Rob Ford, who is no fan of the many rules that govern politicians’ behaviour during election periods, was, according to the Globe, asked to leave one of the city’s advance polling stations on Thursday for speaking to voters there and taking pictures with them. The reason election officials took the ailing mayor’s visit so seriously is that the Municipal Elections Act forbids politicians from campaigning in any voting location. (Specifically, the act says that “no person shall attempt, directly or indirectly, to influence how [an] elector votes” while they’re in or near a voting place.) Jeff Silverstein, spokesperson for Doug Ford’s campaign, told the Globe that Rob was “not doing anything inappropriate.”
No surprises here: like a dozen other polls before it, this survey of 2,265 Torontonians by political consultancy Mainstreet Technologies puts John Tory in the lead. Like the most recent Forum Research poll, this one gives Tory a healthy margin of victory, meaning we can now be at least somewhat certain that the one poll that showed Doug Ford pulling ahead was a statistical blip. With only a little more than a week to go before election day, we’re at the point where these things should (emphasis on should) be getting a little more predictive of the actual outcome. That’s bad news for Olivia Chow, who’s still bringing up the rear.
—The maximum amount of revenue that could be generated through tax increment financing (also known as TIF) for John Tory’s SmartTrack transit plan, according to an analysis prepared on behalf of the Olivia Chow campaign by economist and electricity-sector consultant Mitchell Rothman. While that number sounds high, it’s significantly lower than the $2.5 billion that Tory’s campaign has claimed the financing scheme—which is essentially a way of borrowing against future tax revenues—could be used to raise. The feasibility of Tory’s whole funding model hangs on the difference between those two numbers.
Doug Ford is warming up his final pre-election charm offensive. The mayoral candidate gave a sit-down interview to CityNews yesterday and another to CP24 today. This wouldn’t be so remarkable were it not for the fact that his wife, Karla, who has never been interviewed formally before, was sitting next to him both times. Ford clearly chose his interviewers well. Topics ranged from his art collection (“It’s beautiful, some of the pictures,” Ford said), to what a great father he is, to his love of chocolate milk. The toughest moment for the Fords came during the CityNews interview, when reporter Avery Haines asked Karla about Doug’s claim that she is Jewish. Karla insisted that her heritage is Jewish, but that she personally is not observant. “I don’t practice Judism,” she said, misprounouncing the word “Judaism.”
With less than two weeks remaining before election day, Toronto’s frantic debate schedule shows no signs of slowing down. The majority of these events are hosted by various associations and community groups, but, on Wednesday, Newstalk 1010 held one of the season’s few media-hosted debates. Radio personality Ryan Doyle gave the candidates a better-than-average grilling, and—somewhat amazingly—police officers didn’t have to maintain order, and nobody offended any religious groups. Here, five things we learned from the proceedings.
This latest Forum Research poll, conducted with input from 1241 Toronto residents on October 15, shows results consistent with those of other polls released since August. John Tory has a comfortable lead over Doug Ford, and Olivia Chow still trails with less than a quarter of the vote. Although none of this is particularly surprising, it’s nevertheless a huge departure from last week’s Forum poll, which put Ford and Tory in a virtual tie. Pollsters usually qualify their results by saying that they’re “considered accurate 19 times out of 20.” That previous poll may just have been number 20.
—The number of people who voted on Tuesday, the first of six days of advance polling for the 2014 municipal election. The city is touting this as the highest first-day advance-polling turnout ever—which it is, by far. (The entire weekday turnout during 2010’s advance polling was about 16,000.) This year’s number may be a little inflated, though, because the city is running many times more weekday polling stations than it did during the last election.
—The percentage of city council candidates running in the 2014 election who don’t live in the wards they hope to represent, according to an analysis by Everycandidate.org. That group includes 12 incumbents.
This morning, Doug Ford gathered reporters for what he said would be an endorsement announcement. Except, there was no announcement. The entire purpose of the press conference, the CBC reports, was to give Ford an opportunity to denounce the very concept of political endorsements. “This is a political election and some people want to make it about political endorsements,” he said. (“Political,” in Fordspeak, is an insult word on par with “fascist.”) Ford also took the opportunity to taunt John Tory for supporting him and his brother in the 2010 election. And so, the one major mayoral candidate with no high-profile endorsements is also the one who is philosophically opposed to them. Convenient!
Sartorially speaking, Olivia Chow has the edge this election season. Fashion is one of her shrewdest political weapons: she goes all out to stand out, dressing the part at every event she attends. Over the years, that’s meant Starfleet uniforms for Trekkie conventions, bedazzled bustiers for Caribana, traditional Punjabi dress for South Asian festivals and rainbow headdresses for Pride. When it comes to seducing voters, no fashion crime is too risky. Here, a look at her most outrageous, ingratiating ensembles.
—Nineteen-year-old mayoral candidate Morgan Baskin, telling Shameless what she’s planning on doing after all the ballots are counted (if she doesn’t become mayor, that is). Baskin is also giving a post-election TEDx talk at the Ontario Science Centre on November 15.
—Bernie Farber, a former Canadian Jewish Congress CEO, talking to the Star about Doug Ford’s dubious claim that his wife Karla is Jewish (and that he therefore can’t possibly be ignorant of Jewish stereotypes, despite appearances). Farber’s point is that technically, using the loosest possible criteria, practically anyone could argue that they have Jewish heritage.
I rent the upper floor of my semi to a young couple and was dismayed to find an Olivia Chow sign on my front lawn. I’m ardently opposed to her politics, though I’ll spare you the ideological screed. My question: can they use my property to promote their views? If so, how might I persuade them not to, short of stealing the sign in the night?
The Toronto Star reports that a 2012 decision to sole-source the city’s purchases of aftermarket auto parts has resulted in the partial breakdown of Toronto’s once-proud fleet of “dustless” street sweepers. The parts supplier, UAP Inc., has reportedly been sending replacement equipment that is incompatible with the particular brand of street sweeper the city uses, resulting in dustier, more garbage-littered roadways. One of the politicians most responsible for the problem, according to the Star, is Doug Ford. In 2012, he was the city councillor who put forth the motion that led to the sole-sourced contract’s approval. This is particularly embarrassing for Ford because both he and his brother Rob have railed against sole-sourced deals in the past, and have often implied that such contracts are inherently corrupt.
Yesterday’s Mainstreet Technologies poll showed John Tory maintaining his commanding lead over both Doug Ford and Olivia Chow, but a Forum Research poll released today tells a much different story. The phone survey of 1218 Toronto residents shows Tory and Ford in a virtual tie, with Chow still trailing far behind. The disparity between this and the Mainstreet poll is beyond either one’s margin of error, so one or both of them could very well be flat-out wrong. (To be fair, any poll can be wrong; it’s an occupational hazard.) If other polls start to agree with this one, though, Ford followers may have something to celebrate. The rest of the city, not so much.