[Ed: The opinions expressed are those of the author. The Public Policy and Governance Review does not endorse any candidate in the Toronto municipal election.]
Outgoing Mayor David Miller has it wrong; now is not the time for idealism and now is not the time to vote for Pantalone. By sucking it up and voting strategically, we still have the opportunity to push the progressive agenda.
Throughout the lead-up to the Toronto election, I have heard many people, including my fellow classmates, wax poetically about the merits of voting for the best candidate – someone whose vision is inspiring and reflects strong values and principles. Under “normal” voting circumstances, I couldn’t agree more.
But now is not the time for idealism. With the election less than one week away, it is explicitly clear that a vote for Joe Pantalone is a vote for Rob Ford, a man whose only vision for the city boils down to cutbacks and — cue the chorus — “stopping the gravy train”. Readers do not need me to tell them about Ford’s simplistic approach to cost-cutting, whether it’s by slashing City Council by 50%, reducing the size of the Toronto Public Service through attrition, or – heaven forbid – discontinuing Councilors’ free memberships to the Metro Toronto Zoo.
We already know about the detrimental effects Ford’s backward policies will have on our city, and we cringe to think of the embarrassment he will bring to Torontonians on the national and international stage. We also know that he fabricates numbers. (Six million dollar Jarvis bike lanes, anyone?) There is no question that Ford lacks the competence, leadership, and credibility to run a city as complex and diverse as Toronto. None of this is new information.
So, in these final days, let us be smart about what we choose to do with this information. I whole-heartedly agree that it feels better to vote for someone in whose values and principles you believe than it does to vote against someone. But, in this particular situation, we do not have the luxury of idealism. Rather than indulgently burying our heads in the sand and voting for someone we know has no chance in hell, we need to vote strategically for George Smitherman – with whom Ford is in a dead heat.
Ultimately, strategic voting is the only thing that will change the outcome of Monday’s election.
-By Bridget Nardi