In exactly one year from now, we’ll know if Toronto will have a new mayor or if it’ll be Ford more years.
Oh no, stop rolling your eyes, that latter scenario could easily happen. After all, Ford had an approval rating of 49% on September 23. Now yes, more scandals have popped up since then but really, what are a few more rows on the Rob Ford Incident File? No, I’m firmly convinced that the crack video itself could be found and Ford could still win the 2014 election.
Think about it, right now, who is he up against? There’s David Soknacki, a former councillor out of Scarborough who few people know and Karen Stintz, who would have a better shot if people didn’t know her so well.
Now yes, many more people will declare their candidacy between now and the September 11, 2014, closing date but think about all of the names you’ve heard mentioned and then ask yourself, do any of these people really have the pull to beat Ford?
But what about Olivia Chow, some of you might be thinking right now. She’s going to declare her candidacy, unite downtown progresses with Chinese people who vote along ethic lines and become our new mayor. That’s a nice fantasy (well, not the part about people voting along ethic lines) but that’s all it is because I don’t think Olivia will be able to pull it off. She’s a definitely a smart and capable politician but she’s also a very divisive person who comes with tons of baggage. To many people, “Olivia Chow” means the same thing as “NDP” and “NDP” means the same thing as high taxes and out-of-control spending and there’s no way they’ll be letting that happen.
Whether Chow is for raising taxes or for doing away with them all together is irrelevant for far too many potential voters out there; they feel they already know her and her ideas and they believe that those ideas aren’t in their best interest. Unfortunately, I can actually see Chow’s candidacy helping out Ford’s run.
I also believe that a Chow vs. Ford showdown would result in the nastiest election that this country’s ever seen. And while both sides will get their hands dirty, Chow will come off looking worse, due to our society’s views on woman and power and the fact that the left has a lower tolerance level for dirt than the right does (come on, you know it’s true; hippies hate conflicts while academics like to think they’re above all of that). This nastiest will cause some people not to both voting at all while others will be turned off of Chow and vote for someone else, splitting the vote and helping Ford to win, again.
No, Chow should just say no to running against Ford and instead she should offer support to the one person who I truly think could beat Ford and get this city back on track: Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.
The sitting councillor for Toronto Centre-Rosedale has the type of background that has a wider appeal than Chow’s: She’s a successful businesswoman whose pre-politics life includes real estate, a coffee shop and pulling herself up by her bootstraps. She’s heavily involved in the art word – she still owns a gallery – as well an activist for LGBTQ and Asian Canadian causes. She also doesn’t come with the baggage, or the familiarity, that a lot of other politicians come with meaning that when people first hear her name, they might end up doing a little research on her and her actual positions.
Unfortunately, I don’t believe that Wong-Tam has any mayoral ambitions, at least not in 2014. Which is too bad because her forward-thinking, non-partisan approach to urban issues is exactly what Toronto need right now.
Dammit, we’re getting stuck with Ford more years, aren’t we?