John Tory, in his role as mayor of Toronto, is a failure.
This is a man with no good ideas, no vision and no drive to give this city it’s place among the greatest cities in the world.
He is the do nothing mayor, the “scale-it-back” mayor and now, with his recent kowtowing to Doug Ford about getting a Etobicoke stadium named after his late brother Rob, the spineless mayor.
I am reminded of a Simpsons episode where their slimy Mayor Quimby, while running for office, proposes to name a new freeway the “Matlock Expressway” just to get the senior vote (in the 90s seniors apparently were really into the tv show Matlock). The case of a Rob Ford Stadium is even more ridiculous than the Simpsons because at least Matlock the character didn’t smoke crack, didn’t have involvement with gang members, wasn’t stripped of his mayoral powers part way through his term, wasn’t rumoured to assault his wife and wasn’t the laughing stock of the world (literally, I was travelling extensively during his term and I heard about it).
This is our weak mayor giving that portion of people who wrongly believe the Fords are a force for good something to get their votes in 2018, no matter that it’s the wrong thing to do.
Speaking of wrong things to do, and blatant buying of votes, let’s turn to the one-stop Scarborough subway extension. This extension is going to cost the people of this city $3.35 billion as of last estimate and, in its current iteration will only provide service to 7,400 people at peak hours. Many Scarborough residents aren’t even aware of what kind of service they will be getting for the amount of money being spent on this. A properly built LRT service would have cost significantly less and would provided double the capacity than we are projected to need. It would have allowed us to build more transit in this city with the savings. This is the man who ran in 2014 as savvy, competent, fiscal conservative. There is no way that anyone with those credentials could justify the Scarborough subway extension in its current form.
There is also no way to justify the his vision for the Gardiner east. It will cost over $1 billion to maintain an intrusive downtown highway in an age when most cities are getting rid of them. It boggles the mind.
I’m also left dumbfounded at his execution of his SmartTrack plan to build express rail into current commuter rail corridors. Holding onto this election promise at all costs means we may even get stations that will cause less to people to use transit than before. He just wants to build it because he made a promise to do so during his 2014 campaign and is afraid of looking like he can’t get things done even if those things are extremely costly and provide not substantial benefit to the citizens of this city. He’s full of half baked ideas.
Think of the Rail Deck park proposal to build a park over the rail lands just west of downtown. We still have no details as to when and how this will be built. It’s a great idea that I feel will never come to fruition because even though John Tory says it will get built, I don’t think he has the guts to actually fight to get this thing built. It’s not for no reason that the timelines for this thing are far into the future. It means he can make election promises about it without having to be accountable.
The candidates for the 2018 election are slim pickings so far with only John Tory and Doug Ford (barf!) confirmed to run at this time.
Toronto is one of the greatest places to live in the world. In all my travels I have never seen anywhere else that compares to it in diversity, tolerance and for the most part quality of life. There are some major challenges on the horizon that will test this city like never before. We need more transit downtown, we need to solve the affordability crisis in housing, we need to ensure the outer suburbs offer the same opportunities and services as the core of the city. This will come at a cost and will require doing what’s right instead of what’s the most opportunistic. John Tory isn’t up to the job.
We need someone new. We need someone that is willing to be more than just a caretaker pandering to the moneyed elites. I hope that person appears.