Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Give Peace a Chance

Today at school I spoke with someone about the election results in Toronto. Last night Rob Ford was elected with 47% in the municipal election in Toronto for mayor. To say Rob Ford has been a controversial character in this year’s election is somewhat of an understatement.

Some of the conservative elements of my mind think that Ford has been the target of the liberal-elite that characterizes every major metropolitan area. Ford does not have the refined elite air about him, not in the slightest. I don’t believe Smitherman did either, but at least he ran in the right circles from the point of view of these so-called elites.

Attempts to caricature Ford as an extremist seems baseless. He’s a Toronto city councillor, that gets you to Red Tory at best. That doesn’t mean Ford is not to the right of the average Torontonian, but I doubt he’s a paleo-conservative that Dick Cheney would be proud of.

Attacks on Ford’s personal failings, well, that’s something else entirely. Drug use and allegations of domestic violence may have soured my vote for him. I probably would have voted for Joe Pantalone, but I didn’t follow the race that closely.

While I have a very small readership there’s something I believe in that I wished more people would follow. While I am highly critical of candidates during a campaign, once their elected I think a certain grace period should be allowed before we start making judgments on their competence and effectiveness.

One thing I worry about is whether or not Rob Ford is a fiscal conservative or a fiscal extremist. I have, at times, labelled myself a fiscal conservative. Being smart about balancing budgets and cutting spending requires a surgeon’s hands and a scalpel. Ford has made comments, such as removing streetcar lines (which was a rumour denied by the campaign), that he intends to tackle the budget with a hacksaw and the grace of a drunk.

That being said, I am going to reserve final judgement until Ford actually does something I can evaluate. I bet Mayor-Elect Ford wishes the media would cut him the slack a small-time blogger does.

Also, congratulations to the candidates that won in Ontario's municipal/local elections yesterday. Best of luck in serving your communities and leading them into the 21st century.

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