The woes of the woman wannabe.

There was an interesting complaint the other day by a reporter that women cannot get elected mayor in Toronto. The complaint was that polls tend to show that while current candidate Olivia Chow might be well supported by woman voters, she loses when you add in the male voters in the poll. The writer goes on to say that no woman can do well municipally in the city since Toronto was amalgamated.

Bunk! All Toronto needs to see as a successful woman candidate is a woman candidate who is worth electing and understands the challenges involved. Exit polls on the October 27 election will show Olivia Chow doing about as well with men as she will with women. The common factor with these voters will be that they are predominantly downtown voters who usually vote for the New Democrats. That is her base vote and it is simply not large enough to beat John Tory. (Besides, women tell pollsters they are backing a woman candidate because they think it looks better.)

The reason Councillor Karen Stintz bowed out of the mayoralty campaign was that she lacked any political base. While obviously right-wing and an earlier Rob Ford supporter, she has never built a base of Conservative or Liberal support.

The reason Doug Ford will lose is that his Conservative base is confused with the Ford Nation label. Ford Nation is an aberration similar to the American Tea Party. These are political extremists of the right, supported by the angry and the losers. They are an embarrassment to the more centrist Conservative supporters of John Tory.

What everyone is reaching for in this Toronto mayoralty campaign is the sizeable Liberal vote that is up for grabs. It is obvious to anyone who knows Toronto’s Liberals that by far the majority have already swung behind Tory. He does not share the ideological stridency of Prime Minister Stephen Harper or former provincial Conservative Leader Tim Hudak. He is a businessman with the ability to negotiate for the city. He can probably run it well.

That is something Olivia Chow cannot do. Try as you will, nobody can show any initiative by Chow as a former councillor or MP that indicates any leadership skills. If she was serious about her political career, she would have had voice training by now to smooth her stilted manner of speaking. She lacked any control of her supporters in the beginning of her campaign and we watched her early lead go nowhere.

There is a great deal of prestige to the job of mayor of Canada’s largest and most vibrant city. The voters should think long and hard about that before voting willy-nilly for some mythical ‘gravy train.’

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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