And our endorsement for mayor goes to…
John Tory and Jennifer Keesmaat face off for our votes by Ron Johnson
The last time Post City endorsed a candidate, it wasn’t the best experience. In a less than banner year for voters, we thought George Smitherman would be the best option for the city. And we all know what happened on election night. Ford Nation hit the city like a ton of bricks, and we still haven’t recovered.
But, with another Ford firmly ensconced in Queen’s Park, the city is faced with a very important election on Oct. 22. So our editorial board met with leading mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat and current mayor John Tory to determine the best person for the job.
The next four years will be tricky to navigate for any mayor, but these two would both provide the city with good leadership.
Mayor John Tory was like a calm, cool breeze after a few too many hours in the Rob Ford sauna. He is smart, charming, well-spoken and, well, calm.
But now that the city is back to a somewhat normal state, does he have the vision and the energy to take Toronto to the next level?
That’s what we were looking for when we spoke with him. And what we saw was a mayor, although somewhat frustrated by the slow-moving city bureaucracy, who was working behind the scenes pushing forward his citybuilding agenda.
Let’s face it. Toronto is consistently ranked one of the most livable cities in the world. Tech companies such as Google and Intel are relocating here for a reason. We have it pretty good. But that’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement.
Tory was soundly criticized last winter during the homelessness crisis for moving too slowly. Whether the criticism was fair or not is unimportant. What’s important is that Tory heard it, he has worked hard on this file and he is passionate about it.
Some of his plans are visionary, while most have far fewer frills but add up to a city that is succeeding on most levels and not leaving people behind.
Jennifer Keesmaat is brimming with creative ideas, and we were very impressed by her data-driven approach honed from her years as the city’s chief planner. Her policy proposals, especially regarding affordable housing, transit, road and public safety and participatory budgeting, are inspired.
What we were most curious about was her fiscal plan, her position on crime and taxes and other issues not directly related to planning. Her fiscal plan was not yet ready for a public airing. But she did speak passionately about her entrepreneurial background. She is committed to not putting further financial burden on residents via property taxes, but talk of additional user fees was problematic.
In the end, it is Mayor John Tory who gets our endorsement.
His focus is directed at making life better by doing little things that matter, while rolling up his sleeves and getting to work on the hardest files from homelessness to attracting investment.
Mayor John Tory