Thursday, August 19, 2010

Canadian Politics Taking Ugly Tone of American Electioneering

Want to be mayor of Canada’s largest city? Hope you don’t have a past, because it’ll come out and that’ll be it – no mayor’s office for you.

Or at least that’s what’s going on in Toronto, Canada, where candidates are fighting an ugly battle for a municipal election this coming October.

Today, long-time Toronto councillor Rob Ford held a press conference to spill the beans on his impaired driving and having an illegal substance charge. While he was in the United States over a decade ago, he got pulled over and was charged for failing to take a breathalyser and for having a joint in his pocket.

The drug charge was dropped, but he admits to doing community service for the DUI charge.

So what? Are we seriously going to deny a man a job because of something stupid he did in his youth? Don’t we all make stupid decisions at some point in our youth? I sure know I did. That’s all just part of growing up.

But leave it to Toronto’s media – and this is even playing on national and some international wires – to play this story up as if it were the be all and end all for deciding who should run Canada’s largest city.

Not that I’m all too happy with the selection – in my not so humble opinion, none of the candidates has convinced me that they deserve the big lofty office, huge mayoral salary, and prestige of being in charge of the country’s economic engine.

I’m sure all the candidates running are really great people, but if the best they can come up with is trumping up ghosts from their competitor’s past, they really don’t know what the needs and wants of the people are, and shouldn’t be running the show.

Actually, this whole story stinks of American political campaigns, where campaign managers do whatever it takes to make their competition look outright evil.

We Canadians are supposed to be better than that, peaceful, overly polite. Yes we need to debate the issues, but those issue stretch far deeper than the colourful past of a handful of players.

Too bad the wanna-be mayors of Toronto, Canada just don’t get that.

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