Wednesday 20 October 2010

Vote for Toronto's next mayor: Monday, October 25, 2010

The following articles were previously published in Oye Times! and not part of this blog. Considering election day is so close, I thought I would reprint them here to recap the campaign.

Rob Ford: Toronto's Next Mayor - September 21, 2010

Rob Ford: Wait! He's not a shoo-in? - September 28, 2010

Toronto's Mayoral Race: the final 2 weeks - October 12, 2010

Rocco Rossi drops out of Toronto's mayoral race leaving only Rob Ford, George Smitherman and Joe Pantalone - October 14, 2010

Is Ford's Weight An Issue? - October 17, 2010


Wikipedia: Toronto mayoral election,_2010

City of Toronto: Election


Rob Ford: Toronto's Next Mayor
Oye Times! - September 21, 2010

A new poll conducted by Nanos Research for the Globe and Mail, CTV and CP24, shows Rob Ford with a 24 point lead over his closest rival effectively putting him so far out in front, he is almost assuredly going to be Toronto's next mayor. 45.6 per cent of those polled who are "decided voters", those who have already decided who they will vote for, have said they will vote for Ford. This number is more than twice the number of Ford's nearest rival, George Smitherman who has 21.3 per cent of the decided voters.

Pollster Nik Nanos was quoted on CTV as saying that a lead of this magnitude will make it difficult if not impossible for another candidate to win. "What really has to happen is for Rob Ford to make a mistake or some sensational thing to come on the stage that would disrupt the Ford campaign so to speak." Mr. Nanos was further quoted, “As of today, this election is about Rob Ford and whether he has what it takes to be mayor. This changes the dynamic significantly.”

The ranking of the candidates according to the poll is as follows:
  • Rob Ford -- 45.8 per cent
  • Ex-deputy premier George Smitherman -- 21.3 per cent
  • Deputy mayor Joe Pantalone -- 16.8 per cent
  • Former Liberal insider Rocco Rossi -- 9.7 per cent
  • Business leader Sarah Thomson -- 6.4 per cent
Where does all this support for Ford come from? According to several news sources, the analysts are talking about Ford's calls to rein in spending at city hall have "resonated" with the voters. The public perceives things are amiss in Toronto's leadership and Ford is the man to take the helm and get the city back on course. Unfortunately, while these word bites sound good to voters, it remains to be seen whether Ford has the ability to do what he says he's going to do. Talking on the sidelines is not the same as taking the helm. If steering a boat was that simple, we would all be captains.

Ford's first major shot at campaign promises involved his plan for Toronto's transit. Releasing a video on YouTube, Ford explained how he would scrap the current plans for LTR and move ahead with the development of new subway lines. The unfortunate part of this plan is that a subway costs over 3 times as much as an equivalent LTR and in this time of economic hardship, just where will the money come from?

The other part of his plan is to replace downtown streetcars with buses. Streetcars carry more passengers than buses and produce less pollution. But on top of this, there are current orders for new streetcars. To cancel such orders, Toronto would have to pay penalties and all this money would just go to waste.

The voters like Ford's message. Who wouldn't want to rein in perceived bad spending? Unfortunately, steering a boat or steering Toronto is not easy and certainly not something which can be accomplished with buzz phrases which "resonate" with the public. At the end of the day, good leadership founded on fiscal responsibility and a strategic vision with the reality of economic reasonableness will be needed. If we all vote Ford into office, let us all hope he is actually up to the job. If not, we will all pay dearly for our mistake.


Nanos Research

Poll: Ford holds commanding lead in Toronto Mayoral race
Globe & Mail/CTV/CP 24/Nanos Poll 21.09.10 PDF

YouTube: Rob Ford's Transportation Plan

The Globe and Mail - Sep 10/2010
Mayoral candidates sketch out fantasy schemes for Toronto’s transit dilemmas

official site: Rob Ford for Mayor

YouTube: Old Spice commercial <-- absolutely hilarious!!!

