Niaz Salimi *
In the past four years torontonians suffered from false promises, inadequate performances,racist and sexist remarks, erratic behaviors, and most likely illegal activities all happening at heart of their city or to be more exact at the City Hall. The very man who ran on the promise of stopping the “Gravy Train” turned the municipal performance into a train wreck and, as many indicated, the City Hall into a cirques Tent. He claimed to be promoting our city and he did but as an international laughing stock. Many still remember his appearance at Jimmy Kimmel show where the first questioned asked by the host was: why are you dressed as a cirques clown.
Being lucky to live in a Western democracy, we, the frustrated residents of Toronto, are counting this man’s days in the office and looking forward to the day, October 27, 2014, which will mark the end of an embarrassing and scandalous period in our recent history.
However, we should remember, removing this man from the office is just part of the solution. This time, and specially this time, we all need to be vigilant about who we offer our city’s golden key to. This time we need to look hard and deep into the picture and not to be easily fooled by whoever hands us the easy candy, no matter how desperate we are.
So, let’s have a quick look at the five heavy weights in the mayoral race:
– David Soknaki is a former city Councillor and budget chief, also known as a conservative with small “c” who wants to end the partisan politics at the City Hall and promises to work with Councillors from any political background. He also supports LRT plan in Scarborough over Ford’s idea of Subway extension. Despite the “c” word, this guy sound harmless.
– John Tory is a one time loser mayoral candidate, in 2003 when David Miller won the race, and the former leader of Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. John promises to make the downtown Subway relief line his priority and also making Toronto a more liveable and affordable city without raising taxes. My advice to you, be aware of any shades of blue.
– Karen Stintz who entered the race for the Mayor of Toronto in February 2014 is a Toronto City Councillor, Ward 16 Eglinton – Lawrence, and a former Transit Commission Chair.(For someone who travels by TTC almost everyday, that title alone is enough to freeze the ink in my pen). However, Karen, who is from the Center – right of the political spectrum, also promises to focus on building a downtown relief Subway line and see into the renovation of Gardiner Express way.
– Rob Ford loves his chair and is not shy about public demonstration of that love at all. What can I tell you? After four years of inflicting shame and pain to the mind and lives of Torontonians the man has the audacity to chose a campaign slogan that calls for “Ford more years”. Be scared. Be very scared.
– Olivia Chow is a former Toronto city Councillor from 1991-2005. Since then she joined federal politics with her late husband Jack Layton as a New Democratic Party member of Parliament from which she resigned on March 12 of this year to enter the mayoral race. She is the only prominent left-winged candidate thus far and in my opinion the best alternative to Rob Ford. Although she hasn’t announced her detailed platform yet, she made clear that her focus is not on Subway extension but to increase the bus services by at least 10% for immediate results. She has also hinted that she will go after more federal investment in infrastructure.
Olivia Chow already has a very desirable portfolio and a balance combination of professional experience, in the City and the Parliament both, and proven personal qualities that has been missing from the City Hall for years. All that is left is for Olivia, who kick started her campaign as of April 6th, to discuss her plans in more details while clarifying her financial resources to the public. She needs to acknowledge people’s concern about another broke City Hall as in the time of David Miller. She also need to give some assurance to her supporters that she will have some control over the excessive demands and influence of union bosses at the City Hall.
So, Ms. Chow, do this and do that and you are good to go.