Trouble at Queens Park and Toronto City Hall- Kathy and Johnny- Splitsville?

It looks like the political honeymoon between Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne and newly elected Toronto Mayor John Tory is over. Kaput. Finito.

Kim Kardashian’s short-lived questionable marriage to basketballer Kris Humphries lasted longer.

And this is after John Tory went to the trouble of legally changing his name to John Liberal. In deference to Kathy’s strong political Liberal leanings and the fact that Kathy and her minions had brought their considerable organizational skill and manpower to this relationship, in order for John Liberal to beat back the Ford resurgence.  And win the Toronto election, especially in the inner city.

What went wrong with this May- October relationship? Premier Kathy, the Iron Bell, seemed so sympatico with the former Rogers Cable guy.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Recall in mid-election campaign, Johnny expressed his undying admiration for and devotion to Premier Kathy. Johnny tried to score political points by stressing that unlike his opponent Doug Ford,  he had a friend in Kathy in the Ontario Premier’s office.

Johnny may come across as a bit entitled, a bit dilettantish and certainly spineless

Johnny may come across as a bit entitled, a bit dilettantish and certainly spineless, but his claim to fame is that he is a likeable guy who can get along with all his colleagues. And especially with the powerful Premier Kathy, who rules the roost at Queens Park.

You may recall that former Mayor Ford’s relationship with Premier Kathy, was dead on arrival, from the get go.

The reasons are numerous.

Their personalities and ideologies clashed horribly.

Ford was a straight-shooting, street smart governmentphobe and taxaphobe, who believed the best government is one which governs least. Ford also had some serious personal control issues. And he pointedly avoided the Pride Festival and everything gay.

Premier Kathy is an openly gay,  bleeding heart liberal school trustee/mediator/community organizer type, who believes government is the panacea, regardless of costs. She has no clue how the private sector and business operate. And she couldn’t care less. Her modus operandi is to create jobs by using borrowed government funds to bribe companies to stay in Ontario, at ruinous costs to the Ontario taxpayers and the companies themselves.

Ford and Kathy clearly had different value systems. Ford really respected taxpayers’ dollars. His original campaign in 2010 was based on stopping the gravy train at City Hall and cutting unnecessary waste to the tune of $800 million to a billion dollars.

Premier Kathy was part of a government that blew blithely billions of taxpayers’ dollars on corrupt and crazy schemes ( eHealth, Ornge, OLG, gas plant cancellations, MaRS) without remorse or an errant eyelash.

Ford also had the unfortunate habit of undiplomatically reminding Premier Kathy that she should get her own deficit-ridden, spendthrift government in order before she tried to interfere with his more cost-conscious and cost-effective administration.

So when John Liberal came a courting Premier Kathy early in the mayoral campaign, the Premier helped staff up Johnny’s campaign with her loyal senior advisers. Anything to get rid of the boorish Ford brothers.

I think Johnny was more interested in tapping Kathy’s government revenues, than her friendship

In retrospect, I think Johnny’s intentions with Kathy were less than noble.

I think Johnny was more interested in tapping Kathy’s government revenues, than her friendship.

The issue came to a head between these two love birds around the time of Johnny’s first budget.

As I predicted, ( together with many right thinking pundits) Johnny is just another tax and spend liberal hiding in Bay Street Blue threads.

Contrary to his campaign promises, our new Mayor has raised TTC fares and imposed additional hidden fees on Ontario residents for water and garbage pickup services and a whole host of user fees.

Instead of holding the line at City Hall, he has increased salaries for councilors, their office budgets and he has increased his own office budget by a whopping 50% over the previous mayor, well over $2.2 million annually. He is quickly heading to David Miller country, a previous spendthrift mayor who was practically run out of town for his profligate spending policies.

Johnny has also designated more money for young children riding the TTC,  additional buses, the homeless and for affordable housing. Which is all fine and dandy if there were sufficient funds in the city’s coffers.

But guess what? There ain’t, Jack.

There seems to be a big fat gaping hole of about $86 million, unsupported by proposed tax revenues or ancillary revenues. I estimate that this hole is well over $100 million and probably heading to $200 million territory.

So Johnny boy, we got a problem.

Mayor Johnny was hoping that he could sweet talk Premier Kathy into waiving certain funds owed by the City to the province, about $80-90 million.

And Johnny thought he had a deal.

But Kathy’s henchman Finance Minister Sousa, kiboshed that understanding and instead insisted publicly that there was no such deal or waiver. And instead, the province will lend Johnny boy $100 or 200 million, at market rates ( read usurious rates administered by a heavy-set guy named Cheech)

So what happened to that special relationship you had with the Premier, Johnny boy?

The fact is that the City of Toronto does not have a revenue problem, it still has a spending problem. It is spending more than it can afford.

If Doug Ford was the mayor, unlike the spineless Johnny, he would be looking very carefully to the overpaid and overstaffed police, emergency and fire prevention services.

Do we really need police knocking back double and triple over time for supervising condo construction projects or highway infrastructure projects and earning well over $100Gs per man for work that could be more cost-effectively outsourced to private security forces?

We could easily save $12 million to $15 million per year in outsourcing and privatizing garbage services in the east.

But John Boy seems to have deep sixed that idea for fear of offending his profligate lefty friends on council.

We have too many Toronto public schools, with little enrollment, that should have been closed years ago and the surplus land sold off to developers and the revenues used to repair and maintain our aging public housing stock.

There are many other revenue generating and cost-saving ideas. But the current mayor is a spineless political dilettante who has been promoted well beyond his competence and we are stuck with him for another four years as he runs around glad handing and being likeable, but ultimately totally ineffective and ineffectual.

Newly Elected Toronto Mayor John Tory Predictably Breaks Campaign Promises and Veers to the Left

Remember during the many mayoral debates during the almost year long Toronto mayoral campaign, John Tory courageously promised that if elected,  he would raise TTC fares.

