Better button up Tory!

In more than 30 years of dealing with the news media, you find that you can make all the mistakes you will ever need to make in the first week. If you do not clue in during that first week that the news media are not your friends, all is lost. And that is why Toronto mayoralty candidate John Tory’s little elves need to get him to button-up.

John is no longer a radio host able to prattle on as he wishes. We all know he is erudite and knowledgeable. Now he can shut up. He is leaving too many low hanging fruit for his detractors. There are 34 weeks between now and election day and there should be a plan in place (subject to revision) as to what he can say during each of those weeks. There will always be targets of opportunity but the smart politicians know which ones to weigh into.

Case in point is the situation with Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair. Frankly nobody gives a damn if John Tory supports Mr. Blair. The Chief of Police is an employee of the Police Services Board in his role as a civil servant. Telling the media of a candidate’s support for that civil servant is both gratuitous and lousy campaign strategy.

We should not forget the despicable role played by Chief Blair in Prime Minister Harper’s G-20 Weekend of Infamy. There are many who still want Blair charged for that gross mismanagement of the forces at his command. And John Tory needs to make note that the enemy of his enemy is not necessarily his friend.

Besides, getting down in the gutter to mud-wrestle with the Ford boys is not the way to run a gentlemanly campaign. You have to stay away from the scatological, the boorish, the thoughtless, the vulgar, the drug dealers and other distractions. After all, it is only for 34 weeks and you surely have some friends left.

Tory has to refrain from making himself a target. He cannot go around acting like he is some senior Justin Trudeau. Justin is Teflon; Tory is vulnerable. The City of Toronto needs a strong, intelligent and caring mayor who understands the issues facing the city. John Tory should only talk about those concerns. He has to talk only about what Toronto needs today and in the future, He will not necessarily have all the answers but he can offer leadership and he can care.

What the city obviously does not need is Rob Ford, so there is absolutely no reason to talk about him.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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