YouTube: Rob Ford parody
An amusing parody is based on the Old Spice commercial


Rob Ford: Wait! He's not a shoo in?
Oye Times! - September 28, 2010

On September 21, 2010, a poll conducted by Nanons Research gave Rob Ford as 24 point lead over George Smitherman, his closest rival. (see: Rob Ford: Toronto's Next Mayor, Oye Times, Sept 21/2010)

In a surprise turn of events, a new poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid shows the gap between Ford and his rivals to have dramatically shrunk. This poll shows Ford at 28% while Smitherman is at 23%, just a 5 point spread down from the 24 points reported just 2 weeks ago.

Some analysts have stated that these new results could be the result of the efforts of the other candidates to send out the message of "anyone but Ford". Nevertheless, voting day could see just about anything at this stage of the game since Toronto's municipal elections usually have a low voter turnout. Apparently only 40% of Torontonians bothered to cast a ballet in 2006.

Going from a coronation for Rob Ford to a neck and neck race with George Smitherman, the mayoral campaign was humorously explained by pollster John Wright. He described the key political differences between the 2 frontrunners by referring to this past weekend's sports event: “Ford was angry about the road closures for Sunday’s Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Smitherman ran in it.” - Actually, Mr. Smitherman only ran in the five kilometre race but the point is nevertheless well taken.

Therein lies a key difference between the 2 men. While Ford has articulated over and over again a message for the "average person" of cut waste and reduce spending, the analysts say that Ford seems to fail to grasp that things are not quite as simple as Ford pretends. The message may have resonated with the voters but once behind the wheel, Ford may find himself in for a surprise in trying to enact all the supposed fixes he claims to have for what ails Toronto. - As an aside my wife reminded me of this past weekend: Rob Ford is rich; he's a millionaire. Being a spokesman for the "average guy" seems a bit of a contradiction.

Monday, September 27: Rob Ford's Saving Our City Plan
Ford has released a video explaining his financial plan for the city. (Oye Times: article by Tapa Menon and video) Once again, there are lot of great talking points but do the numbers add up? While cutting city council in half seems like a great cost-cutting measure, Ford turns around and promises to drop the land transfer tax and the vehicle registration tax. This may be catchy for grabbing voters, but with those 2 taxes clocking it at $250 million per year, just where in the heck does Ford propose to find the money? That is a huge chunk of change which must be a least equalled elsewhere in terms of cuts.

In the coming days, newspapers and pundits will be analysing Ford's plan. We will see what the future holds for us. As I said in my last article:

If we all vote Ford into office, let us all hope he is actually up to the job. If not, we will all pay dearly for our mistake.


Ipsos Canada: With a Month to Go, It’s Shaping Up to Be a Horserace for Toronto Mayor
Unfortunately, you seem to need a subscription to see the actual poll. Nevertheless, the "overview" states that Ford is ranked at 28% while Smitherman is 23%.

official web site: Rob Ford

official web site: George Smitherman

official web site: Sara Thomson

official web site: Joe Pantalone

official web site: Rocco Rossi

video: Rob Ford's Saving Our City Plan


Toronto's Mayoral Race: the final 2 weeks
Oye Times! - October 12, 2010

Here we are at the final two weeks of campaigning before we cast our ballots for the next mayor of Toronto. Who's it going to be? The race is changing constantly.

As reported on September 21, Rob Ford: Toronto's Next Mayor a poll by Nanos Research pegged Ford at 46% and Smitherman his next closest rival at 21%. At that moment, it looked like the race was going to be a landslide.

On September 28, we reported in the article Rob Ford: Wait! He's not a shoo-in? that a new poll by Ipsos-Reid had Ford at 28% and Smitherman at 23%.

On that same day, Sarah Thomson dropped out of the race and threw her support behind Smitherman.

October 5 saw Joe Mihevc, city councillor switch his support from Pantalone to Smitherman. Citing Ford's lead, Mihevc felt the time was not ripe for Pantalone and it was far more important to stop Ford. One could well consider this not so much a vote for Smitherman but a vote against Ford; a vote for the anti-Ford movement.