You do?  I seem to recall just the opposite.In practically every debate, Tory channeled former US President George Bush ( the father, not his invading Iraqi son); as if to say, “Read my lips, no new taxes- TTC fares will be frozen”

Tory also promised that he would be fiscally prudent as his predecessor, Mayor Rob Ford, “but without the circus”.

In other words, unlike Ford, Tory would be honest, principled and run an administration with integrity and transparency.

Recall in the first critical publicly televised debate among the main competitors: Rob Ford, Olivia Chow and John Tory;  John Tory scored his strongest points by hammering Chow on her support of retaining city unionized garbage services in the east end of the city.

In that April 2014 debate, Tory impressively cited that the privatization of garbage to the west, had yielded savings of about $11 million annually, or $44 million over four years. As a result, Tory, if elected mayor, as Ford, was in favor of privatizing garbage services in the east of the city, at considerable savings.Well, fast forward about 9 months. January, 2015. Within about two months of being elected Toronto mayor, Tory unveiled his first city budget.

And guess what?

Contrary to figuratively swearing on a stack of bibles, Tory reversed himself and instead supported the raising of TTC fares.  Then in a failed effort to hoodwink the Toronto public, Tory tried to distract his breaking a major campaign pledge, but offering free TTC travel to young children, 12 years and younger. At a further loss of $7 million in revenue from Toronto’s coffers.

Whenever slimy politicians are in trouble, lack firm policies or want to distract the public, they play the “kids” card.

As in, “Think of the children”. Or “We are only doing this for the children”. Or “What will our children think of us in the future”. And other such political garbage.

Then Tory committed another blatant lie. Tory, the scion of old and established Rosedale family, Mr. Civic Virtue-Mr. Decent- Mr. All Around Nice Guy brazenly explained that,  “ he was shocked, really shocked when he looked at the TTC books for the first time, he realized that things were worse than he had believed, and that the only way to cover the repair costs and improve TTC service was to increase TTC fares. And by the way, this is all the fault of Mayor Ford’s previous crash and burn policies”

John Tory was a candidate for Toronto mayor twice. He was head of a group called Civic Action which spent a ton of time researching the costs of Toronto transit and the revenue tools needed to improve the TTC. Tory was a news radio host who dealt with the TTC and its problems, on a regular basis.

In short, Tory knew all about the ins and outs of the TTC and the costs to maintain the system and improve it.

Poor citizens of Gotham, if you believe Tory’s malarkey, I have some very cheap environmentally suspect lands by the Toronto waterfront- for sale.

Recall when Mayor Ford was accused of lying about his drug use and alcoholism, he was mercilessly hounded by the tv media and print press for months and months.

When John Tory blatantly lies about his lack of knowledge of TTC costs and finances, there is surprisingly very little major criticism of Tory’s cynical about face- from the mainstream media,  including the right wing press- National Post and Toronto Sun.

Nada. Zero.

How shameful! How hypocritical!

Furthermore,  I seem to recall during the said election campaign, that Tory never explicitly stated he would increase user fees to raise much needed revenues.

But lo and behold, in his first budget, Tory and his partners in tax increase crime, quietly slipped in some serious increases of user fees relating to use of water in Toronto homes and the use of city facilities, i.e .hockey rinks.

And don’t forget Tory raised the fees relating to garbage pickup services.

Did you know the City of Toronto has more than 3,000 different types of user charges, ranging from TTC fares and admissions to the Toronto Zoo to fees for fitness classes at municipal recreation centres?

The city collects about $1.67-billion in user fees and $1.5-billion in rates for things such as water and garbage collection. Revenue from user fees and rate programs amounts to 28 per cent of the city’s revenue take, compared with 34 per cent for property taxes.

No wonder Tory can say with a straight face that he will keep property tax increases around the rate of inflation. Because he is less transparently raising a whack of dough through user fees!

Speaking about privatizing garbage collection, which was one of the central planks of Tory’s campaign,- as I predicted during the mayoral campaign, Tory has caved to the pro union lefty councilors on city council and has shelved privatizing garbage collection on the east side.
Another lie and serious broken campaign promise.

No wonder Toronto voters cannot trust their elected representatives. They promise what we want to hear during an election. Yet once elected, they bob, weave and back track.

Well, at least, our new mayor,  the lying, left-leaning political hack, has shown his true colors.

Toronto’s Mayoral Election- Gaffes, Bloopers and Sex, Lies and Brisket

This crazy ten month long election is finally coming to an end, folks.

It is has been a wild roller coaster ride.

Full of lying, cheating and dirty tricks.

And I am just talking about the Toronto press.

Who can forget when Mayor Rob Ford, temporarily left the race,  and voluntarily checked himself into rehab- in an effort to clean up his drug and alcohol problem.  Ford and his family begged the press and the public for a little bit of privacy.

That lasted for a millisecond. The press shredded doctor/patient confidentiality and Ford’s privacy rights as a patient.  The tabloid press tracked down and disclosed Ford’s private rehab clinic in an effort to access Ford’s condition and his treatment.

This was not one of Toronto media’s finest hours.

But all the three major candidates had their low points, missteps and politically tone deaf moments.

Captain Obvious Award goes to Olivia Chow

The Captain Obvious Award goes to Olivia Chow. In response to an online reader’s question as to how she, Chow, would be different from former leftist Toronto mayor, David Miller, Chow gave this snarky answer , “I’m not male. Not white. Want to start there?

The leftwing press conveniently ignored this incredible political faux pas. Could you imagine if either Ford or Tory , when asked how they differed from Olivia Chow, responded, “I’m not a chick. And I’m not yellow. Want to start there?”A veritable public shite storm would have come down hard on these two white dudes.

Recall the time when Chow’s high profile Liberal supporter Warren Kinsella, and director of her war room operations, was criticized for implying Tory’s Smart Track was segregationistbecause its proposed route did not stop in certain Toronto black areas. ( note this comment was inflammatory, but pretty funny and biting, nonetheless)

You could say Tory’s “SegregationistTrack”, was the anti-underground railway. (double pun, intended. LOL)

Chow did not help her credibility when she pretended that the very experienced Kinsella and a key campaign official,  was just one of her many thousands of volunteers. “Warren Kinsella, who?” In effect, Chow threw herself under the bus along with poor Kinsella.

