Thanks and no thanks, Toronto

It’s doubtful during Thanksgiving any of us expressed heartfelt gratitude for our current election race in Toronto.

But there are reasons we should be happy with the current campaign. Yes, it’s gone on too long and, yes, the mudslinging has been vicious at times and, no, none of the major candidates have really explained to our satisfaction how they will accomplish the schemes outlined in their platforms.

But, to address that last concern, this seldom happens during any campaign. Afterwards the new mayor and councillors have to work together with city staff to come up with practical plans that may end up bearing only passing resemblances to their election promises.

We should stop calling them “promises” altogether. They’re ideas. Hopes. Ambitions. At this point in the process we have to judge the candidates on whether we like their ideas, on their credentials in making ideas reality and on their ability to build consensus to achieve any of their ambitions.

In the mayoral race, we’re fortunate to have distinct choices. People commonly put down all candidates, but this is a superficial critique. We discern three very different dreams for Toronto from Olivia Chow, Doug Ford and John Tory. And they have varying levels of experience and political capability by which they may be further judged.

This diversity is reflected in several of the ward races. For this we can be thankful.

Not so great, however, is the likelihood that the mayor and some councillors will be elected with less than 50 percent of the vote from their constituencies. A certain mayoral candidate could win with 40 percent of voters sharing his views and up to 60 percent — a majority — absolutely detesting him. For this we cannot be thankful.

Premier Kathleen Wynne is suggesting a ranked ballot for the next municipal elections to help us avoid this eventuality.

We may thank her for it in 2018.

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Posted: Oct 17 2014 6:39 pm
Filed in: Editorial  VIEWS
Edition: Toronto