Once we drag out the logarithms, spreadsheets and poll numbers, a
case can be made that a strategic vote for Smitherman is actually more
likely to give us a city we’d be ashamed of than would a vote for Ford.
Despite claims by the mainstream press, if Ford were to win, he’d be
very unlikely to have council support, so getting his slash-and-burn
policies through would be a daily struggle.
huge-tent, “I will be what you want me to be” approach is more likely to
be bought by a new council, meaning his own slash-and-burn approach
might actually become city policy and the recent great strides Toronto
has made would be dismantled and destroyed.
To ignite the
strategic voters’ Bunsen burner for a minute to warm this electoral
petri dish, I suggest that we might be doing more strategic harm
electing Smitherman than Ford.
As the federal and provincial
governments continue to ignore this city and hoard their 90 per cent
share of tax dollars raised in Toronto, the next term will be tough for
any elected representative. If Ford were to win, the folly of his
policies and crazy promises would be quickly exposed. That means the
shit would hit the fan in plenty of time to pre-empt a new right revolt
led by provincial Conservative Tom “I Like Mike Harris” Hudak when the
Ontario vote happens in about 18 months.
for Ford might ensure that Ontario wouldn’t elect another Harris-style
Tory government. A vote for Smitherman would be more fuel on the fire to
discredit Liberals and hasten, perhaps guarantee, a horrible provincial
Tory backlash win.
But even thinking this way makes me want to
take a shower. I’m committed to marking my X beside a candidate I
believe in, not one I can merely put up with. And you can be sure that
if Smitherman is elected, he will interpret the result as a mandate, not
as lukewarm support. He will operate as if every vote were
enthusiastically given, not reluctantly, strategically offered. And if
you look at his not-so-different-from-Ford approach, that’s something to
Of course I want the candidates I vote for to win. But even
if they don’t, I want my vote – and my support – to stand with a
candidate and policies I believe in.
Ideally we all use our votes
to elect those we believe in. But at the very least, we use our votes
to stand and be counted, and to make sure, even if the wrong candidate
is chosen, the winner knows there’s a significant group out there with a
different vision of the city.
By casting your vote with
confidence and conviction, not compromise and collusion, we might just
get a city government and a Toronto we can be proud of. It’s happened
before. Why not again?
On election day, vote for your principles, and vote for the policies you actually support.