John Tory’s “foot in the mouth” disease

John Tory also suffered from “foot in the mouth” disease.

“Out of touch” Tory’s solution to solving inequality between men and women in the workplace, was for more women to join exclusive golf clubs like The Rosedale Golf Club ( Tory’s club). Recall this club was known for specifically banning Jews as members. And for decades, this male-dominated club was not too thrilled with women members either.  Fore- more years. Old chap.

Also Tory’s solution of reducing urban gridlock with more water taxis in Lake Ontario, sank faster than the Titanic.

Clearly, Tory was appealing to his base- the members of the exclusive Royal Canadian Yacht Club ( RCYC), who demanded speedier passage to and from the mainland, especially during the rush cocktail hour.

In contrast, Doug Ford, ran a nearly flawless campaign. No videos at “The Steak Queen”, jiving and rappin like some Jamaican home boy.

Ford’s only slip up, was that he inelegantly defended himself by stating that he had many Jewish friends.

Doug Ford, should have more accurately replied,

“Nu,  I am very sensitive to the Jewish people. You know my wife’s Bubbie and Zaidie are Jewish. Oy, the stories, my Karla can tell about them. They were such mensches and funny.  You would plotz. And her Bubbie made the best brisket and Lokshen Kugel ( noodle pudding). She was a real Balabusta” ( wife of an important person).

In summary, the only thing missing in this very long, strange and compelling election race was a sex scandal. Alas, no sex tape, no embarrassing sex-texting. Not even a wardrobe malfunction.

But it has been a great ride.

Four More Years.

Why Doug Ford Will Beat John Tory, aka, “John Liberal”

It is the Scarborough subway, stupid.

For a brief moment, I thought of ending this article, right here and now.  Samuel Beckett-style.  Simple, elegant, concise, but profound.

Less is more.But I am more from the Norman Mailer school of personal journalism.

Go big, or go home.

Let me expand on my simple thesis.

The most assured, clear and non-gridlocked road to victory in this mayoral election was through the suburbs of Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke.

And the major issue on the minds of these residents, especially the long-suffering, transit-challenged residents of Scarborough- was not homelessness, affordable housing, or subsidized daycare- but simply-  subways.

Olivia Chow, self-acclaimed defender of the disadvantaged, the weak and the vulnerable- never got it.

Tory’s platform was not visionary or original. Actually it was derivative. Ford-lite

On Day One of her campaign, when Chow came out opposed to the Scarborough subway and for a third rate bus/LRT system for Scarberians, she insulted and disrespected the hard working families and residents of Scarborough.

As a result, she and her campaign were D.O.A.  Chow’s fate was sealed.

On the other hand, at the outset, John Tory started solidly. His main pitch was that with Tory, you get Rob Ford’s popular fiscally prudent policies ( ie low taxes, respect for the taxpayer, reduce government inefficiencies- ie end unionized garbage services in the east end), but without the drama and the circus.

Okay, Tory’s platform was not visionary or original. Actually it was derivative. Ford-lite.  Quite Bland.

But as the Toronto Sun Lorrie Goldstein recently opined, recalling the immortal words of Tory’s very successful boss, former Premier Brampton Bill Davis, “ Bland works.”

I would respond to my good friend, Lorrie G., ( channeling former Vice Presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen to the hapless Dan Quayle),

“Mr. Tory, I served with Bill Davis. I knew Bill Davis. Bill Davis was a friend of mine. Mr. Tory, you’re no Bill Davis.”

And even if John Tory was the reincarnation of the folksy, charming, funny, circumlocutious Brampton Billy, the 80s Bill Davis would be the wrong person for these times.  As Chow, resorting to her radical NDP 80s schtick,  (soaking the rich with more taxes on condos/homes and affordable housing for politically connected NDP “needy families”) has shown.

I believe that if John Tory had stayed the course, that is, kept to the Ford agenda, he would not be on the brink of his sixth political defeat.

I must admit that I do admire Mr. Tory. He has a genius for discovering different and creative ways of snatching defeat from the oh so close jaws of victory.

In this election, he did not self-destruct with one fatal blow to the head ( a la public funding of faith-based private schools, say hello to Sharia High).

This time Tory saw his lead bleed away as a result of a series of self-administered cuts to his platform and his character.

Firstly, Tory only paid lip service to the Scarborough subway, which had the overwhelming support of Scarborough residents and their provincial and federal representatives. Instead Tory turned to his attention, as Miller and Smitherman had before him, to a fourth Toronto subway line, a Toronto relief line.

Then Tory focused his transit efforts on his “Smart Track”, which may help downtown Toronto commuters, but significantly ignores the wishes of Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke residents, the heart and soul of Toronto, who believe they deserve the same transit benefits that their more affluent and politically connected neighbors enjoy in downtown Toronto.

By failing to fully buy into the transit needs and wishes of Scarborough residents and their suburban neighbors, Tory allowed Rob Ford and then Doug Ford, the opportunity to rightfully claim to speak for the interests of these suburban residents. And the opportunity for Rob, then Doug Ford to hold onto his suburban base.

Secondly, “Mr. Bland/ Mr. Nice Guy” was neither, when on the day Doug Ford announced that Rob Ford was withdrawing as a mayoral candidate due to cancer and he, Doug, was replacing him in the race, John Tory launched into a down and dirty low class blistering attack of Doug Ford. This was a blatant effort to frame Doug as a mean and angry bully who was critical of his fellow councilors and Premier Wynne and would be much much worse than Rob Ford.

To Doug’s credit, in an emotional speech to the press with the Ford family surrounding him, Doug ignored Tory’s inappropriate taunts, and handled the whole matter with class, restraint, genuine emotion and diplomacy.

Here was a case of Tory shooting himself in the foot and framing himself as a below the belt political hack.