On October 6, 2010, out-going mayor David Miller threw his support behind Joe Pantalone. A good thing, right? Kelly McParland of The National Post pointed out that one of the reasons Rob Ford is out in front is because he has been steadfastly opposed to the spending of the Miller administration. That is, the public is sick of what's been going on while Miller has been in office. Consequently, an endorsement by Miller could in effect backfire for Pantalone in that people will not vote for a candidate who is closely linked to someone they don't like: a vote for Pantalone is a vote for more of the same.

On October 7, former Toronto mayor John Sewell came out to back Smitherman. In doing so, he promised to lead a panel of experts to study how to bring city government closer to city neighbourhoods, to restore transparent, accountable decision-making at City Hall.

On October 11, it was reported that a prominent backer of Rocco Rossi has written a letter to the candidate urging him to drop out of the race because he cannot win. None other than Peter C. Newman, author and journalist has asked Rossi to place the interests of Toronto over his own. Apparently Newman wrote, “We feel certain that you must be as appalled as we are at the prospect of Rob Ford becoming mayor and representing this great city to the world. He is the first dismal evidence of the Tea Party mentality invading Canada. He must be stopped".

As we all celebrate Thanksgiving today in Canada, we need to take a moment and reflect on what happens in 2 weeks and just what we are going to be thankful for on October 11, 2011.


National Post - October 6, 2010
Kelly McParland: Miller support could be kiss of death for Pantalone

Toronto Star - October 11, 2010
Letter urges Rossi to drop out of race


Rocco Rossi drops out of Toronto's mayoral race leaving only Rob Ford, George Smitherman and Joe Pantalone
Oye Times! - October 14, 2010

On Wednesday, October 13, 2010, Rocco Rossi has dropped out of Toronto's mayoral race leaving only 3 contenders: Rob Ford, George Smitherman and Joe Pantalone. On the same day, a new poll by Ipso-Reid puts Smitherman slightly out in front over Ford. Using the analogy of a horse race, Ipsos-Reid is certainly predicting a neck to neck battle for the mayor's seat during this remaining week and a half before Election Day.

This latest poll shows:
  • George Smitherman: 31%
  • Rob Ford: 30%
  • Joe Pantalone: 11%
  • Rocco Rossi: 4%
The poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Newstalk 1010. The firm found one quarter of voters remain undecided. Amongst those who are committed, Smitherman shows a lead over Ford with 38% saying they would vote for Smitherman and 32% saying they would vote for Ford with 15% committed to Joe Pantalone.

Obviously these numbers may have had an effect on Rossi's decision to drop out. John Wright the president of Ipsos Reid was quoted on the radio as saying, “Mr. Pantalone and Mr. Rossi are really out of the running entirely.”

If this new poll had an effect on Rossi's decision, will it eventually have an effect on Pantalone?

One quarter of voters remain undecided.

Especially in a municipal election where voter turnout traditionally hovers around 40%, “it’s going to come down to who actually energizes the vote to get them out,” Mr. Wright was reported to have said.

When Rossi made his announcement on Wednesday to drop out of the race, the former head of the Ontario Heart and Stroke foundation refused to endorse another candidate.

“Despite my efforts to focus this race around issues and ideas that I feel matter it has become clear that the majority of Torontonians have parked their support with one of two candidates, Mr. Smitherman or Mr. Ford,” Rossi said as reported by CityNews.

He added, "In essence, the choice for mayor is coming down to those who want to stop what Mr. Ford describes as the gravy train, and those who want to stop Mr. Ford."

Rossi has suffered several setbacks this past week with his campaign team losing several staff to George Smitherman, including his former campaign manager Sachin Aggarwal.

Earlier this month, candidate Sarah Thomson also dropped out, but decided to throw her support behind George Smitherman.

The election is on Monday, October 25. Just 11 days remain in the campaign.


