It is sadly more and more likely that Toronto next Minor will be one of the Bullies Brothers, George Smitherman or Rob Ford. If it is Ford, nothing good or bad will happen in the next 4 years. The situation will be probably like the pre-Metropolitan Toronto Act times with the Mayor in the role of the inefficient Board and the Council in the role of the annoying Municipalities. The Mayor will announce big projects that the Council will systematically reject. Ford will probably be able to cut some impopular taxes like the vehicle registration tax. He should be able to slightly diminish the number of people working for the city. Some Community and Arts & Culture projects will suffer from 4 years of Fordism, but not to the nightmarish extent that is depicted by the Smithermaniac propaganda. Overall Ford is a nice guy and he actually listens to people. That worked well for him within his ward, but a councillor has not much to decide. He listens and reports. Being His Worship is a different story. The job will be "bigger than anything he had tried before" as Big Daddy Gardiner once said. Maybe Rob Ford secretly dreams of being the new Big Daddy. But Gardiner was a hard worker, working twelve hours a day, weekends included. During his nine years as chairman, he only took two summer vacations and four mid-winter holidays. Ford doesn't have this kind of energy. And let's face it, he doesn't have Gardiner extraordinary abilities. Not even close. How about George Smitherman. He, however, openly dreams of being the new Fred Gardiner. He clearly said so at his May 28, 2010 Fundraiser Luncheon. He has the balls clearly. Looks like he has the energy. Concerning his intelligence, the truth is that his remaining opponents are so dull that it makes him look smart by comparison. It is probably a relief for him that Rossi dropped out because face to face with the guy who didn't have Bocce Balls but a Pallone Da Calcio Brain, Smitherman brightness dangerously faltered. So Big Bully has the guts, at least some of the head, but does he have the soul? Does anybody knows what George Smitherman stands for? Does he know it himself? Does he care? He began his political career as an organizer for the Ontario Liberal Party and Premier David Peterson. He was chief of staff to Hugh O'Neil and senior advisor to Herb Gray and David Collenette. He was chief of staff and campaign manager to Barbara Hall. In the 1999 provincial election he became MPP for Toronto Centre-Rosedale. Funny thing is that he won because he ran against two left-wing candidates (including John Sewell). It is probably where he learnt that the left has a majority in Toronto but is so weak, so hesitant and so easily manipulated that it is almost funny. On October 23, 2003. Smitherman was named to cabinet as Minister of Health, Deputy Premier and the Toronto Regional Minister. On June 20, 2008, Smitherman was shuffled to the new Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure. He is a hard core, center right liberal, good friend with Dalton Mc Guinty or Michael Bryant who is hosting fundraisers for his Mayoral campaign. He is the epitome of the Board Member, you know these guys that run all type of institutions in Toronto, from Big Businesses to Theatres or Art Galleries and basically do nothing but parade from cocktail to opening night. Much like his mentor David Peterson on the board of YBM Magnex, a firm which was discovered to have links to the Russian mafia. Investigation found that Peterson's actions met "the legal test of due diligence", but expressed disappointment that he had not shown more leadership on the board. A story which resonate with the way Slither Man handled the eHealth controversy. George's successor David Caplan resigned as Minister in 2009 to take responsibility for mistakes that were made. Not the kind of thing Slicky Bully does. This background is far from making him the Che Guevara of Toronto's progressive majority. However, making good use of his bullying and manipulation skills, with the help of the Liberal King Maker In Chief a.k.a the Toronto Star and a bunch of young Bully-The-Kids making smart use of the Internet and social medias to launch a large scale Rob Ford Is The Devil And Will Eat Your Kids campaign he managed to tailor-design for himself the costume of the go-to candidate for a Left desperately looking for a leader and ready to clinging to anything that is apparently affloat on this ocean of disconnect that is today's Toronto. It is not the first time that Big Bully finds common ground with a certain kind of left which opinion is represented by -say- half of the articles written in the NOW magasine (that is two or three pages). This left is all about Environment, Biking, Arts & Culture (including Graffiti) and the abominable notion of Diversity. What does Diversity means? Is it related to biodiversity. In which case it would mean that different cultures represent different forms of life with their own particular DNA. Behind its progressive mask, Diversity is a revival of racism, encouraging every culture to live independently from the others. Encouraging immigrants not to learn English and not to abide by Canadian values -such as no wrapping a women in drapes or no bringing your sword to class - deprive them of finding their full place in the City. It is also a sneakier form of racism. There is no name calling, no insults, no bullying. But with people conveniently segregated in their own community, it is easier not to be around them. The result? Monochromatic schools, some purely asians, some purely 'brown' and, of course a lot purely white. Same thing with businesses. I have a friend who is an extremely competent lawyer. But he is black. He cannot find a job