On another occasion, Tory tarnished his Mr. Clean character by implying Doug Ford was racist, sexist and homophobic,  because Doug Ford inelegantly defended himself by stating that he had Jewish friends.

I would take that answer over the fact John Tory joined an exclusive Toronto golf club that specifically banned Jews as members.

So it is my turn to ask my friendly Toronto Sun editor, Lorrie Goldstein, “What is the story, Mr. Lorrie?”

Thirdly,  in a desperate attempt to distinguish himself from Doug Ford, John Tory has seemingly literally and figuratively prostrated himself before Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne and her acolytes. In an unseemly attempt to ingratiate himself and seek her support and the support of her Liberal Cabinet Ministers.

What the majority of Toronto voters do not want is that their mayor becoming Premier Wynne’s handmaiden

So that John Tory, aka now John Liberal, can claim that he alone can get along with the powerful Wynne.

Yes, Premier Wynne is head of a majority government. But she is also running a government that is still arrogant, heavily in debt and in deficit. And awash in old and new scandals. “MaRS, we have a problem.” And very unpopular.

Many Toronto voters have fled John Liberal because they oppose his unholy and subservient association with the scandal-ridden Wynne government. Other Toronto voters are turned off Mr. Liberal because they believe that a popularly elected Toronto mayor with a clear mandate from Ontario’s largest city, (the engine of the province),  should be treated with respect, regardless of political stripe or ideology.

They don’t appreciate their mayor, or potential mayor,  genuflecting to the Sun Goddess Wynne.

What the majority of Toronto voters do not want is that their mayor becoming Premier Wynne’s handmaiden.

For the above reasons, the hapless Mr. Liberal will go down to a crushing but historic sixth defeat at the hands of Doug Ford.

Doug Ford Will Beat John Tory in Toronto Mayor Race

There are fewer than ten days left in this long, brutal, but very exciting ten month long mayoral campaign.

But contrary to all the pundits on both sides of the political spectrum, I believe the stars are aligning for Doug Ford to beat the frontrunner John Tory. And hand John Tory his well-deserved sixth career political defeat.

Could you imagine the heads of all the leftist anti-Ford haters- exploding in the downtown head offices of the CBC, CTV, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail and NOW Magazine?Shades of downtown Baghdad. But I digress.

The so-called political experts of the leftist media had been hyping and promoting for months their favorite son, their White Knight-  Olivia Chow to replace the controversial Mayor Rob Ford.

Until much to their chagrin and astonishment, they discovered that Olivia Chow’s insurmountable lead, had vanished over the summer. Like Justin Trudeau’s credibility over ISIS.

Faster than you can say publicly- subsidized Hazelburn co-op meets illegal Chinatown rub and tug parlor

And all of a sudden, in September, Chow was tied for second with Rob Ford with John Tory leading.

Then faster than you can say publicly- subsidized Hazelburn co-op meets illegal Chinatown rub and tug parlor, Chow further dropped to third place- first behind Rob Ford and then Doug Ford who replaced his brother on the ballot.

Overnight, the populist Rob Ford, with the personal issues, was replaced by his more solid, but less charismatic and seemingly less popular Doug Ford.Once again, the pro Chow political pundits, had hoped that this new development would be a political game changer for Chow.

But alas, the pundits were proven wrong again.

Doug Ford, who was initially written off, as an unpleasant and mean bully, has run a surprisingly very effective and disciplined campaign.

Who would have thunk?

Successfully labeled Tory as a downtown, out of touch self-entitled Rosedale Golf Club Wasp elitist

In the numerous debates against Chow and Tory, Ford has handled himself well. He has a better knowledge of the issues and the inner workings of council than his two opponents. Ford has been firm, but charming. Argumentative, but personable. He has thoroughly manhandled the outclassed, inarticulate Chow. And Ford has successfully labeled Tory as a downtown, out of touch self-entitled Rosedale Golf Club Wasp elitist, solely propped up by old family money and family connections.

Doug Ford has kept to the winning message of respect for the taxpayers. Keeping taxes low. Building the Scarborough subway. And subways in general. Finding government efficiencies, ie privatizing garbage services east of Yonge Street. And promoting business and jobs in Toronto.

It is true, on occasion, Ford has taken a shot at his fellow Toronto city councilors. Recently, he was criticized for calling them “a pack of wolves. “  Personally, to be compared to those 44 spendthrift, free-loading Toronto politicos- is an insult to wolves.

They’re more like a pack of jackals.

Ford Nation, that hardy band of mostly non-white multicultural and multi-ethnic working class communities in the suburbs have stuck with Doug Ford. They are as fired up about Doug Ford as they were with their hero, Rob Ford,  who always had their back.

I believe the more disciplined, clean-living and buttoned down, Doug Ford, a proven self-made successful business man, has picked up additional support in downtown Toronto- Chow and Tory Country.

Surprisingly, Doug seems to generally enjoy campaigning among the people.

Contrast a smiling Doug surrounded by laughing Ford voters with an unsmiling, driven Chow who always seems to be on a forced Mao-like march through the city.

A recent Forum Research poll still has Doug Ford, at 33% within striking distance of Tory at 39%. With Chow at 23%.

This is Doug Ford’s likely path to victory.

Notwithstanding the Forum Research poll, my own internal polling has Ford a few points closer.

Firstly, all Ford opponents agree that polling probably underestimates Ford’s strength due to a reluctance of certain Ford supporters to publicly support Ford even with pollsters.

Secondly, Ford is well positioned in second. If Ford was tied with Tory, anti-Ford Chow supporters would leave their favored candidate and hold their noses and vote Tory to stop Ford.

Since Tory is apparently solidly in the lead, there will be fewer strategic voting by Chow supporters.

Thirdly, I also believe that Chow has a strong ground game and should bring out to vote on election day, more supporters than the polls have estimated. Thus taking more voters away from Tory.

Conversely, I believe that Tory’s support is a mile wide, but an inch deep.

Bland, inoffensive Tory does not command the same fierce loyalty as Ford Nation supporters.

I think some Tory supporters, out of apathy-  will stay home.