Ipsos-Reid - Oct 13/2010:
Heading Down the Back Stretch, It’s a Horserace for Toronto Mayor with Edge to Smitherman

Note: Unfortunately, you seem to need a subscription to see the actual poll but the "headline" shows:

Smitherman (31% +8) and Ford (30% +2) Tied on Topline Vote Preference with Pantalone (11% +1) and Rossi (4% -3) Trailing… But Among those Committed to Go Out and Vote It’s Smitherman (38% +8) Leading Ford (32% +3), Pantalone (15% +1) and Rossi (3% -3)

Toronto, ON – With less than two weeks to go in the race for the mayor’s chair in Toronto, a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of NewsTalk 1010 has revealed that the campaign is a horserace with the edge currently going to George Smitherman over his rival Rob Ford.


Is Ford's Weight an Issue?

On Friday, October 15, 2010 at 7:24pm EST, the Globe and Mail published the following article


Rob Ford's not popular despite being fat. He's popular because of it
Oye Times! - October 17, 2010
Stephen Marche

The mounds of fat that encircle Rob Ford's body like great deflated tires of defeat are truly unprecedented in Canadian politics.

We have had chunky political candidates before, but the front-runner in Toronto's current contest to be mayor is so fat that his belly is invariably the first thing you notice about him.

Yet far from harming his political image, his bulk is the key to his appeal. Neither intelligent nor sympathetic, Mr. Ford offers voters fat. And we want fat. In fat, we see ourselves.

Let no one confuse Rob Ford's obesity with jollity. Every extra pound on Mr. Ford's frame is an extra pound of rage. His angry fat is perfectly of our time.

Fat is the physical manifestation of postindustrial life. It is no coincidence that the obesity crisis in North America has occurred simultaneously with the decline of manufacturing in our cities. The foods that we love to eat originated in a time when the lives of men and women were devoted to manual labour.

In the late 19th century, a typical steel-factory worker in the Northeastern United States poured molten steel for 12 hours a day, six days a week. In such conditions, the major problem wasn't hypertension but consuming enough calories quickly enough to last through an entire shift without wasting break time.

Therefore doughnuts, hamburgers and steak-and-cheese sandwiches. Which we continue to eat sitting behind desks while we process paperwork.

For men trapping fur or working in a lumber camp, poutine makes sense. Not for kids heading to a bar after a hard day's telemarketing.

Whether through the migration to white-collar jobs or through rust-belt unemployment, we have lost the physical labour but we have kept the diet that once sustained it.

Fat is the bodily equivalent of the boarded-up factories in once-industrial powerhouses like Windsor and St. Catharines and Buffalo and Cleveland. Fat in North America is work that is not being done.

Before the advent of television, fat politicians such as Mr. Ford were not such an anomaly. In the early 20th century, the enormous body of U.S. president William Taft could be taken as evidence of a humanizing self-indulgence. Gluttony, after all, is the least vicious of the seven deadly sins. A big gut signified that the president was in the end, despite his status, one of the boys.

For kings, fatness symbolized luxury, particularly the luxury of not doing any manual labour. Henry VIII weighed so much that he was constantly having new suits of armour designed to accommodate his ever-expanding gut, and his coffin broke through the supports at his funeral.

Julius Caesar, in Shakespeare's play of the same name, dislikes Cassius because he is too thin. For Caesar, fat men in power are happy, satisfied, forgiving. Thin men are conniving. He says:

Let me have men about me that are fat/ Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights:/ Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;/ He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.

Television rendered Caesar's advice moot. Once TV had entered our homes and we became preoccupied with how everyone looked, we needed our political leaders trim; it signified efficiency and self-control, which is why jogging remains one of the most widespread clich├ęs of political advertising, for conservatives and liberals alike.

In America, Mike Huckabee, an otherwise unexceptional Republican governor from Arkansas, became a national contender only after he published his polemic against junk food and personal memoir of lifestyle modification called Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork.

