So, John Tory. That’s him a year ago at our place, for the Festival of Joy. It’s a year later, and I’ve decided I am going to support him, and vote for him, and (if he wants me) volunteer for him.
There’s ten reasons for that.
- He’s an adult. After 2010-2014, Toronto needed someone who was a grown-up and who would calm things down. Tory is that; he’s done that. He’s a good guy. Hell, he and his wife even went to an SFH show at the Bovine and stayed. Respect.
- He doesn’t want T-Rexit. Most reasonable folks agree that his main opponent – who promised many folks, in writing, that she’d never run – is not up to the job. Secession? Her solution is to separate? Will she put up a wall along Steeles, will she demand York Region pay for it? Craziness.
- He’s way better than any of the other alternatives. There’s a couple white supremacists, and a bunch of people with zero experience. In these challenging times, we need someone with experience and smarts. And who isn’t, you know, a white supremacist.
- He’s a centrist. That’s where most residents of Toronto are, and that’s where Tory is, too. He doesn’t ever go too far Left or too far Right. That’s why he’s still got approval numbers that are up in the stratosphere (70 per cent plus). He knows that the safest place to drive is within the lines. And, bonus: he isn’t a separatist.
- He’s smart. I helped out on his 2003 mayoral campaign, and I got to know him pretty well. He is, as noted, a decidedly thoughtful person. He doesn’t rush to judgment, and he isn’t an ideologue. Also: he went to see SFH.
- He’s unrelentingly decent. When my Dad died, my family heard from lots of folks – Stephen Harper called my Mom, Justin Trudeau (then a friend, now not so much) sent along some beautiful flowers and some great advice, Jean Chretien came to the funeral and they all made us feel a lot better. But John Tory? He sent my Mom a long handwritten letter that we have read many times since. He’s like that: he’s just decent, you know? In these dark Trump times, that matters.
- He’s done what he said he’d do. He said he’d build SmartTrack: it’s being built. He promised to scrupulously follow a code of conduct: he’s done that, and then some. He said he’d keep taxes down, and he’s done that. He said he’d aggressively go after the feds and the province for housing help: he’s done that, too. He said he’d get more cops on the streets, and he’s done that. He’s kept his word, I think.
- He believes in redemption. Some political folks – like Yours Truly, too often – never forget and rarely forgive. Not Tory. When I made a stupid, thoughtless, unfunny, idiotic tweet during 2014’s race, John accepted my apology – and we resumed our friendship. He’s been like that with others, too: when they make mistakes, and make amends, John gives them a second chance. It’s a good thing. Was for me.
- He’s prepared to fight for the city. I can attest to the fact that John Tory has been unafraid to give Hell to Justin Trudeau – and, before him, Stephen Harper. He’s done likewise with the Wynne and Ford governments – for example, in the latter case, just this week hammering Ontario’s new government for changing the municipal election rules during an election. Even though he and Harper belonged to the same party – and even though he and Trudeau share the same vote in Toronto – Tory has always been ready, willing and able to fight for what this city needs. His partisanship is Toronto. I suspect, but don’t know, he has the city logo tattooed somewhere on his body.
- He’s a likeable dude. In politics, even in the Trump era, that still matters. The ones who tend to do well are the ones – like Chretien, like Trudeau, like Tory – who treat others (even adversaries) with respect. That’s the John Tory I’ve known for a decade-and-a-half. Also, he came to see SFH. Points, man.
And it’s why I’m supporting the guy again. And it’s why you should too.