Is City Politics Moving Towards Party or Collaborative Politics?
“Mayoral candidate Joe Pantalone threw his support behind like-minded political rookie Mike Layton, who in turn did the same as candidates build the alliances they hope will bolster their chances of winning on Oct. 25.
Mr. Pantalone, an NDP supporter, said he intends to endorse “a lot of ” candidates vying for council and not just those with left-leaning ties.
“Obviously, people will have to agree to certain rules of engagement like you would in any team that you put on a field, but differences are fine,” Mr. Pantalone, the city’s deputy mayor, told reporters yesterday during a joint news conference. Mr. Layton, the son of federal NDP leader Jack Layton, is running in the downtown Trinity Spadina ward that Mr. Pantalone currently represents.”
– National Post – May 27, 2010
The 2010 election is generating much discussion about the way in which the political process works. As you know, at least in theory, political parties are not allowed to officially run candidates in elections. That has not stopped them from endorsing candidates, nominating candidates to run on a Party Platform and working on the campaigns of NDP candidates. The NDP has been particularly active in endorsing and nominating candidates. For example, Jack Layton was in 1991 the official NDP candidate for Toronto mayor.
The NDP has and continues to work hard to seek out and endorse candidates in Toronto Ward 29. There is no other political party that works so arduously to involve themselves in Toronto politics. The NDP does this by:
– seeking and endorsing NDP municipal candidates
– campaigning for and with municipal candidates
– participating in NDP fundraising for municipal candidates
– encouraging people to actually get out and vote for their candidates (this is very important in an election environment with low voter turnout)
(Many of these NDP backed candidates are fine individuals and could conceivably be fine City Councillors. My concern is with the direct involvement of political parties in general, and the NDP in particular in Toronto city politics. If we are to ban corporations and unions from financing candidates, surely we cannot allow political parties to contribute endorsements and campaigning which are far more valuable.)
This suggests that, at least in Ward 29, with a low voter turnout, the combination of an endorsement and assistance from the NDP is worth a minimum of 5000 votes. (Given that Case Ootes has retired, the NDP endorsement may even be worth more!) This gives the NDP a strong “head start” in ward 29. Once again, unless you want four more years of the NDP in City Council, you must get out and vote!
It is hardly surprising that the Toronto City Council has a strong NDP contingent.
J. Cowan writing for the National Post commented that:
“Indeed, the NDP involvement in municipal politics is a long-standing source of contention. In the recent election campaign, the party held a nomination meeting in Ward 21 Trinity-Spadina to determine whether Helen Kennedy or Tam Goosen would receive the NDP’s blessing. After a hard fought battle, Ms. Kennedy won the nomination, but then lost the election to former journalist Adam Vaughan.
For some, Ms. Kennedy’s defeat was a clear vote against civic parties. But across the city, the NDP demonstrated the influence it could have on local issues. First-time candidate Diane Alexolopoulos came within 20 votes of defeating former deputy mayor Case Ootes in Ward 29 after receiving support from federal leader Jack Layton and other party luminaries.”
If you are an NDP supporter this is great news, don’t talk and whatever you do, don’t encourage people to vote!
If you are not an NDP supporter, then you had better get out and vote!
I guarantee you that on October 25, 2010 the NDP rank and file will be voting!