There's shock and dismay rampant today among Toronto's chardonnay socialists, self-appointed elites and other members of the city's chattering classes. En masse, they're reaching for the Valium, maybe even the Prozac, if something stronger is required.
The cause of all this anguish ? A new poll on Monday, August 23 (yesterday) indicated that Councillor Rob Ford is ahead in the mayoralty race by 10 points over his closest rival, George Smitherman.
The two couldn't be more different. Professional politician Smitherman, formerly of the Dalton McGuinty cabinet (Minister of Health, among other things) is smooth, urbane, well-educated, well-spoken, a sharp dresser. Everything one could want in the mayor of Canada's largest city. Everything one could want if one was a chardonnay socialist, a self-appointed elite, a member of the chattering classes or an editorial writer/columnist with the Toronto Star.
Mr. Ford, on the other hand, isn't an attractive-looking man. In fact, he's stocky and somewhat porcine in appearance. Not a sharp dresser. Frequently puts his foot in his mouth. In fact, he's a bit of a bumpkin, but a bumpkin who has pulled himself up by his bootstraps, built his own business and has become extremely sucessful at it. He's a man who, while rough around the edges, knows what it means to meet a payroll. As a councillor, he didn't treat taxpayers' money as though it was his own personal inheritance. While Mr. Smitherman is the darling of the downtown set, Mr. Ford's power lies in the suburbs -- he speaks for families who are paying more and more in taxes and getting less and less in return. And there are more of them.........
According to this latest poll, Torontonians are willing to forgive and forget about the Florida episode in Mr. Ford's past which resulted in a DUI charge. They don't seem to care about how he might present himself on the larger world stage. They don't seem to object to him speaking his mind -- as he did the other day when he said Toronto didn't need any more immigrants. And they're definitely not being swayed by the daily anti-Ford slant in the Star's mayoralty campaign coverage.
So what's going on ? The Toronto mayoralty race, plus the way Canadians are responding to other recent events indicates a sea change in thought and attitude is coming, if not already here.
Canadians are not opening their wallets to contribute to Pakistan's flood relief. According to recent polls, the majority of Canadians believe the latest bunch of Tamil queue-jumpers should be immediately sent back to from whence they came. This is not the generous, big-hearted Canada of yesteryear. This is the new Canada, where taxpayers are tired of being played for fools by politicians at all levels. This is the new Canada where citizens find themselves being impoverished by punitive levels of taxation, only to see their hard-earned dollars squandered through government waste and useless programs which don't benefit them and which frequently don't work. And finally, they've had enough !
There's a feeling that George Smitherman's difficulties in the Toronto mayoralty race stem from the fact he served in Dalton "The Deceiver" McGuinty's cabinet. McGuinty is not exactly Mr. Popularity in the province right now -- people hate the HST and the "eco fee" fiasco speaks for itself. If a provincial election was held tomorrow, McGuinty would have a hard time -- the most recent poll shows his party neck and neck with the PCs, but worse, it shows Ontarians are starting to like PC leader Tim Hudak -- finding him more "trustworthy" and " less likely to have a hidden agenda" than McGuinty.
What does this mean in Ottawa where we too have a mayoralty race which includes a former McGuinty cabinet minister in the person of Jim Watson. Could Watson "wear" McGuinty's shortcomings ?
Some things are happening in this town which indicate penny-pinching is on the rise. People are apparently spending less money at the Ex. Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa has only raised a third of what's required to meet the demands for back-to-school supplies from "needy" Ottawa families. Wallets are not being opened and it will be interesting to see how the United Way campaign fares this year when folks are scrambling to pay increased hydo fees , the HST, higher bus fares etc. while facing the prospect of wage freezes and possible job loss if a federal or provincial employee.
The attack on Mr. Ford's candidacy in the Toronto mayoral race by the chardonnay socialists, self-appointed elitists, chattering classes and their propaganda arm, The Toronto Star, is reminiscent of what happened here four years ago when Larry O'Brien entered the mayoral race. But in Ottawa, it didn't stop with whispers and media attacks. Mayor Larry was sandbagged with trumped -up criminal charges and subjected to that farce of an influence-peddling trial which resulted in his walking away free and clear.
Citizen Ellie is betting that Ottawans, like Torontonians, might prefer their less-than-smooth, self-made, up-by-the-bootstraps sucessful businessman who may be a bit of a bumpkin but who also knows what it is to meet a payroll and has been bloodied in his first term as mayor -- rather than a very smooth professional politician who is now trotting out the very borough idea which he pooh-poohed in his last incarnation as mayor. Whispers ! Whispers ! Citizen Ellie keeps hearing these rumors that the mayor's chair isn't really the seat he wants -- he's only come back to position himself for the Liberal nomination in some Ottawa riding in the next federal election. Parliament Hill beckons.......
The little toe-rag young offender who broke into and vandalized Citizen Ellie's Cottage at Lac McFee, Quebec, last November, making off with her collection of NASCAR flags (among other things), has been arrested and charged by the MRC des Collines Police. Now waiting to hear when and if there will be an appearance before a judge so Citizen Ellie can make a victim impact statement. Meanwhile kudos to Ontario Court Justice Jack Nadelle who last week upheld the minimum mandatory sentence for armed robbery when sentencing a perpetrator who had two dozen charges related to a string of late-night armed grocery store robberies. Judge Nadelle wasn't buying the excuse that the accused was an otherwise exemplary citizen who had been brainwashed by an older man whom he met while the two were students at Algonquin College. Judge Nadelle also wasn't buying the argument that the mandatory miniumum sentence (in this case eight years with some time off for time already served in jail) constituted cruel and unusual punishment.
New posts usually on Sundays.Citizen Ellie will be on hiatus for the next couple of weeks enjoying some R & R until September 12. But with the magic of new wireless technology and a new laptop she may feel moved to send some thoughts out over the ether.