Now all of that is changing, at least in Southern Ontario. Mr. Ford doesn't run from his fat or hide it – and why should he? His gut embodies the parts of the city and the country hardest-hit by the changing nature of our economy and the evisceration of manual labour from our society.

His fat is all he has going for him; it makes him look working-class even though he's a drunk-driving, second-generation political dilettante, a man who has never been faced with the financial difficulties of ordinary people. Mr. Ford's body reflects the decline around us better than any story he could tell.

Toronto's current mayor is David Miller, as calm, generous and smart a man as you would want to meet; he achieved nothing in office. The biggest story of his six years was that he managed to lose weight. Newspapers reported on his regimen; the mayor was proud of his accomplishment.

And yet with every pound that he lost, it seemed that he became more and more separated from the reality of the city around him, separated from the lives of people who have to get to their jobs and cook meals. Who can blame voters now for wanting a fat man?

Stephen Marche is a novelist and the culture columnist for Esquire magazine. He lives in Toronto.


Wait a second, is this acceptable? I'm worried about the weight of Rob Ford platform; I'm not particularly interested in the man's physical weight. What exactly does this have to do with the issues surrounding the election of Toronto's next mayor?

This article appeared on the Globe and Mail's web site. Was it actually printed in the newspaper?

I'm assuming that somebody in the editor's office had second thoughts because the article can no longer be found on the Globe and Mail's web site. I got the above copy from Google's cache.

One BC Conservative Blog
Mr. Dean Skoreyko, currently Director and Membership Chair of the BC Conservative Party, was not favourably impressed by the article writing "Just when you think journalism can’t sink any further, Stephen Marche pens this pile."

Various forums are alive with comments about this article and many find this attack on Ford's physique not to be good journalism.

Not the first time
Here's a video from March 2008. It shows Rob Ford berating Globe and Mail columnist John Barber after he apparently referred to Ford as a fat f**k.

[groan] Exchanges like this make everybody look bad and are truly unproductive.

Who is Stephen Marche?
As a novelist, he has published 2 books which has received critical acclaim. As a writer, he pens a monthly column for Esquire magazine and a weekly column in the National Post.

Interestingly enough, the Wikipedia article on Mr. Marche has already been updated with information about the above article and the stir it has caused

Rob Ford Responds

Dear Friend,

As you may have already heard, an article was printed in today’s Globe and Mail that I feel is one of the most vile attacks I’ve ever seen in my ten years in politics.  I’ve had a fair bit of mud thrown at me in this campaign, but I never thought I’d see a reputable paper like the Globe and Mail attack me for my appearance and my weight.

I am absolutely appalled, but not entirely surprised.  These personal attacks are coming because of the success of my campaign.  I expected attacks like this for the simple reason that there are still many people out there who are resistant to the change I want to bring to City Hall.

The entrenched establishment of lobbyists, consultants, and insiders who make their living from the Gravy Train will clearly stop at nothing to prevent me from being Mayor precisely because they know that I’m going to clean up City Hall, put an end to this nonsense, and stop the Gravy Train once and for all.

But I can’t do it without your help.

The election is only nine days away, and I need you, your family, friends, and colleagues all to get out to the polls and vote for the change we need and that only I can deliver.

Advanced polls are open tomorrow from 10 AM to 6 PM all across the city.  I encourage you to get out and vote tomorrow so that you can help get out the vote on Election Day.

On Monday October 25th, I am very confident that the people of Toronto will elect me as their next Mayor because they know I am the only candidate who can go down to City Hall, straighten things out, and stop the Gravy Train.

Thank you for your ongoing support.  Please remember to vote and have your voice heard.

Rob Ford

So, dear reader...
Have we've stooped to a new low? Is the election becoming dirty? Will this final week be marked by more mud-slinging?


Wikipedia: Stephen Marche

Canada Free Press: Conservative Fatsos fair game for Fathead Lefties
by Judi McLead - October 16, 2010
Critical of Stephen Marche and the Globe and Mail


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing your vote is for Ford?