Posts Tagged ‘politics’
Not only will Stintz drop out of the election, she has announced her plans to drop out of politics altogether. From Torontoist:
After days of conspicuous campaign silence, Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence) announced this morning her decision to exit the mayoral race.
“I knew more than anyone that I was in for a difficult race,” Stintz said during an 11 a.m. press conference at City Hall. She added, “I’m disappointed my vision and ideas did not gain the traction I had hoped.” Stintz also declared she will not run for city council: “After three terms I am proud of my accomplishments, and I believe I have served my city well.”
There was plenty of speculation this week that Stintz had been eyeing the exits. She’s been considered a non-factor in the race for some time, consistently polling in the single digits (earlier this month, Forum Research had Stintz at 4 per cent).
Stintz served as TTC chair before announcing her mayoral candidacy in February. During her tenure, the TTC introduced free wireless internet at subway stations, a new customer service charter, and the Crisis Link suicide prevention program. But Stintz was also criticized for changing her mind on the Scarborough subway-LRT debate, and throughout her mayoral campaign she struggled to differentiate herself from frontrunner John Tory.
See also blogTO’s brief item.
The Toronto Star goes into greater detail, suggesting that this will benefit the campaign of ideological similar John Tory.
Stintz said she was proud of her campaign and her three terms as councillor for Ward 16 (Eglinton-Lawrence), but said she will not jump back into the council race.
“It’s time to start a new chapter,” after 11 years in politics, said Stintz who first ran for council after answering a candidate-recruitment ad from a midtown ratepayers’ association. “My immediate plans are to get through the next council meeting and then to get my kids (Jackson, 9, and Hailey, 7) ready to go back to school.”
She took no questions and did not endorse any of her mayoral challengers. Her former assistant J.P. Boutros is now running to replace her in Ward 16.
[. . .]
Stintz had gained a high profile, first as TTC chair and then for her bruising battles over transit with Mayor Rob Ford (Open Rob Ford’s policard). However, she has consistently polled below five per cent support in the mayoral race, more than 25 points behind the leader and tied for fourth or fifth place.
Her campaign had been the quietest of the five leading contenders, and once-key operatives appear to have reduced their involvement in her team.
Stintz’s centre-right, business-friendly platform appealed to the same pool of voters, donors, volunteers and organizers as that of John Tory, the radio host and former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader who recent polls say has a narrow lead over former NDP MP Olivia Chow.
First, even with the latest Forum poll, it’s not really clear whether John Tory has a decided lead or not. Forum adjusts its polls for likely voters, and the current rolling average calculations at ThreeHundredEight.com show Chow’s “recent high” overlapping with Tory’s “recent low” (31% as opposed to 28%). In other words, they’re still in competition within the margin of error.
Still, Tory’s weighted average is 33.9% and Chow’s is 29.1%. I think it’s fair to say that if trends continue as they have been Chow will be in trouble.
You can see from a breakdown in a recent poll as to why Chow has a bit of a dilemma. She has strong support (naturally) from the NDP, but also the largest block of Liberal support. If her aim is to increase her overall share of the vote, she can do one of two things — try to peel away more Liberal – identifiers (or equivalent voters who don’t identify as Liberals but whose views are generally more middle-of-the-road), or come out swinging strongly in a bid for popular support among more disaffected voters.
In a “normal” election, the latter might make sense: there are more voters who will identify with her immigrant experience and early background than with Tory’s background as a scion of Tory, Tory, Deslauriers and Binnington (as it was when I was in Law School, now Torys LLP). Unfortunately, many of these potential voters are in the disaffected category on which Rob Ford has an even stronger lock — as a number of analyses have pointed out, Ford’s populist base isn’t necessarily all conservative, and certainly his strength among the young and in the black community points to a strength based in pure populism. (Serious conservatives of any sort have probably given up on Ford because even if he were to win, the last several years have shown that he can’t work well enough with others to make things happen; better to back a less radical conservative withe better coalition-building skills.) So Chow’s growth prospects depend on not scaring off centrist voters.
That’s why her campaign is so bland. She’s safe pointing out her own background, but she’s presenting as someone pushing minor adjustments to the system rather than major overhauls. Soknacki, who is a self-declared small-c conservative, has more radical positions than she does.
In contrast the same breakdown shows why Tory’s campaign is so much closer to the fiscal position of the city government over the past four years than his background in the CivicAction Alliance might lead one to expect: if Chow basically occupies the left and centre left of the spectrum, he has little to gain from trying to compete with her there, given his background and history. Campaigning to the right is his obvious strategy.
On the 1st of August, the Toronto Star‘s Tara Deschamps asked the question of whether or not Toronto could de-amalgamated, that is, to shift from being a single megacity to the confederation of a half-dozen cities that existed up to 1998. The answer she got? It would be possible but very complex.
If you’re part of the camp that believes Toronto should turn back time and separate into smaller municipalities, Ryerson University politics professor Myer Siemiatycki says you’re probably out of luck because de-amalgamation is not a feasible idea.
“The idea of disentangling and de-amalgamating would probably cause more problems and challenges than it would resolve,” he says.
Among the difficulties with de-amalgamation is deciding how city responsibilities such as police and emergency services, transit and libraries would be split. There is also the city’s debt.
The growing costs for each of these areas could be hard for smaller cities to handle without the larger population, power and tax base of areas such as central Toronto and North York, warns Siemiatycki.
“The trick for Toronto is to figure out how you get the best advantages of centralized capacity and localized participation and attentiveness to residents,” he says.
The complex reorganization of Montréal following the secession of multiple suburban municipalities from a former megacity on the island of Montréal, regrouping them in a federation, would seem to demonstrate that it has limits. A larger urban agglomeration makes sense.
I would also add that, notwithstanding the serious cultural and political challenges of governing a large urban area like Toronto, responding to these issues by getting rid of any responsibility or control over certain areas is irresponsible. As a commenter said, “It seems like those who favour de-almagamation are nostalgic for the “good old days” when Toronto was much smaller. Just remember, they also used to close the pubs and covered the Eaton’s windows on Sunday. Much less fun.”