Friday, October 31, 2014

Toronto's municipal elections: the fallout

The city of Toronto is just recovering from a typically nasty, and atypically long, election campaign. We are still languishing in that dazed-and-confused election hangover state.
And while I have no intention of raking over the coals and revisiting all the issues and personality clashes that have been done to death over the last year or so - suffice to say, in my own humble opinion, we did not get the mayor we deserve, but we avoided the mayor that no city deserves - a recent article in the indispensable Globe and Mail has highlighted one specific issue that I find particularly interesting.
Apparently, 37 out of 38 incumbent counsellors were re-elected, with just 7 new councillors providing some modicum of new blood in council debates (one of which presumably being ex-Mayor Rob Ford, who inexplicably waltzed to a landslide victory in Ward 2 without even trying).
Business as usual or what? Granted, the debate will now be taking place under a less divisive and distracting leadership, or at least one would hope so. But it still begs the question as to what extent voters have actually considered the candidates, what it is that that they represent, and their positions on the various issues.
The dispiriting indications are, however, that an awful lot of people just vote with a knee-jerk reaction, checking the name of perhaps the only candidate they have actually heard of. How else to explain the re-election of demonstrably failed politicians such as Rob Ford, Georgio Mammoliti, et al? As to how to explain such a knee-jerk reaction in spite of the negative press such candidates have garnered throughout their incumbency, I am at a complete loss.
All in all, a poor and somewhat depressing reflection on the value of local democracy.

I'm back! Did you miss me?

After some six years of hiatus, I'm thinking I may take up my blog again. Not because I think anyone will read it - that never seemed to be the case, even back in the heyday of the personal blog a few years ago - but more as an exercise in catharsis, a kind of cheap version of therapy. I write for myself, but you are welome to share it.
During my silent years, I have managed to avoid pouring scorn and acrimony on the whole of Rob Ford's mayoralty; Stephen Harper's continued steady erosion of Canadian democracy, environmental integrity and international reputation; wars here, there and seemingly everywhere; and many other matters of local, national and international concern.
But now I'm back, and I plan on contributing my twopenn'orth on issues, both crucial and random, that I come across in the press and in daily life.
I'm sure the world will be a better, and more comprehensible, place for it.