The National Post reports that John Tory, former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, is reconsidering his January decision to sit out the November municipal election as mayoral candidate to “pursue a different course with my life and career.” Seeing how well right-of-centre candidate, Rob Ford, has been doing against a predominantly left-of-centre field, heavy pressure from friends and political allies and encouraging internal polls seem to have led to second thoughts.
Goodness knows Toronto needs a steady, conservative hand on the tiller, but I question whether this is in John Tory’s best interests. Surely he must still be feeling the sting from last year’s loss of the provincial by-election that forced him to resign as Ontario Progressive Conservative leader. And remember this came after losing his own seat in the disastrous 2007 Ontario general election in which the Ontario PC party he led won just 24 of 107 seats. We should also remember he lost in 2003 against David Miller, the outgoing mayor who has made such a hash of things at Toronto’s city hall.
Nothing that I’ve read or heard gives me any confidence that John Tory will succeed at another attempt at electoral politics. I’m sure he’s doing a great job as chairman of the Toronto City Summit Alliance and as talk-show host at Newstalk 1010. That’s the sort of thing he’s good at—very good at. But he’s not so good at winning elections. He’s good at helping others get elected, but, apparently, not himself.
Notwithstanding his string of previous electoral losses and his treatment by foes and friends alike after losing to Liberal MPP Rick Johnson, Tory is said to be optimistic after private surveys suggested he’d do well against front-running candidates Rob Ford and George Smitherman, former Liberal cabinet minister.
I can’t help wondering why he wants to get mired in that mess they call Toronto city hall. Toronto’s finances are like those of a third-world country and the mayor has limited powers to turn it around. And why is it that Tory seems unable to make up his mind about such things? Why can he not make a decision and move on. Remember his indecision over whether to resign after the 2008 leadership review vote (he got 66.9%)? It took him three hours to decide on something he must have been thinking about for months before the PC party meeting in London.
That inability to quickly and decisively make decisions raises doubts about the sort of mayor he’d be. I think John should stick to his guns and sit this one out.