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He was an incompetent mayor and used racial slurs that I found offensive. That is why I never supported him and my disappointment in him had its limits. However, I voted, donated resources and volunteered for Mayor John Tory, and that is why I find the actions of the current mayor and that of his most loyal allies within council even more hurtful.
If it had been your friend or family member demonstrating the same behaviour your first reaction would be to get them help, but our first reaction towards Ford was to want him to lose his job, blackball him from society, and then we laughed some more.
The trouble is that recent years have invigorated the mayor's brand of hyperbole politics. It pays out in spades for those willing to join the bandwagon and echo the "us versus them" chorus. Its cronies transcend party lines; its victims and resisters fade quickly from memory ("not a leader", anyone?). It is the Ford Nation creed. A new, normalized nastiness has imbued the body politic, harshly demarking who is "one of us" and who is to be cast aside. Its candidates bob in the fickle surf of prejudice or fashionable platitudes, instead of wading into their own vision or fair-minded convictions.
Anyone who has been down to the Harbourfront recently knows that Queens Quay is under construction. The streetcar tracks are being replaced and Waterfront Toronto is building a new tree-lined promenade that will be spectacular once complete, but creates traffic chaos in the meantime. Although I expected the construction on Queens Quay, nothing prepared me for the trifecta of traffic interruptions that followed. Traffic was already heavy because it was the season home opener for the Argos. That would have been fine, if the rest of the transportation network had been working.
For months, John Tory has claimed that his number one priority for transit expansion would be a new subway line to relieve pressure on the overcrowded Yonge line. Then he shook his etch-a-sketch and poof, it's gone. Relieving congestion on the Yonge line moves to the back of the bus. Same thing happened with his positions on the Gardiner and the Eglinton Connects.
It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyways. Being a working mother is a never ending balancing act. My children have always had a politician for a mom; I was elected to Toronto's city council before they were born. My chosen career -- and my choice to run for Mayor -- means that my life is, to a certain degree, public.
This being a Municipal Election year in Toronto, and the day before nominations officially open, I found numerous potential Mayoral and Council Candidates doing the rounds inside the Rotunda of Toronto City Hall. Among City Council Wannabes wandering the Rotunda was one Al Gore, declared Mayoral Candidate. Oh really? "Al Gore"?
Ford used his party time on the Danforth to seek the spotlight while posing for countless pictures. He knew all eyes were on him because he was smiling for the attention. He knows the cloud of suspicion that surrounds him is darkening the city's reputation and causing dysfunction within city council. He honestly doesn't even seem to care.
David Miller is one of the more well-known people I have taken out for lunch. It is a bit strange when everyone in the restaurant recognizes the person you are lunching with. But I was lucky enough to get him to sit down with me to chat about the "Future of Cities," and the TTC.