Canada's Condominium Magazine
Ontario and its most populous city, Toronto, face a series of elections this year. Premier Kathleen Wynne is expected to have a tight race, according to a series of polls conducted throughout 2017. Wynne is running against NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and PC Leader Patrick Brown. A win for Wynne could put an end to claims of voter discontent with the Liberal government. However, unfavourable results for the candidate could mean an end to the Liberals’ 15-year term.
Toronto’s municipal election features a possible rematch between Mayor John Tory and ex-councilor Doug Ford — especially as Doug Ford is possibly entering the provincial leadership race. It is still too early to tell, as candidates cannot officially enter the race until nominations open on May 1st. If Tory and Ford do go head-to-head this election, the tables could turn.
Tory won the last election with 40.2 per cent of the popular vote versus Ford’s 33.7 per cent. However, additional front-runners gave voters more options, and former NDP MP Olivia Chow gained 23 per cent of votes. A lack of options this time could skew the vote in favour of Ford, though that is purely speculation at this point.
A win for Tory will likely see downtown traffic congestion and suburban transit and the forefront of conversation, gaining top priority with the mayor. If Ford wins, however, he has vowed to focus on providing greater access to the mayor’s office by returning taxpayers’ phone calls, as did his late brother, former mayor Rob Ford. “Together, we are going to take this city back and give each and every one of you a voice. You will once again have your calls returned. You will once again have access to the mayor’s office.” Ford has also been vehemently opposed to high taxes in the city, which has certainly gained him some brownie points with voters.
Tory remained insistent that the work he has been doing is for the betterment of Toronto. “I think if you look at the transit network plan we’ve put in place, the progress we’re making on housing, the fact that we have done things including kids ride free and keeping taxes low to make the city more affordable for families, I think people will reflect on all of that,” he said.
Campaigning in Ontario in 2018
Ontario’s political campaigns received an overhaul in 2017, with a ban on corporate contributions to political parties and candidates. Additionally, the maximum contribution provided by an individual has been drastically reduced from $23,275 to $3,600 annually. The move was designed to keep corporations from controlling elections and their candidates by using their wallets to push their agendas.
The ban on corporate and union donations, however, strained fundraising efforts, resulting in the use of taxpayer dollars for campaigning. Parties that received two per cent or more of the popular vote in the last election will be granted an annual allowance of $2.71 per vote. This brings the total to $5.06 million for Liberals, $4.09 million for the PC Party, $3.1 million for NDP, and $630,000 for the Green Party.
Toronto’s 2018 Elections
Tory discussed the 2018 election in a year-end interview with Global News, in which he expressed excitement over the election campaign and a second mandate. He discussed offering people a clear choice of either moving forward to build transit, continue relationships with other governments, and attract financial support in the billions of dollars… or “go back to the old ways where things were divided, there were poor relationships with the other governments, bus routes were being cancelled, and all that sort of thing.”
“I came to office committed to restoring a sense of honesty and integrity and trust in the mayor’s office, some stability, and to getting the money to move forward with these projects,” he said, referring to transit and housing projects.
Despite being unable to officially throw his hat into the race, Doug Ford has stated that he will run against Mayor Tory in the 2018 election. (This was prior to news he may consider running for the PC leadership in the 2018 provincial election.) “For four years, we have watched all the hard work we did at city hall slowly, slowly come undone,” he told supporters in September. “Transit in this city is a mess, traffic has ground to a halt, and your taxes have never been higher.”
Ford has opposed Tory on several key topics. “Mr. Tory has failed to deliver on promises he made during the last election,” said Ford. “I’m here to say enough is enough.”
During Ford’s announcement, Deputy Mayor Vincent Crisanti showed support for the potential candidate, prompting Mayor Tory to remove him from office. Tory later announced that Ward 3 Etobicoke Centre Councillor Stephen Holyday would assume the deputy mayor’s title, effective immediately. Tory stated that deputy mayors “have the solemn responsibility of representing the Office of the Mayor and represent the views of the residents across your entire area.”
“While I don’t expect to agree with my deputy mayors on every issue or every stance, I do expect that they are committed to my overall vision of building a stronger, fairer Toronto,” he said, adding that Crisanti’s actions have expressed a lack of support for Tory’s administration. He also stated that Crisanti “intends to campaign for another candidate who has an approach that I believe will take the city backwards.”
When asked for comment, Crisanti stated that the mayor did not give him the courtesy of approaching him first to hear him out, adding that their professional relationship was not a close one. “Over the last three years, John Tory rarely approached me for any one-on-one meetings and so on. I was the one that was more proactively going to John than him coming to me,” he said. “He ended it the same way he started it – a very quick conversation.”
Ford says he wants to prevent the party from falling into the hands of “elites” and that it needs strong leadership. “I have been deeply troubled by what I have seen recently unfolding within the PC Party,” he said. “Lifelong supporters have been watching in horror as it falls into complete disarray. We have seen backroom politics at its worst, insiders trying to politically capitalize at the expense of the people, elites who are disconnected from the grassroots of the party and don’t care about the average struggles of Ontarians.”
Despite these claims and the consistent back and forth between the potential candidates, polls have skewed slightly in favour of Tory, who led by an average of 36 points in October. Adding city councilor Mike Layton to the polls saw a shift in votes, with Tory leading by 22 points over Ford. Many residents do not believe that the city needs a change and therefore have supported Tory for re-election.
Others, however, are in favour of Ford cutting taxes and making what they see as much-needed changes to a “messy” transit system among other issues. At this point, it appears that it is anyone’s game.