Friday, October 22, 2010


Politicians Should Be Terrified

Should be a record turnout for the Toronto municipal election. Good!
I would expect the same for every election at every level in every western country for the next few years because the dislike, if not hatred, for politicians hasn't been this fierce for decades.
City Hall in Toronto, that curvacious iconic building, now seems a symbol for rot and waste. Only the lefties and Grits among the downtowners have not been furious because council has been voting their way. As a result, the downtown-suburban split has never been so bitter and the feud should hang like a spectre over every major decision of Toronto's new council.
Anger with politicians spills over from every media, whether you're watching the haters of Fox TV lauding the Teabaggers in the U.S. or listening to Canadian talk radio filled with contempt for the latest gaffe by the McGuinty gliberals.
Talk to the better politicians and they confess privately that they don't blame the public. Many of their colleagues deserve it. They only remove their foot from their mouth in order to shoot it. They abdicate their responsibility to represent their riding and go along with one-person government, whether it be by a mayor, premier or PM.
As a result of this anger, veteran politicians are in trouble or are toppling. And Toronto may have a new mayor, Rob Ford, who wouldn't have had a chance in the last municipal election four years ago.
The financial calamities intermingle with the ineptness of the bureaucries in issuing even a simple contract. The failure of Canadian and American politicians to deal with the awful mess left by the bankers and financiers surely infuriates us even if we still have a job. The future is so blighted for our children that there isn't a parent who doesn't worry about it in the wee hours when devils dance in the corners of our mind.
At the basic level of our governments, where the potholes expand and the paint peels in the classrooms, along with real schooling, things are a mess.
Under David Miller, the globe-trotting socialist, the infrastructure rusted and weeds carpeted any civic space. Tune to a city council meeting on TV and you ended up cursing the bullshit and wondering why they couldn't spend more time making the city work. The lefty coalition of councillors were like carpenters who want to debate the philosophers rather than fix your door.
Mary and I have a sign on our lawn for Morley Kells. Over the years there have been many signs there for Kells as he has run in municipal and provincial elections. "Elect a New Councillor" it reads.
My friend Morley, of course, is hardly "new" to politics. But he is reaching out to all the voters who are fed up with what they have been getting, which in this case, in westend Ward 5, is careful Peter Milczyn, who is positioning himself as being opposed to what has been going on at City Hall for too many years. So Milcyzn is supporting Ford, who wouldn't be in a dead heat for mayor if there wasn't such a cry from the public for a change.
Time for a change has always been one of the most compelling political slogans. But there have been few elections in the last few decades in Canada where it has been such a dangerous slogan for incumbents.
It would be a smart idea for voters to remember that there are candidates among the new challengers, like Kells, who are hardly new to politics. Morley has been an councillor and controller on Etobicoke and Metro councils. He was a Tory MPP, and a provincial environment minister who ran into trouble because of his tough talk. Then he was the Ontario Olympic Commissioner who resigned because he didn't like how the big boys behind the Olympic bid for Toronto were imposing their plans without public discussion, for example on the Exhibition.
So what we have with Morley Kells is a warhorse who doesn't like the municipal madness of the last two terms and armed with his experience would be a formidable foe of business as usual.
He has demonstrated that he is willing to give up power and salary if he doesn't approve of what is going on.
What we need is more politicians in every position in Canada who are their own person, who won't let party, political correctness or convenience determine their vote.
On Monday, I pray, we all will really vote for change, and not for business as usual.

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