In Toronto, one question to ask about mayoral re-election

What does Mayor John Tory need to do now to win re-election?

One thing he can’t afford to do, says the just-released poll, is walk away now from the job he took from another longtime Liberal mayor, Rob Ford, in 2014.

The city is going through an existential crisis, says Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, independent commissioner for the province’s Representative for Children and Youth, and the mayor needs to remain at the helm.

That sounds like advice from someone who knows what it’s like to try to hold onto a job you want, and people who want you out.

But as Tim May, a downtown media consultant and Bill Yorker, an independent political consultant and NDP candidate for mayor, emphasized, there are other questions the mayor needs to answer.

First is health.

Tory has been convalescing since his heart attack last month. Having him present at City Hall or take to social media needs to be addressed if he wants to get re-elected.

I talked to some Toronto residents about whether Tory should resign. Here’s what they had to say.

Joe Clement, a 64-year-old retired teacher, says he’s sick of Tory’s tactics and has had enough.

“I just feel very underwhelmed and disillusioned by his administration, his response to climate change and his handling of municipal issues,” he says. “He has done nothing but dumb down the mayor’s office, and I feel like he should step down.”

Ellen Elrod, 61, says she’s “not excited about his direction.”

“He has no direction whatsoever,” she says. “No vision for what he’s going to do, and he has been underperforming for years.”

Ron Goewe, 52, is surprised by Tory’s plan to proceed with a future casino project, saying he believes it is not an appropriate use of Toronto’s resources.

“We have just enough money now,” says Goewe, who is a contractor and video technician. “I just can’t afford to watch another city contract get wasted on an enterprise I don’t see any merit in.”

Judy Romanowski, 61, calls the mayor’s position on an expanded marijuana trade both inefficient and confusing.

“I hate to say it, but it sounds like he’s doing it to distract from his failure to be a good mayor,” she says.

Marie-Louise Biron, 77, says she’s wondering if she should get out of Toronto altogether, just because of Tory.

“I just think he’s a failure and I find it very difficult to believe he will win.”

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