly comments isn't going to change things.

Watchman said...

It will be interesting to see how long it take the new Mayor of TO to do a nose dive.