in Bay Street. He has offers in Brampton. Not the same kind of revenue though. How about City Workers? How many immigrants from Asia are working in Police? Firemen? Construction workers? The entourage of Diversitherman himself is dangerously WASP of the Board Member specie, think David Peterson, Dalton Mc Guinty, Michael Bryant, Christopher Peloso, Bruce Davis. Environment and the Arts are important issues for the left, but let's face it, they are secondary issues. What the left primary concern should be is that everyone live as good a life as possible, physically, materially and socially. Therefore the primary concern of the left should be giving access to health care, increasing minimum wage, promoting equal opportunity employment, promoting work security, promoting a healthy life style, planting trees, reconstructing the social fabric, promoting community initiatives and -especially in Toronto where the situation is catastrophic- reclaiming the public space, halting the construction of high-rises exclusively dedicated to luxury residences, hotels and condos that are slowly transforming Toronto into Mississauga and instead building museums, gyms, pools, hockey rinks, stadiums, community centres, library and workplaces. Obviously these concerns are not the concerns of Smith&Wesson and the Liberals who are the first to enjoy hiring slave workers for their companies, slave ushers for their theatres and slave nannies for their houses paid $10 an hour or less. George Smitherman, the Liberal Party, and the Toronto Star want to strike a deadly blow to the NDP before the Provincial Election and reclaim Toronto that has been a thorn in their side. Miller was far from being the best Mayor of Toronto and the NDP with its lack of courage, its hesitations, its dullness -well embodied by a Joe Mihevc- is far from being a source of hope. However anything will be better than the liberal taking again control of Toronto. Especially these liberals. Especially since they are also controlling the Province. Anything will be better, including, I think, having Rob Ford as a Mayor. Not only Toronto won't suffer that much, but also it will create the condition for an earthquake among the left that could lead to the rise of a new political figure in four years. Someone who will bring real hope, not a fear monger. Someone who have a vision not strategies. Someone who will be a Mayor, not a Minor. Someone who will be Toronto next Fred Gardiner. A Gardiner with his heart on the Left.
Out of the 7 dwarfs who campaigned to be elected Minor of Toronto, only 4 remain. Grumpy, Doc, Bashful and Dopey. Grumpy, with the help of the creatures of the Burbs, set the tone for the campaign. He would stop the gravy train that was threatening to open a deficit hole in the magic kingdom. He would cut everything that was growing in the revenue forest. And with nobody remaining to serve the public and no money left in the treasure, he would singlehandedly -with the help of his giant flagpole carrier Mammoliti- provide an Excellent Customer Service to the good car driving, football playing and barbecue eating citizens of Toronto. This plateform was so bad that Doc and Dopey immediately copied it. Meanwhile, Bashful the Gardener clenched his tiny fists and proclaimed as loud as he could -that is whispered- to anyone who would listen to him -that is no-one- that he -unlike the others- will protect the beautiful garden built by King Miller, will jump to the throat of the Evil Step Province and make it regurgitate the stolen gold. This show could be quite enjoyable if it was not another bitter taste of our future. Once again, Toronto is at the avant garde of the world's devolution. Not because public spending is demonized while corporate mismanagement, waste and corruption is easily forgiven. This is not new and already applies in most of the so-called developed world. However, another brick in the wall that is being built in our ever tightening public space is the constant reference to customer service. As Josh Hume wrote, we're apparently a city of customers now. Not citizens, residents or even taxpayers, but customers, entitled to a dollar for dollar return on our tax investment. According to Roger Keil, the nomenclature is a symptom of a decade long shift in the contract between government and citizens. The idea of public service, public ownership and public control is being turned into its opposite which is the idea that we are all individual nomads roaming the city in our own self interest. According to Frank Cunningham, thinking of people as customers has the effect of dampening the notion of civic engagement, the idea of working together for the common good. Instead it pits citizens against one another, competing for whatever resources they think the city can provide for them individually. A city without social tissue would only be a giant complex comprising warehouses where human being are stored, hamster wheels where they are used and dairy farms where they are milked. The infrastructure is already available, residential condos providing the warehouses, Bay street suites the hamster wheels and malls the milking units. Moreover this kind of city already exist in some new suburbs where Mc Mansions are built overnight on former farmlands and actually look like units of a factory farm even though their owner are persuaded they bought the winning ticket to upper class bliss. If we don't want to import this kind of livestyle in our beloved Toronto, maybe we should try to behave a little bit more like happy taxpayers, trying to fix as much as possible the inevitable problems that such a huge, diverse and multicultural city is bound to have, but not throwing the baby out with the bath water.