Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hamster for mayor

Toronto's mayoral election is making me sad.  Despite Rob Ford's outrageous buffoonery, ridiculous platform, total failure in office, and constant scandals he is now polling second to John Tory.  The candidate I would really like to vote for, Olivia Chow, is now a smidge behind Ford and might well come out ahead of him but she is highly unlikely to beat Tory for the job.  In the previous election I voted for whoever seemed likely to beat Ford and that failed.  I can't quite decide what I should do this time around.

Ford is the worst.  He is an outrageous bigot and completely incompetent.  There is one advantage to him being in office though, and that is that city council is quite prepared to ignore him and get on with doing whatever it is they want to do.  Tory wouldn't be in that boat at all as he is quite capable of putting on a reasonable show as a leader and keeping things looking respectable.  If you go a little deeper though Tory supports things I really cannot condone such as teaching creationism (specifically Christian creationism, because that is the *real* creationism...) in schools as a real alternative to evolution.  He also has forwarded really terrible ideas about supporting religious schools with public money in the past.  So Tory definitely believes things I don't like at all but unlike Ford he has enough political sense to show up to Pride parades and not go off on anti immigrant rants and such.  He will keep on smiling and saying positive but meaningless pleasantries as politicians are known to do.

So while I think Rob Ford is a disaster I really don't want to vote strategically and have Tory in office.  While it would definitely get Toronto off the comedy show punchline circuit I don't know that Tory as mayor and actually having power is at all better than Ford as mayor and being completely sidelined.  I think in fact that a council that makes decisions collaboratively while the mayor just shakes hands, cuts ribbons, and waves is looking like the best option.  At the moment the only way to achieve that is to get Ford back into office and make sure he has some incredible scandals right away so everyone remembers just why he can't be allowed to do anything important.  Unfortunately if Ford gets in he might avoid public crack smoking for a bit and people would accidentally listen to him.

I suppose what I actually want out of the election is for a hamster to be mayor of Toronto.  It could be carted around to events and do photo ops and would have very little to say in terms of policy.  Everyone could ooh and aah at the cuteness of the little tiny mayor in its cage and although Toronto would be on centre stage of random comedy shows again at least everyone would know that the hamster doesn't harbour deep homophobia towards it constituents.  Though it likely is guilty of xenophobia we can just shrug that off and pretend that its thoughts towards us are as cute as its beady little eyes.

If I was able to write up a ranked ballot for our mayoral election, and hopefully I will next time around, here is what it would look like:

Olivia Chow
John Tory
Rob Ford

Humans suck.


  1. I believe Tory's platform was to even up funding for all religious schools, not just the Catholic ones.

    While I agree that funding any religious school isn't my flavour of budget, I had trouble denying the theory that all religions be treated equally. Either none get funded, which isn't politically viable, or all are.

    I had a suspicion that the real strategy behind the "fund all of them" was to start the conversation so that eventually none are funded. But that could have just been hopeful thinking.

    Politically, it was an awful sell. The electorate does not behave like deep thinkers.

  2. Why does the Hamster bead Olivia Chow again? I'm not clear on that part...


  3. Well, I really like the idea of a city run by people who have to collaborate to make decisions instead of being led by a single individual elected on a platform designed to win a big election. Honestly I am sure Chow would do a fine job as mayor, I am just not sure that the current job of mayor works very well. Hamster has the advantage that it changes what the job of mayor can be.

  4. I think Tory's proposal on religious schools was a big step up from the current system. Tory also did clarity that what he meant by evolution being taught alongside creationism is that it is fine for schools to have classes in both science *and* religion, not that the two things are the same at all. I'm pretty okay with Tory because he actually seems like a pretty reasonable person who doesn't flee from nuance. At the same time he's very rich and very disconnected with non-rich reality (but not in a "screw the poor" kind of way, just in a way that makes me groan sometimes). Politically he's the biggest disaster Canada has ever known (did you know he was Kim Campbell's campaign manager?)

    I'm actually pretty okay with Tory. I think he listens to what people say to him and won't try to run the city with an iron fist. At any rate, I think we're all going to have to get used to the idea of Mayor Tory pretty soon.

  5. Tory clarified that he didn't mean teach creationism in science, yes, but I suspect that was him realizing that he had completely screwed the dog and needed to do damage control. He also specifically called out teaching Christian creationism instead of creationism in general, which isn't at all surprising, but is frustrating nonetheless.

    The fact that he so consistently loses every time he gets involved in politics makes me amazed that he is still in there swinging. Maybe that is to his credit though.

  6. Forget the hamster... vote for a cat! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stubbs_(cat)