So it comes down to Ford’s supporters especially in the vote-rich communities of Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough.

I believe that these steadfast Ford supporters are mad as hell about how Rob and now Doug have been treated by the elitist press and the downtown elites. These communities are also mad as hell as to how they have been mistreated and ignored by these very same elitists. They love the Fords.  They believe only Doug Ford can represent their interests at city hall.

I predict that these suburbanites are going to come out in such numbers for Ford as to blow away Tory and his elitist cabal of special downtown Toronto interests.

We shall see history made on October 27th, folks.

This election will be epic!!!

Toronto Globe’s Antipathy Towards the Fords Has Tainted Its Coverage of Olivia Chow, John Tory

I have been reading the Toronto Globe and Mail, religiously, for over 40 years.

At one time, the Globe was considered very highly as Canada’s national paper, “The New York Times (NYT) of the North”.

Note this was during the golden newspaper years of “The Pentagon Papers” and “Watergate” when the Washington Post and NYT were the “go to” media for objective, unbiased reporting and analytical and critical commentary.And the Globe was not far behind.

But today, the Globe- a mere shadow of its former glory.

I must confess. I still enjoy reading some Globe’s columnists. Liz Renzetti’s Saturday column is always sharp and funny. Ian Brown still writes beautifully.

Margaret Wente still impresses me with her courageous anti-liberal writing. And Liam Lacey’s film reviews are consistently bang on.

I also miss the excellent political reporting of Karen Howlett, former Queen’s Park senior reporter, who was always tough, but fair and never pulled any punches- with any politician regardless of political or ideological background.

But the same cannot be said for the current crop of Globe urban reporters and columnists- especially those involved with the almost year long Toronto mayoral election.

Globe’s professionalism

Okay. I get it. The Globe and its staff were so turned off by the personal problems of Mayor Rob Ford ( the crack smoking, the alcoholism, the inappropriate language while inebriated) that it parked its journalistic integrity at the door, when it came to reporting on Rob Ford.

I do not agree with this position. It reflects badly on the Globe’s professionalism.

But what I further do not understand is why has the Globe failed to hold to account the other candidates- Olivia Chow and John Tory.

From practically the moment Chow entered the race in March, 2014, her campaign was in trouble.

Although Chow had name recognition and was known as popular Jack Layton’s spouse, Chow also carried a ton of political baggage. She was feared as an extreme “tax and spend” lefty, way to the left of David Miller and closer to the scary John Sewell.

Many Toronto voters had never forgiven her for living in a subsidized three bedroom co-op unit while her family income exceeded $120, 000. Chow also had a negative reputation for having one of the highest office and personal expense budgets of all Ontario federal politicians.

Right out of the box, she insulted and alienated a majority of the Toronto voters in the vote-rich suburbs of Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough with her proposal to terminate the very popular and fully funded Scarborough subway for a third-rate bus and LRT solution.

Her first debate was a disaster. She was clearly defeated by Rob Ford. Chow came across in that debate as inarticulate, uninformed, confused and unintelligent.

I believe that Chow never recovered from that disastrous performance and her campaign went downhill from there.

But as to the Globe reporters, they ignored all of Chow’s negative baggage and they ignored her poor debating style,  her uninspiring speeches and her unpopular policies.

Instead, it appeared the Globe reporters and analysts tried to prop up Chow for months with biased and uncritical “puff” pieces as indicated herein. (Here, Here, and Here)

It took the Globe about 7 months (September, 2014) to publicly admit that Chow’s election was in serious trouble.

But consistent with its anti-Ford bias, the Globe then turned to propping up and implicitly promoting John Tory, by once again failing to do its journalistic job and critically holding Tory to account.

For example, the Globe failed to take Tory to task for his classless personal attack on Doug Ford on the very day Doug announced that his brother Rob had cancer, was withdrawing and Doug was taking his place in the campaign.

Secondly, the Globe failed to properly call into question the gaps in John Tory’s business career- ie his many years of being on the board of directors of Charter Communications which went into bankruptcy.

The Globe also failed to question how John Tory with very little media experience could be hired as CEO of Rogers Media by family friend, Ted Rogers.

Recall Ted Rogers was first a lawyer at the firm founded by John Tory’s father and uncle, Torys. And then Ted Rogers and Rogers Communications became a major client of the same firm.

In this instance, the Globe failed miserably to ask and answer the musical question, “If John Tory’s last name was “Smith”, would John “Smith” have had any business career?”

The Globe’s crack investigative team also failed to delve into John Tory’s involvement with Rogers’ publicly disastrous “negative option billing scheme, during Tory’s time at Rogers Media.

In a Toronto Region Board of Trade debate, Tory had the chutzpah to deny that he was at Rogers when negative option billing was introduced.

In fact, I recall Tory was hired in 1995, one month after this negative option billing policy was introduced at Rogers Cable. And I remember distinctly that John Tory was given the task of managing consumer opposition to this Rogers’ policy, where consumers were additionally billed for services to which they had not consented.

Instead of critically analyzing Tory’s business career, the Globe instead hit a new journalistic low with its recent so-called expose of Doug Ford’s business experience at his family firm, Deco Labels.

Crack investigative journalist Robyn Doolittle, ( remember her from the Rob Ford crack video expose) thought she made a journalistic scoop by revealing that Doug Ford’s attempt to set up New Jersey branch met with failure.

Conversely, she proved that Doug Ford was a superior businessman to Tory, because Doolittle’s article instead revealed that Doug Ford single-handedly turned a non-existent Chicago office into a successful operation, purely as a result of his own efforts.

Ironically, other large Canadian companies, unlike Deco Labels-Chicago- failed to succeed in the United States ( ie Royal Bank, Canadian Tire and Peoples Credit Jewelers, to name a few). So the fact that Deco Labels- New Jersey failed, does not detract from Doug Ford’s success in the tough American market.
In sum, how the mighty Globe has fallen.

The Globe’s failure to hold Fords’ opponents to account during this mayoral election has called into question its journalistic integrity and objectivity.

