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Archive for October 2014

Ford Nation to take at least a 4-year break as mayor of Toronto

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This column courtesy of runs here with complete permission.


Rob Ford has been mayor of Toronto in title alone for some time thanks to his own antics. Doug Ford took the baton in running to get those powers back.

Despite getting over 330,000 votes for a solid second place finish, the Ford Nation dominance will be limited to Ward 2 … at least for the next 4 years.

John Tory, who has worn more professional hats than Rob Ford has smoked vials of crack, is the new mayor-elect of Toronto.

2014 Toronto mayoral race results
Candidate Vote total Percentage
John Tory 394,775 40.27%
Doug Ford 330,610 33.72%
Olivia Chow 226,879 23.14%
Other   27,913   2.52%

unofficial numbers

Former MP Olivia Chow finished a distant third.

“Together, like never before, we now begin building Toronto the great,” Tory said, adding he will lead the city “not left, not right, but forward.”

Doug Ford did well in the suburbs, though not as well as Rob Ford in 2010. Tory did well up the middle of the area map, including in the city. Chow did best in the west side of the city, in her old federal riding.

Rob Ford will be back in the city council, winning Ward 2 Etobicoke North with 58.9 percent of the vote. Rob Ford will replace Doug Ford, the current councillor from Ward 2.

In his victory speech, Rob Ford gave the impression that Ford Nation would be ready in 4 years to run for mayor … again.

“I guarantee: In four more years, you’re going to see another example of the Ford family never ever giving up,” Ford said. “We’re just warming up.”

We saw Rob Ford on Election Night with a clean head, recovering from chemotherapy as treatment for cancer.

Ford’s status on the council will depend on his health. The new council and mayor officially take over on December 1.

If you weren’t interested in this mayoral race … Toronto turned out 64.3 percent voter turnout, surpassing the previous mark of 50.6 percent in 2010. The city had almost a million votes in the 2014 election.

In the next few days, pundits and late-night comedians will have a chance to mourn the loss of Rob Ford as mayor. But Toronto has had enough of a joke as its leader, however ceremonial that became in the last year or so.

As much as John Oliver wanted Toronto to (re-)elect Doug (Rob) Ford, he knows that Toronto deserves better. Jon Stewart wanted Olivia Chow to win, but she ran too nice a campaign.

John Tory has a number of issues to work on, and a right-wing background despite his “centrist” attitude. The buffoonery that was Rob Ford needed to go, but his policies as well.

photo credit: Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press


Written by democracysoup

October 28, 2014 at 10:15 am

Posted in Canada

Tagged with , , ,

Ottawa shooting notebook: O Canada indeed

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This column courtesy of runs here with complete permission.

“It’s so incredibly sad, and should not happen in Canada. We’re such a peaceful and loving country that for somebody to violate us like that, and try and take our innocence. The greatest thing we can do is stay Canadian and stay who we are. And just say to the people that want to harm us, don’t mistake civility for weakness. You do so at your own peril. We’re very tough people, we’re very sane people, and very fair people. And I’m very, very proud of my country.” — Mike Myers

Scott Oake interviewed the Canadian comedian before the 3rd period of the Maple Leafs game Saturday night. When Americans ask me what I like and appreciate about Canada, I give my best impressions. What I liked about Myers’ answer is that it fits the emotion of what happened in the last week and why I like Canada.

I love the civility that Canada offers. Staying Canadian is the one thing that the terrorists don’t want. Canada is tough, sane, and fair.

Myers is one of those Canadian entertainers that has crossed over into Hollywood. Yet he hasn’t forgotten where he came from. Myers should be very proud of Canada’s reaction to a heart wrenching tragedy.

The singing of O Canada has been a source of nurturing as the country recovers from the two tragic shootings. The huge Canadian flag accompanied a robust anthem at the CFL game in Ottawa Friday night.

The Saturday night anthem at the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata was simulcast to the crowd at the Bell Centre in Montréal and the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

The video above showcased the three anthem locations. The anthem ran on CBC, City, Sportsnet One, and the NHL Network in the United States.

Coming on the heels of the anthem in Pittsburgh Wednesday night, O Canada had never sounded better. Maybe this will encourage more showing of the anthems on both sides of the border long after the attacks have slipped out of the spotlight.

The morning after the attack in Ottawa, U.S. cable news showed us coverage of the Canadian Parliament. We saw a speech from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair.

The coverage even stayed when the party leaders switched to French. Having the translator tell the audience what was being said definitely helped.

I watched the MSNBC coverage. They stayed with the prime minister and offered a little bit of Mulcair’s speech. Trudeau had the disadvantage of being the leader of the current third party in the House of Commons.

Harper did huge the two other major party leaders in Mulcair and Trudeau. The prime minister also went over to Kevin Vickers, sergeant-at-arms for the House of Commons. Vickers was the one who shot the assailant who entered Parliament.

