After incumbent mayor David Miller's selling the city out to the unions, and a left-leaning council wasting money on special interest projects, Torontonians are mad as hell and they aren't going to take it any more.
In the comments section of a Toronto Star online article about Rob Ford, one reader said that short of Rob Ford's committing a murder, he would take him over the other candidates who represent the usual condescending and wasteful political approach. I think for a lot of Torontonians, given the disaster of the last few years of municipal politics, depending on the victim, some people might even forgive Ford for murder.
Toronto mayoral candidate George Smitherman, who has seen his front-runner status early in the election plunge to an 11 point deficit to Rob Ford, appears desperate to recast himself as a fiscally conservative cost-cutter.
In essence, he wants to convince the public he's Rob Ford, but in a form that is more palatable to his perception of the electorate.
Do do this, Smitherman will have to overcome some significant obstacles.
The one billion dollar eHealth waste of taxpayer dollars that occurred on his watch as provincial Minister of Health not being the least of these.
Another is his intimate association with the provincial government of Dalton McGuinty, which is widely perceived to be dishonest and likely to make promises during a campaign which it breaks once in office.
Rob Ford has been very consistent at being Rob Ford over the last 10 years. Smitherman will need more than the 7 weeks until the election to convince a sceptical public of his radical conversion.
I don't buy it, but here is what George just sent out in his latest email:
Today I made an announcement that is crucial to my vision of Toronto – a vision of a livable city, a city that moves, a city where people can find jobs and where City Hall actually works. To ensure this vision becomes reality, I am making fiscal credibility job one. I have the experience to make tough – but fair – choices, and I will.
I have pledged to freeze property taxes and hiring for a year, and to freeze new spending while I lead City Council in a 100-day line-by-line review of the City’s capital and operating budgets. It will be back to basics at City Hall.
I will launch a war on waste and non-essential spending. That’s the only way City Hall can provide the high-quality, essential services people deserve. Because this is Job One, I will take on the role of Budget Chief, leading the 100 days of decision process myself.
Everyone at City Hall will get the message: “Put the customer first.” We will replace the politician’s wish list with the people’s priorities list. The intensive budget review will be easily accessible to the public – we’ll put it online and on television, so everyone can see the tough decisions that have to be made.
The biggest cost of free-spending government is the threat to essential services that the people of Toronto depend on. Let’s get City Hall back to basics, for a Toronto we can be proud of. Again.
Candidate For Mayor
(to clarify, I, not the Smitherman campaign, added the picture of the bald dude in the diaper)