Time will tell whether the Globe will ever recapture its journalistic reputation.

Five Time Loser John Tory Once Again Snatching Defeat from Jaws of Victory in Toronto Mayoral Race

Once again on the brink of victory, John Tory has falsely accused his main rival, Doug Ford, of being, racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic.”

It looks like déjå vu, all over againIn 2007,  the then Ontario provincial Conservative leader John Tory, ahead in the polls in a provincial campaign.  was cruising to victory. But then Tory, unbeknownst to his closest advisers, decided to pander to the many ethnic and religious groups in Ontario. So Tory then launched into a campaign for the public funding of private faith-based schools.

That horribly, politically bonehead move, lost the provincial Conservatives the election and Tory personally lost in his own bid for a provincial seat in the Ontario legislature.

Fast forward to the Toronto Mayoral campaign of 2014. John Tory, is once again in the lead.

As of a few days ago, Tory was leading his next rival, Doug Ford, (brother of the infamous and outgoing Mayor Rob Ford), by a solid margin of 42 to 28.

But that strong lead seems to have disappeared overnight.

Here is what happened.In a recent mayoral debate,  at a local Toronto Jewish community centre, fringe candidate, Ari Goldkind, who described himself as Jewish,( but not religious), lashed out at rival Doug Ford, running for mayor, for derogatory comments made not by Doug Ford, but by his brother Mayor Rob Ford, about Jewish people.

(Note Mayor Rob Ford had withdrawn from the mayoral race due to illness and had previously apologized for these intemperate remarks, made while heavily inebriated)

The implication was that Doug Ford shared these views and was also anti-Semitic.

For the record, Doug Ford, is a teetotaler, an exemplary family man, a successful businessman and a real straight arrow.  Doug Ford had publicly condemned his brother Rob’s behavior and he had distanced himself from such conduct.

Doug Ford is not racist, anti-Semitic or homophobic. He has never expressed any such comments or acted in any way as to suggest he was deserving of any of these horrible labels.

John Tory knew this.

But John Tory, as in 2007, believed it was necessary to pander to potential voters, outside his natural base of self-satisfied and self-entitled elitist twits- in this case,  the Toronto Jewish, black and gay communities.

In response to being criticized, by association, as an anti-Semite,  Doug Ford’s inelegantly defended himself by suggesting he had lots of Jewish friends and associates.

Unfortunately, this response was met by some booing by the predominantly Jewish crowd.

(As an aside, as a Jewish person, I was disgusted by the response of the predominantly Jewish crowd, which I found offensive, insulting and disrespectful. Especially, since Doug and Rob Ford had in the past stood up for the Jewish community by trying to ban the Jew-hating, anti-Semitic Queers Against Israeli Apartheid group from marching in the publicly-funded annual Gay Pride Parade. )

As reported in the Toronto Sun, John Tory issued a statement after the debate accusing Doug Ford of using “the classic refuge of racists, anti-Semites and homophobes” to defend Mayor Ford’s “inexcusable comments” about Jewish people.

John Tory’s unfair smear against Doug Ford has badly backfired against John Tory.

In response, Doug Ford has taken to the airwaves and the press and has demanded a public apology from John Tory, for calling him such hateful names without any basis or justification.

It seems Doug Ford’s wife is Jewish, and she was deeply offended by Tory’s unfounded accusations against her husband. As was Jeff Silverstein,  (also Jewish) formerly Rob Ford’s director of communications and now Doug Ford’s director of communications.

Mr. Silverstein confirmed that he would not have worked for the Fords if either was anti-Semitic. He confirmed that the Fords deeply cared about the Jewish community as their fight against Queers Against Israeli Apartheid so indicated. Silverstein concluded that Tory’s comment was a really low blow.

And quite ironic, as revealed by Doug Ford, considering that for many years, John Tory was a member of the exclusive Toronto Rosedale Golf Club, which specifically banned Jews as members.

Coincidentally, the latest poll from Forum Research,  a day after Tory’s attack on Doug Ford,  indicates that Doug Ford (37%)  has surged forward and is now in a statistical tie with the faltering John Tory (39%).

It is clear that once again the silver spoon, self-titled ,  swishy Rosedale-bred in the bone,  John Tory, is demonstrating the same poor political judgment, that has plagued him throughout his thirty years of political life.

In short, Tory’s arrogance, stubbornness, and political and public myopia are finally coming to the fore.

Tory’s comments have enraged Doug Ford’s supporters, especially his many supporters in the Jewish and ethnic communities.

Tory’s comments have also accomplished the impossible- turned the hard-driving, tough-talking Doug Ford into a more popular and sympathetic character.

Elections have been won on less.

I predict that Tory’s ill-advised comments against Doug Ford and his refusal to apologize for such comments, may have just cost him the election, less than 3 weeks away.

Mayoral Candidate Olivia Chow’s Disturbing Support for Queers Against Israeli Apartheid

In a recent Toronto mayoral debate,  leading mayoral candidate John Tory reopened the debate about whether the controversial Toronto group, known as Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) should be permitted to march in the very popular annual summer Toronto Pride Parade.

Mr. Tory, to his credit, argued that QuAIA, which promotes a virulent message, should not be permitted to participate in a Pride Parade that is publicly funded by Toronto taxpayers.Mr. Tory also argued that if he was elected Mayor, he would deny public funding to the Pride organization, if the Pride group permitted QuAIA to march in its annual parade.

On the other hand, Ms. Chow in the same debate,  supported QuAIA’s right to protest in a publicly-funded Pride Parade, on the basis that the Toronto City solicitor opined that the use of “Israel Apartheid” was “protected speech” and that the Toronto City Manager Penachetti believed that the participation of QuAIA, did not violate the City of Toronto’s policies against hate and discrimination.

Again, to Tory’s credit, he stated emphatically at the debate, that he believed the city’s position was wrong and such anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish views had no place in a Pride Parade which celebrates human rights, tolerance and inclusivity.

I agree with John Tory’s view and here is why I believe Chow’s support of the anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic QuAIA, is unprincipled, immoral and contrary to Canadian values.