Would love to see C-SPAN carry Canadian Parliament. Nice to see coverage of Canada but still afraid the extra attention is more about hyping terrorism than appreciating Canada.

The Ottawa shooter had several reasons why he couldn’t get a gun legally. Yet the guy, who was sleeping in an Ottawa homeless shelter, got a long gun — a Winchester .30-30 caliber rifle.

Canada used to have a long-gun registry, a way to track long guns in the country in case they were used in a crime.

The Harper Government campaigned on getting rid of the long-gun registry and successfully eliminated the registry. Quebec, the province where the first soldier was killed and just across the river from Ottawa, fought hard in the courts to keep its long-gun registry but lost that fight.

Yes, it’s entirely possible that the gun was stolen from a private citizen. But without the registry, we don’t know the path of the gun. Since the Ottawa shooter is deceased, we can’t ask him.

It is standard practice in Canada for courts to issue a lifetime gun ban to almost anyone convicted of a violent offence.

Even where such bans are not imposed, Zehaf-Bibeau would have found it virtually impossible to legally obtain a gun in Canada.

The Highway of Heroes lived up to its name as the body of Nathan Cirillo was driven back to his home in Hamilton.

The pictures and video of the crowds of people were breathtaking.

I noted in my original thoughts that Remembrance Day will be a much bigger deal in Canada this year. This may be an understatement.

Don Cherry devoted all of Coach’s Corner to Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent as well as soldiers who are suffering from injuries and need help they aren’t getting.

Given Cherry’s sensibilities, this wasn’t a surprise. He struck the right tone on the subject. Cherry was on such a roll that Ron MacLean, who sat beside him during the entire segment, didn’t say a word.

video credit: YouTube/Chris S

Reflections on the Ottawa shooting

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This column courtesy of runs here with complete permission.

“We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and our institutions of governance are by their very nature attacks on our country, on our values, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all. But let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.” — Prime Minister Stephen Harper

A second Canadian soldier killed on domestic soil in the same week. First at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and then yesterday at the National War Memorial.

Patrice Vincent was killed in a hit-and-run incident on Monday just outside Montréal. Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed while guarding the National War Memorial Wednesday morning.

Another soldier was injured on Monday. 3 others were injured on Wednesday.

House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers reportedly shot the assailant inside the Hall of Honour, the main entrance to the Centre Block beneath the Peace Tower.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed Canada in a national address; the above passage came from that speech.

In the coming days, we will hear a lot about motive for both attacks. Right now, this is about mourning the loss of 2 Canadian soldiers and being strong for the family and friends of those killed and injured this week. #ottawastrong #canadastrong

I will be in Canada near but not actually on Remembrance Day this year. Given what has happened to Canadian soldiers inside Canada and the threat they will receive overseas, this will be a significant Remembrance Day.

The outpouring of support for Canada came in political circles, sports fans, and the general public.

U.S. TV coverage

Wednesday was a difficult day for me to monitor U.S. television accounts of the shooting. 3 RCMP officers were shot in Moncton earlier this year, and didn’t get that much publicity in the States. The first Canadian soldier killed this week didn’t get much attention.

There was video of gunfire inside the Parliament Building, thanks to Globe and Mail reporter Josh Wingrove. Being in the nation’s capital might have increased the coverage, even if many Americans weren’t quite sure where Ottawa is in Canada.

The “Rachel Maddow Show” was a great source of coverage. Regular readers might remember that Maddow’s mother is from Newfoundland, and Maddow eagerly reports on news from Canada on a regular basis.

TV Newser via Media Bistro had a great side-by-side comparison between CBC and CNN on the Web in covering the Ottawa shooting.

At work, I turned to the CBC News Network online. Watching Peter Mansbridge in his calming tone reminds those in the States of what we miss from quality TV news. CBC made sure the family knew of the death of the soldier before reporting his name.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai was to receive honorary Canadian citizenship in a ceremony in Toronto on Wednesday. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was supposed to be in Toronto for the ceremony.

The event was cancelled.

Security would be heightened anyway for the 17-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner from Pakistan. When the ceremony is rescheduled, we will let you know.

Ottawa as tourist destination

The Moncton shooting happened in a part of the city that I did not visit during my trip in 2013. The National War Memorial and the Centre Block of Parliament Hill: I recognized those areas right away.

The video from the Globe and Mail was down a corridor I traveled in August this year as well as 2009. The Rideau Centre, the Westin, places on the map we kept seeing on television and online: these are places I have been all too recently.

We greatly hope that the words from the prime minister prove correct. We hope that tourists can have similar access to Parliament Hill, the National War Memorial, the government buildings, and the surrounding area.

You go through a metal detector to enter the Supreme Court building and the Parliament building. The shooter somehow got into Parliament with a long gun. Let’s address that issue before we go overboard.


Sports isn’t the important issue, but sports is still worth noting.

