Not any more

Posted Toronto Political Panel: Is John Tory really the last hope for mayoral race?

In Canada on August 3, 2010 at 08:41

Posted Toronto ­Political Panel: Is John Tory ­really the last hope for mayoral race?

Tyler Anderson/National Post Files

Tyler Anderson/National Post Files

John Tory lost to Mayor David Miller in 2003, after running a campaign that saw him rise from an underdog candidate to narrowly losing the race.

  August 3, 2010 – 7:30 am

On the theory that there is much to talk about between now and the Oct. 25 municipal election, Posted Toronto has assembled Chris Selley, Anthony Furey and Jonathan Goldsbie to regularly dissect the race. This week, Anthony and Jonathan (Chris is on vacation) ponder whether John Tory really is the last hope for the mayoral race to be shaken up.

Goldsbie At this point in 2003, John Tory was more or less the Rocco Rossi of the election: an entitled, well-connected businessman whom most people hadn’t previously heard of but who was nevertheless attractive to a certain brand of conservative. Seven years and several high-profile gigs later, Tory is a beloved martyr from whom many people are praying for a Second Coming. But he had his chance earlier this year and explicitly and repeatedly declined — then cemented this decision by hosting a daily political talk show and a number of mayoral debates. For him to run now would be unseemly. But, given the unambiguous and overwhelming dissatisfaction with the current candidates, is there another deus ex machina for which we might wish?

Furey While I’m an advocate of Tory entering the race for various reasons I find the idea of him being our golden fleece rather embarrassing — him or anyone else for that matter. What exactly are we expecting out of a candidate? While none of the current slate compares to Churchill, each certainly stands up against the mere mortals Miller, Lastman, Hall, Rowlands, Sewell, Eggleton, etc. We only like Tory because he’s not running. Had Tory entered the race, say, in February, by now people would be saying, ‘Oh that Tory, just out to lose again with more of those ideas that never have purchase.’ Tory is the girl who stands aloof at the back of the party coyly chasing the olive around the bottom of her martini glass with her straw. The mysteriousness adds to the allure, but once you get her home you find out she’s just like the rest of them.

Goldsbie Wow, that’s not sexist at all. Anyway, I notice that your list of past mayors conspicuously stops just short of David Crombie. I think he’s the one we’re all still chasing, and it’s encouraging that Torontonians are not pleased about being asked to settle for less. There’s a desire for Tory to raise this bar, but I fear that in attempting to do so — after having significantly benefited from platforms one only receives if they have no intention of running — he would reveal himself to be as bankrupt as anyone else. And the primary reason that launching a candidacy at this point is even plausible is because he’s the pick of the political establishment, which would quickly furnish him with all necessary resources. If only there were a figure who could just as suddenly assemble a base from the grassroots.

Furey Back up, back up (and especially back up the cheap character shots on me please). You fear that someone attempting to raise the bar will reveal them as morally/politically bankrupt? That’s not what socially liberal, fiscally conservative people like Tory do. They move cautiously. It’s the far left that bemoans the electoral system, posits radical ideas to elevate it and then fails, only to blame outward forces as opposed to looking within. Perhaps people are afraid that Tory will present a few moderate and stables ideas to make this city better and that they might actually work.

Goldsbie No, no, I’m saying that after having taken advantage of so many things that were contingent on him not running, for him to change his mind at this point would suggest he is devoid of what is ostensibly his best quality: integrity. And as to my original question at the top, I’m guessing your answer is no.

Furey There is no golden fleece. Although for someone complaining so much you seem to have few ideas (please refer to previous post). Despite being content with the current roster, here are a few people I think would spruce up the debate, for better or worse: Steve Paikin, Olivia Chow and Heather Reisman.

National Post

  • Anthony Furey writes for various publications and at www.fureyonpolitics.com
  • Jonathan Goldsbie used to be an activist who did journalism on the side, but is now trying things the other way around. Follow him at twitter.com/goldsbie

Posted in: City Hall, Posted Toronto 

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