Citizen X tells it like it is on morning after 2014 Toronto election

Oct 28th, 2014 | By | Category: In Brief

Mayoral candidate John Tory speaks to the media in front of Sherborne Subway station on election day in Toronto, Ontario, Monday October 27, 2014. (Tyler Anderson / National Post).

As Rob Ford stressed during one of his random TV appearances, for a time early on in the evening of Monday, October 27, 2014 Doug Ford was running only about three points behind John Tory. But the final numbers for the big three were John Tory 394,775 votes or 40.3%, Doug Ford 330,610 votes or 33.7%, and Olivia Chow 226,879 votes or 23.1%.

Doug Ford, that is to say, did better than many of his opponents would have liked. But John Tory finally finished six and a half points ahead of him. Mr. Tory may not have even the kind of mandate Rob Ford could claim in 2010, when he won 47.1% of the city-wide vote. But Tory was clearly the most popular of the three main candidates in 2014, and under the current rules of the game clearly deserved to win.

Doug Ford during his concession speech. (Tyler Anderson / National Post).

It is also true enough that, because voter turnout in the 2014 Toronto election was so high (more than 60%  – considerably higher than in the Ontario provincial election this past June), John Tory actually won more absolute numbers of votes in 2014 than Rob Ford won in 2010 (394,775 vs. 383,501 : and note that in 2014 “Four wards had turnout over 70%. Ward 32, in the Beaches, saw 71% turnout”).

Mr. Tory’s ultimate success in getting things done as he has promised will no doubt have a lot to do with his ability to work with the other 44 members of City Council. Intriguingly enough, 37 of 38 members of the 2010 Council seeking re-election were returned to office : “Only incumbent John Parker, who represented Ward 26 Don Valley West, was unseated by challenger Jon Burnside …It was no surprise that [former] Mayor Rob Ford was elected councillor of Ward 2 Etobicoke North by a landslide …”  The other six new faces on council are Stephen Holyday in Ward 3, John Campbell in Ward 4, Justin Di Ciano in Ward 5, Christin Carmichael Greb in Ward 16, Joe Cressy in Ward 20, and Jim Karygiannis in Ward 39.  “The first meeting of the incoming City Council will be on Tuesday, December 2, 2014.”

Olivia Chow, right, arrives at the polling station with (left to right) Sarah Layton, Hugh Campbell, Beatrice Campbell, 5, and Solace, 2, before casting her ballot during the city’s municipal election in Toronto Monday. (Michelle Siu for National Post).

Even many of her opponents agreed that Olivia Chow gave an unusually generous, gracious, and even upbeat concession speech. For the moment at any rate John Tory wisely seems to want to keep her involved in the city’s business. Both Rob and especially Doug Ford were on their best behaviour (such as that is). Doug Ford stressed how he believed in democracy, and accepted the people’s verdict. And he gently chided his supporters when they booed his public congratulations to John Tory. Like his election triumph itself, Mr. Tory’s victory speech about “One Toronto,” and making a “good” city “great,” finally just seemed like something everyone paying attention already knew.

In the end it is hard to escape the feeling that this was indeed some kind of watershed election for today’s City of Toronto, in the midst of much change and struggle along with still generous doses of optimism and self-regard. The dramatic increase in voter turnout suggests that there really are many people living in the city today who believe in its future. More than half its current population was born outside Canada. This was also true in the middle of the 19th century. But then most of those involved had been born in one or another part of the United Kingdom or the United States. Today Toronto is a city of people from all around the world. And it is also just starting to discover the deeper truths about its own modern past. Many in other parts of Canada – and even Ontario, of which it is the capital city – have never warmed to Toronto, of course, of course.  And they no doubt have their good reasons. But if you do live here, and happily enough sat through the 2014 election night watching the results on TV, it was almost fun, as well as vaguely reassuring, for the time being at least.

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