The Toronto Maple Leafs team was locked down at the Westin near the Rideau Centre across from the National War Memorial. The Ottawa Senators were at the Canadian Tire Centre out in the suburbs of Kanata, far away from the horror in and around Parliament Hill.

The NHL made the smart move in cancelling the game. We might know really soon when the game will be rescheduled.

“O Canada” was played in Pittsburgh before the U.S. national game on NBCSN with the Philadelphia Flyers. To whomever came up with and implemented the idea for this gesture, Canadians — real and wannabes — truly appreciate what was done.

Rogers Sportsnet One carried the U.S. feed since Toronto-Ottawa was postponed.

Moments of silence also happened at the NHL games, including in Edmonton, the only Canadian team that played on Wednesday.

Those might remember the Senators were involved in a similar issue with the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013. The game with the Bruins had to be postponed.

Ottawa hosts New Jersey on Saturday but that should be fine. City TV and the NHL Network will have the Senators Sunday night in Chicago (blacked out for me). Moments such as these were made for Ron MacLean; let’s see how Rogers handles this over the weekend.

Though the game isn’t until tomorrow, the Ottawa RedBlacks play at home Friday night against the Montréal Alouettes.

That game shouldn’t be a concern: the stadium is south of the downtown area along the Rideau Canal. If you are going to the game Friday night, get there early. Really early.

If there is a concern with the CFL game Friday night, we will update the CFL preview and give reports on our Twitter feed.

video credit: NHL/NBCSN; Globe and Mail

2014 Toronto mayoral race preview: Who will succeed Rob Ford?

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This column courtesy of runs here with complete permission.

Toronto’s long nightmare is about to end. No, not Rob Ford’s reign as mayor, though that will come to an end on December 1.

The Toronto mayor race will finally come to a close next Monday. Canada is known for short election cycles, but the candidates to replace Rob Ford has been running for 8 months.

Doug Ford, who wants to replace his brother as mayor, hasn’t been running as long nor has he been talkative, but the Rob Ford/Doug Ford train has been running from well beyond the 8 month mark.

One sign that people are paying more attention to the Toronto mayoral race is a significant increase in advance ballots. The final figure will be about 125,000, up from about 77,000 in the 2010 Toronto mayor race. The City of Toronto released the info that 28,046 people cast a ballot on the first day of advance voting.

More advanced ballots also indicate a race where minds aren’t going to be changed.

Based on recent polls, John Tory is significantly out in front with Doug Ford running second and Olivia Chow quite far behind. Though there are 65 candidates for mayor, these are the primary 3 candidates. As we have noted before, you don’t need a plurality to win: get the most votes and you are in office.

So who is John Tory?

This is Tory’s second run for mayor, coming in second to David Miller in 2003 by slightly over 36,000 votes. Tory’s name was brought up in the 2010 election, but he did not run that time.

After losing the 2003 Toronto mayoral election, Tory spent his time in Ontario politics. In 2004, Tory became leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. Tory was eventually elected in the legislature in 2005 in the very safe Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey riding. He switched to his home riding — Don Valley West — in the 2007 Ontario election, losing to now Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Tory has worked for Rogers Media, including a stint as president and CEO. He also served as the CFL commissioner from 1996-2000.

He managed Kim Campbell’s 1993 federal election campaign and also served as tour director and campaign chairman to then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

What Torontoians (and those in the suburbs) want to know is where John Tory will be on the issues affecting the city.

Doug Ford is riding the “vote for me, vote for Rob” approach that we predicted. Ford hasn’t made major speeches and tried to escape debates for flimsy reasons.

Even though Rob Ford is technically the mayor and technically not running for mayor — Ford is running for city council in Ward 2 — Rob Ford was kicked out of three advance polling stations for violations of fraternizing with voters.

Olivia Chow had name recognition, an extra connection to Toronto through her late husband, Jack Layton, and was the major liberal voice in the mayoral campaign. So why isn’t Chow likely to win next Monday?

On paper, 2 conservatives vs. 1 liberal would give the advantage to the liberal, especially since the winning candidate doesn’t have to get to 50%. Rob Ford never got to 50% in 2010.

By all regards, Chow has run a poor campaign and not articulating her ideas well enough. She spent more time focused on Rob Ford and not Tory. Chow is the major anti-Ford candidate, but we have seen reports that potential voters who like Chow are going for Tory because they want to make sure Ford isn’t elected.

Chow gave up her seat in Parliament to run in the race. The Trinity-Spadina riding went Liberal in the by-election on June 30.

The new mayor of Toronto will have a lot of messes to clean up from Rob Ford’s time as mayor. Transit is still a gigantic issue in the GTA. Assuming Doug Ford is not the new mayor, the new mayor will have to clean up Toronto’s image as a city.

As we have noted before, you don’t need a plurality to win: get the most votes and you are in office.

The winner of the race on October 27 won’t take office until December 1.

We will have much more extensive coverage next week. Good luck, Toronto. Get out and vote.