Key current views from the 6 .. more edgy New Democratic rumours in the big city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Jul 18th, 2014 | By | Category: In Brief

Toronto mayoral candidates from left to right, Olivia Chow, Rob Ford, David Soknacki, Karen Stintz, and John Tory pose with moderator Chris Selley following a mayoral debate in Toronto on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press.

It may be hard to get a word in about anything but the Malaysian airplane disaster in east Ukraine today (or possibly the new Israeli ground offensive in Gaza) — and with good enough reason. But life in our own small corner still goes on.

This week we’ve been at the receiving end of two mid-summer political rumours, from the traditional and venerable if not necessarily contemporary or up-to-date far left of the progressive spectrum in (grimace as you read this) Canada’s most populous province, and metropolis :

(1) “A second-hand report from the [Olivia] Chow Campaign [in the October 27 Toronto mayoral election] indicates … the municipal poll that has [gentleman conservative John] Tory well ahead is an outlier … Sample size was 600 and it was done leading up to and during part of the long weekend … But who knows? We’ll see when the next poll comes out, won’t we?”

Our own more or less objective Citizen X, writing for this site some nine days ago, would more or less agree :”My own guess right now, however, is that it is still a little too early to anoint Mr Tory as the new front runner in the Toronto mayoralty campaign of 2014. If he really has moved into first place, that will be confirmed even by at least some less methodologically rigorous pollsters than Nik Nanos, over the still quite long rest of the hazy lazy summer ahead, and then, more critically, after Labour Day.”

Ontario Provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath, second right, laughs with son Julian Leonetti, second left, sister Susanne, far left, and brother Mike, far right, at Hamilton's Sheraton Hotel prior to polls closing for the 2011 election, Thursday October 6, 2011. Peter J. Thompson/National Post.

Meanwhile, apropos the recent Toronto mayoral debate from Scarborough, see the National Post’s Chris Selley on the utopian fantasy : “Tory and Chow deserve their own debate without Rob Ford as a distraction.” (Mr. Selley btw was the moderator of the Scarborough debate.)

(2) “It seems there is a growing sentiment among some NDPers in Toronto that [Ontario New Democrat leader] Andrea [Horwath] has to go. These folk are of the view that the problem is Andrea, not her team …  One crew is reportedly trying to persuade Andrea to run for mayor of Hamilton to clear her out of the way … How much support for dumping Andrea is there outside Toronto? … it’s a critical question. If the ‘get rid of Andrea’ team is perceived to be pretty much Toronto-only, it doesn’t have much of a chance … everybody hates Toronto.”

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All this makes us think the most interesting thing about the Ontario NDP internal debate right now may be the light it sheds on the wider Toronto/rest of Ontario cleavage. In any case, if we were NDP members we’d want good answers to two questions before jumping on any dump Andrea bandwagon :

(a) Who is her successor, and will he or she be any better? Barring cataclysm it will be four years to the next election. There’s still a lot of time for some convincing alternative to arise. Why rush things?

(b) It’s incontestable that Andrea did better than PC leader Tim Hudak this past June 12. And the at least modest Why of this ought to be answered somehow. More exactly, Ms Horwath lost three seats in Toronto, and won three seats in the rest of Ontario. So … you could say she was doing something right in the election (even from calling it, so to speak, to begin with — almost certainly a good thing from a public interest standpoint, at any rate). Figuring out just what that was/is has to be done before rushing to dump her. You need someone who can win all six seats of course. And more. But what does that mean and who is it? (See above, blah, blah, blah, etc)

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath visits Mayor Rob Ford at City Hall, August 2011.

The related recent National Post piece to note here is “Scott Stinson: Is it time to split Ontario into two provinces, Toronto and Not Toronto?” But enough on this for now. And don’t forget to put on sun block and a hat if it’s sunny at the barbecue.

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Finally, on a further barbecue thought, another three hometown cheers for the great “Canadian recording artist, rapper, songwriter, and actor” Drake (aka Aubrey Drake Graham), who this past Wednesday announced that his new album will be called “Views From the 6.” And according to the guardian.com this album “will reportedly be about his hometown of Toronto.”

Drake has apparently been calling his hometown “the 6” for a while now, borrowing from “his friend Jimmy Prime (AKA Jimmy from the 6).” What the hell does the 6 here mean?  There are apparently two (or two and a half) answers.

The first is that the 6 means the straightforward last digit of the 416 telephone area code for Mike Harris’s late 1990s megacity of Toronto. (Or in a somewhat more complicated or hipper version that has something to do with “Jimmy Prime@Jimmyfromthe6 … 4 1 ( 6 ) 4 7.”)

Rapper Drake laughs at Mayor Rob Ford, at a news conference announcing Toronto will host the 2016 NBA All-Star game, Monday, Sept.30, 2013. FRANK GUNN / THE CANADIAN PRESS.

The second has been explained in a tweet @Jimmyfromthe6 from one “p0ulad … @p0ulad … i like cereal and hockey … Toronto.” Dated March 23, 2014, this reads “the 6 districts too —  scarbs, york, east york, north york, etobicoke, old toronto.” And, politically speaking, from our point of view, all this is truly wonderful. The late 20thC right-wing premier from (the great place of, we agree) North Bay, Ontario, Mike Harris, could replace the old official municipalities of Scarborough, York, East York, North York, Etobicoke, and (Old) Toronto (about the size that San Francisco still is) with one official megacity of Toronto. But more than a dozen years later, the early 21stC hipsters’ scarbs, york, east york, north york, etobicoke, old toronto live on. Because they actually made and still make sense. Why not?

Say whatever you like. All this is pretty cool, eh? Everyone else may still hate it. But the 6 is far from dead yet.

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