Anti-Israeli Apartheid movement is funded, financed and sponsored by Hamas

The anti-Israeli Apartheid movement is funded, financed and sponsored by Hamas.

According to Hamas’ constitution,  it wishes to kill all Jews and to eliminate Israel from the Middle East. These views are clearly anti-Semitic and hateful.

For Hamas, the anti-Israeli Apartheid movement is an attempt to delegitimize the state of Israel and destroy it diplomatically. Hamas wants to do to Israel diplomatically, what it cannot do, to date, militarily.

Accordingly, the then Federal Liberal leader Ignatieff, labelled the anti-Israeli Apartheid movement as anti-Semitic.

This view has been endorsed by current Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. I also believe that this is the view of Thomas Mulcair,  leader of the federal NDP.

Conservative Prime Minister Harper’s public condemnation of the anti-Israel Apartheid and BDS movements as blatantly anti-Semitic, is also very well known and has been widely reported.

Furthermore, the Ontario Legislature has unanimously condemned Israeli Apartheid week as “odious and unacceptable”.

So we have two levels of government that have condemned the Israeli Apartheid movement.

In the subject debate, Chow argued that her pro-QuAIA position was based upon her reliance upon expert opinion.

Interestingly, Chow is a bit selective when she relies upon experts. The very same City Manager Pennachetti in the past issued a major report praising the Scarborough subway extension, which Chow chose to ignore, because such a report undermined her pro Scarborough bus and LRT view.

It seems once again, Chow is hiding behind selective experts’ opinions and is refusing to take a principled and moral stand.

The Canadian federal government (together with US, Britain and the EU) has also publicly maintained that the anti-Israeli Apartheid movement, which singles out Israel ( while ignoring the human rights abuses of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Iran etc) is more than mere opposition to Israeli government policies, but is in fact Jew hatred and hence anti-Semitism.

This is a view also held by a majority of the members of the Ontario legislature.

In view of these facts, Chow appears on shaky moral ground to support QuAIA’s right to march in a publicly-funded parade.

John Tory stated that he respected the right of QuAIA to protest , but it can protest anywhere it wants, just not in a Toronto taxpayer and publicly-funded Pride Parade.

Another point Chow should consider is that Hamas, the key backer and beneficiary of the anti-Israeli Apartheid movement – kills, tortures and discriminates against the Gazan LGBT ( lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender) community.

Contrast that with the fair and equal treatment of the LGBT community in Israel.

So why is Chow putting herself on the same side of Hamas, which kills, tortures and discriminates against the Gazan LGBT community?

Since the Pride Parade is about tolerance, the celebration of the LGBT community and inclusivity, why does Chow not take the position that the anti-Israeli QuAIA ( which many Jewish and non Jewish Torontonians believe to be a hateful, Jew-hating, anti-Semitic organization) has no place in the Pride Parade?

By Chow failing to take a clear and principled stand against the anti-Semitism of QuAIA, Olivia Chow risks being tarred with the same toxic brush.

Leftist Mayoral Candidate Olivia Chow Endorses Radical Muslim Terrorist Sympathizer for School Board

This very strange Toronto city election took another bizarre twist when Olivia Chow, former New Democratic Party Member of Parliament—and now running to replace the current mayor Rob Ford—came out publicly in favour of Ausma Malik, a very well-known local Toronto Radical Muslim terrorist sympathizer.

In a tweet seen throughout Toronto, and possibly celebrated in Hezbollah’s terrorists’ camps in Syria, Chow tweeted,“En route to office opening for @m_layton,@joe_cressy +@ausmalik. Great candidates that share my values for a caring, better city. #TOpoli”

Mike Layton,  (former NDP leader Jack Layton’s son and Chow’s stepson ) is running for re-election for Toronto city councilor in the Trinity-Spadina ward. Joe Cressy, a former long time assistant to Chow, is running for election in the other councilor position in the same ward.

And last but not least, Ausma Malik is sharing the same campaign office with Layton and Cressy, and is apparently running on the NDP ticket for Toronto district school board (TDSB) trustee in the same Trinity-Spadina school district.

Note, Trinity–Spadina is the same district or federal riding, which Ms. Chow represented for many years as a federal member of the leftist socialist New Democratic Party.

Clearly they are all one big, tight, happy family.

In response to the public endorsement by her stepson and sitting councilor Mike Layton and a few other leftist Toronto councilors, including candidate for school board trustee Ausma Malik, seen in this photo, Chow tweeted, (referring also to Malik)

“Strong candidates w/strong values+ track records:@joe_cressy @ausmalik @ maritstile.Thx for the support#TOpoli”

So who is this Ausma Malik, with the strong track record and strong values, which Chow clearly shares?

Well, firstly, Malik’s credentials as a radical Muslim terrorist supporter and sympathizer are impeccable.

In June 2006, Malik (then a University of Toronto student leader) organized and chaired a forum at University of Toronto, for impressionable Muslim youth called, “On Our Own Terms: Muslim Youth Speak Out”.

One of the first orders of business of this forum was to show support and raise money for 18 local Toronto radical Muslim men who had been recently charged at that time with terrorism for allegedly conspiring to blow up the Toronto Stock Exchange, raid the Canadian Parliament Buildings and behead then Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Apparently these radical Muslim men had been training in the woods north of Toronto and had ordered and received what they thought to be three metric tons of fertilizer to make bombs when they were apprehended by Canadian security forces who had been watching this group for months.

In 2009 the radical Muslim ringleader of the Toronto 18 and Mississauga resident Zakaria Amara pleaded guilty to terrorism charges and he together with several of his co-conspirators were convicted of terrorism.

Recall this is 2006-  eight years before the deadly radical Muslim terrorist group,  ISIS,  began killing, torturing and terrorizing Muslim and non-Muslim communities in Iraq and Syria and engaging in public beheadings.

That’s a real nice bunch of people you support, Ms. Malik.

