Toronto's municipal elections are next week and as of writing polls had the incumbent David Miller at 44%, challenger Jane Pitfield at 22 percent of the decided vote and Stephen LeDrew with nothing to speak of. But about 25% of the voters who remain undecided and that might swing the decision if it all goes to Pitfield. One can hope. We have a city that votes to the left, federally, provincially and municipally.
The left are organized, they have an NDP caucus and they meet before council meetings, they have nomination meetings so they don't end up splitting the vote and they have a political "commissar" who sits in the audience seats and he calls the shots. David Miller is part of that machine. Miller has a Conservative campaign manager, John Laschinger. Miller's PR person used to publicize former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. And Miller has over $800,000 for his campaign.
During the last municipal elections Miller made the issue the island airport. He opposed an airline which was going to fly aircraft built in Toronto by union workers. I imagine that the people who live in the apartments at the foot of Bathurst Street and the island outnumbered or outyelled the Bombardier workers.
Jane Pitfield, on the other hand , doesn't have a machine behind her, no political coaches. nor does she have councillors as part of a party machine that could double-drop literature. Pitfield has only $250,000 in her war chest.
Pitfield showed up at the Estonian Independence Day reception where she explained some of her economic policy. Pitfield believes every department should justify their budget in detail, annually, not just add on a specific amount every year. Pitfield believes that subways should be built a little bit at a time so as not to stretch the budget.
Pitfield points out that Miller is going over a billion dollars into the hole every year whereas Miller counters with the fact that Pitfield was on the budget committee at the time and voted for the items she now opposes. That argument hurts Pitfield badly.
Miller is proud when Police Chief Bill Blair mentions that shooting deaths are down leaving out that the previous year the year was known as "the year of the gun". The number of shooting deaths then was extraordinarily high. Miller got rid of the popular Police Chief Julian Fantino and didn't really become active until the Boxing Day shooting death of Jane Creba. Pitfield wants more police on the streets.
Back to economics, Pitfield said,"I decided to run for mayor because we need to straighten out the budget." Her plan is to cut down the spending, Miller's is to demand money from the country or the province.
Maybe federal and provincial governments believed Miller's figures when they refused to financially back Toronto's recent Olympics bid.
The mayoral race (4)