A few days ago, I mentioned that I would consider John Nunziata in the upcoming Toronto mayoral elections. He has since been removed from the list of likely candidates. I am wary of Nunziata’s platform, which looks to be of the cut and slash variety. I especially don’t like his stance on the homeless, which includes the following promises:
- Will “set a target of getting homeless people off the streets and out of other public places within one year of being elected.”
- Will “propose a bylaw to make it unlawful to sleep on streets and other public places in Toronto.”
- Will implement “a centralized computer system [to] keep up-to-date information on those who use shelters and hostels.”
- Will ban pan-handling on city streets.
Keeping the homeless out of sight and out of mind by making homelessness illegal does not solve the problem, even if it is accompanied with a promise to request support funding from the provincial government. I don’t believe in treating the underprivileged and unfortunate as criminals.
I also did not appreciate Nunziata’s attempts to spend a night in a Toronto homeless shelter. This obvious stunt would have cheapened the plight of the homeless. Thankfully, Nunziata was not allowed to hold his sleep-in.
While it’s “goodbye” to John Nunziata, it’s “hello” to John Tory. I previously discounted Tory as a mayoral possibility as he seemed to come from the government-as-business school of thought. I firmly believe that government can’t be treated as a business. Sometimes you have to carry a deficit. Businesses don’t balance their budgets all the time, but for some reason people expect their governments to always do so. I’m not sure where I got the impression that John Tory was a strong proponent of efficiency at all costs. Perhaps it was his past experience with Rogers Cable and Rogers Media Inc. Regardless, his platform doesn’t read that way and so John Tory has been placed on my list of likely candidates.
I like much of what Tory is proposing, especially his plans to confront the provincial and federal governments for proper funding. One statement caught my eye, as it summarises my contempt for other governments’ treatment of Toronto:
“Federal and provincial governments have to stop treating Toronto and other cities like geese that will just keep on laying golden eggs no matter how badly they are treated. Between 10 and 20 billion dollars more are taken out of Toronto in taxes than the city gets back in funding for programs and services. While Torontonians are committed to doing their part for nation and province building, the city has a huge physical and social deficit that must be addressed.
While I appreciate Tory’s vision for a better Toronto, I am none too fond of his focus on crime. This is not to say that I enjoy crime, but I am often wary of politicians who promise to crack down on a problem which has been in decline for years. Money spent on police would be better spent on social services to prevent the increase of a criminal element in the troubled regions of Toronto.
For those who are keeping track, I am considering the following candidates for the mayor of Toronto, in order of current preference:
- David Miller
- John Tory
- Barbara Hall
Stay tuned for more updates as I reduce my selections for the upcoming November municipal elections.