Toronto’s Phoney War begins.

The endurance contest in Ontario that has replaced municipal election races has its own challenges and strategies. The Toronto mayoralty race can be considered launched Monday with the official entry of Councillor Karen Stintz and former provincial Conservative Leader John Tory. And like the period from September 1939 to April 1940, it can be described as a “Phoney War.”

But there were many casualties on land and sea in that period of the Second World War and there will be casualties by the time the Toronto mayoralty contest comes down to the basic three. By the end of the summer, the race is expected to consist of the also-rans and Olivia Chow, Rob Ford and John Tory.

Olivia Chow is the only still undeclared candidate but she will have to move fast now as people are already wondering about her obvious expenses—which are illegal if she is not declared. Most of the people working for her must be betting on the Come but she is accumulating far too many political debts for a sensible campaign.

Meanwhile, Rob Ford can spend whatever is necessary to try to hold on to enough of his support in a three-way race. It is simple mathematics to reason that he can win with as little as 35 per cent of the voters who get to the polls. And it is important to note that both Ford and Tory are personally wealthy. One of the loopholes in municipal election law in Ontario is that candidates can spend as much of their own money as they wish. It is the outside funding that is restricted.

This is John Tory’s last political hurrah and he will pull no punches. It is interesting to note that he understands the job of mayor as well if not better than Rob Ford. He does not have Ford’s populist instincts but he sure beats him in sincerity and trustworthiness. He also beats him in management experience, political experience and good manners.

To the chagrin of the Olivia Chow exploiters, she has never even led a pack of Brownies. As a city councillor and as a Member of Parliament, Chow has had a less than spectacular career. While the people around her think that makes them more important to her campaign, watch for the day she believes their propaganda for her and tries to do something on her own. There will be some interesting campaign bloopers in that camp.

But this is a long race. We will save our bets until Labour Day.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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