In addition, back in July, 2006, Ms. Malik, as student leader, spoke at a pro Hezbollah rally in Toronto covered by the Globe and Mail.

Recall at that time, in 2006,  the radical Muslim terrorist group Hezbollah had kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and had launched missiles from Lebanon at Israeli border towns.  Israel then retaliated by bombing Hezbollah missile sites and camps and sending in Israeli troops to attack Hezbollah’s military bases.

At the pro Hezbollah rally, Malik, in support of Hezbollah’s actions, called Israel’s actions “state-sanctioned murder”.

At the same rally, the Globe reported that the demonstrators cheered when it was announced that Hezbollah had killed 22 Israeli soldiers who were fighting in southern Lebanon.

Apparently, Malik and her Hezbollah supporters did not care that Canada, the United States, The European Union, Britain, Australia and Israel had labeled Hezbollah a terrorist organization and considered it a Jew-hating anti-Semitic international jihadist organization bent on the destruction of Israel and the removal of all Jews from the Middle East.

Lastly, in 2007, Malik took part in a report on the problems Muslim students faced in Ontario colleges and universities. As reported in The Toronto Star,  Malik helped write a report which decried the lack of appropriate food choices and prayer space, and condemned the inflexible academic policies that were at odds with (Islamic) religious obligations (ie separate classes for men and women)

In other words, Malik wished to impose Sharia law- compliant practices on Ontario’s secular educational system.

So to recap, Ausma Malik, running for Toronto District School Board trustee, is an admitted supporter, fund-raiser and sympathizer of local radical Muslim terrorism. She is also an enthusiastic supporter of Hezbollah- a Jew-hating,  anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli terrorist group.

And Ms. Malik would like to bring in or impose Sharia-type religious and educational practices in Ontario schools?

So, Ms. Chow, are you still sure you whole-heartedly support these “great values” of Ms. Malik?

And is this the type of person you want running our Toronto school system and influencing our children?

John Tory’s Campaign Rocked by Sudden Entry of Doug Ford for Toronto Mayor

About a week ago, it appeared that John Tory, leading in the race for Toronto mayor, was finally going to bury his political reputation as a five time loser.

(Campaign manager for PC leader Kim Campbell’s disastrous 1993 federal Tory campaign; loser to David Miller in Toronto mayoral race of 2003; loser to Kathleen Wynne in 2007 Ontario provincial election- Don Valley West riding;  loser to Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty as Ontario Tory leader in same election; and loser in a 2009 Ontario provincial by-election for long-held Conservative provincial seat of Kawartha Lakes- Haliburton- Brock)

At that time, a Nanos poll of decided voters had Tory firmly in the lead with 42% and Rob Ford (28%) and Olivia Chow (26%), both campaigns apparently stalled .

A subsequent September 8, Forum Research poll had Tory at 40%, Rob Ford at 28% and Chow dropping further to 21%.

Then this crazy race took a turn to the truly bizarre. And John Tory’s path to victory is now-  not so certain.

On Wednesday, September 10, Rob Ford checked himself into the hospital complaining of severe stomach pains.

By Friday, September 12, it was clear that Rob Ford may be suffering from life-threatening cancer. As a result, Rob Ford withdrew from the mayor al race and was replaced by his brother and his campaign manager, Doug Ford.

Forum Research conducted a snap poll that same day. And contrary to the pundits, revealed some surprising results.

Doug Ford was breathing down Tory’s neck

Tory’s support had increased to 41%, but now Doug Ford was breathing down Tory’s neck at 34%, just 7 points behind. And Chow had fallen further behind at 19%.

As with Rob Ford, Doug Ford’s support is with lower income residents, men and suburbanites.

As I expected,  80% of Ford Nation which supported Rob Ford will support Doug Ford.

Doug Ford leads among those residents earning between $20,000-60,000, Toronto’s heartland.

Also he is more competitive than Rob Ford, in the suburbs: Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough.

John Tory should be afraid. He should be very afraid.

To date Tory’s campaign, though well-managed and well-funded, has been quite lackluster.

Tory has primarily campaigned on the basis that he is fiscally as responsible as Rob Ford, but without the drama and questionable behavior.
Accordingly, many Toronto voters, who liked Rob Ford’s fiscal policies, but were personally offended by Rob Ford’s personal issues, parked their votes with Tory.

With the arrival of Doug Ford on the scene, a straight-laced family man, teetotaler and tough fiscal conservative- Toronto voters have another choice other than John Tory and the socially conscious Olivia Chow.

John Tory has a sorry political history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory ( public funding of faith-based private schools)  with some of the worst political instincts in Canadian political history (recall his negative advertising of Jean Chretien’s partially paralyzed face during the Kim Campbell campaign debacle).

On Friday, as Doug Ford, the Ford family and Ford supporters were still reeling from news that Rob Ford had withdrawn from the mayoral race and was potentially suffering life-threatening cancer, John Tory exhibited his signature political tone deafness of which he is infamous.

Instead of just wishing Rob Ford a speedy recovery, Tory decided to take this opportunity to attack Doug Ford for being divisive and for probably being a much worse mayor than Rob Ford. Tory’s diatribe was shameful and low.  Hitting Doug Ford,  a man who is down and grieving for the health of his brother whom he truly loves.  Tory demonstrated a true lack of class. With this performance, Tory came across as a hard, self-entitled, insensitive twit.

So much for John Tory’s alleged likeability factor.

In contrast, Doug Ford, that same Friday night,  spoke movingly of his brother’s condition and that he, Doug,  had decided, reluctantly at the request of his brother,  to take up the torch of his brother and continue his brother’s fight. Doug Ford, was thoughtful, emotional,  warm, compassionate, humbled, diplomatic and subdued.

Contrary to the pundits, he did not lash out against John Tory’s earlier criticism.

Doug Ford is smart, disciplined, charitable, generous and a caring family man.

I fully suspect that in the next six weeks of the campaign, Toronto voters will become familiar with these positive qualities of Doug Ford.

Doug Ford will be a formidable opponent to John Tory.

And this exciting race ain’t over yet, folks!