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Wanted, Progressive Mayoral Candidates for 2010

Adam Vaughan photo by fermata.daily from the Torontoist Flickr Pool; Glen Murray photo courtesy of the City of Winnipeg; Shelley Carroll and Adam Giambrone photos via Facebook.

Politics stops for no man, and no retirement.
Hot on the heels of David Miller’s announcement that he will not seek a third term in office—before he had even left the room, in fact—began the speculation about who would campaign to replace him. George Smitherman and John Tory have been the most frequently mentioned candidates from outside City Hall, with Karen Stintz seeming the most likely contender among the right-wing city councillors. [Publisher's note: One key member of Karen Stintz's mayoral campaign exploratory committee is Rob Silver, who is also a co-owner of Ink Truck Media, Torontoist's publishers.] With Miller’s withdrawal from the race comes a new vacuum, for a candidate from the progressive end of the political spectrum.
It’s far too soon to know who the leading candidates might be, but among the names we’ve been hearing mentioned most often are:

Shelley Carroll

Councillor for Ward 33 (Don Valley East) and budget chief under Miller during his second term, Carroll has a reputation for pragmatism which will serve her in good stead in appealing to centrist voters. PROS: experienced, level-headed, represents a non-downtown ward (broadening her appeal further). CONS: too closely tied to Miller, may split the centrist vote with George Smitherman if he runs and leave an opportunity for a right-wing candidate to make more headway.

Adam Vaughan

Councillor for Ward 20 (Trinity-Spadina), Vaughan is often chided for being too stridently ideological by his detractors, but is loved by many for staking out progressive territory without apology. PROS: Vaughan may galvanize many on the left who felt abandoned by Miller’s reluctance to follow through on some more aggressive policy initiative. CONS: Vaughan’s too outspoken and too far to the left to have broad appeal at the moment. Our prediction: he’ll sit this race out, being a relative newcomer to Council, and will consider a bid in two election cycles or so.

Adam Giambrone

Councillor for Ward 18 (Davenport) and TTC Chair, Giambrone was swarmed by members of the press the moment Miller finished speaking. He’s got broad name-recognition due to his work with the TTC and chatter about his startling youth follows him wherever he goes. PROS: well-known, with an established contingent of loyalists who will sweat blood on campaign work if he runs. CONS: viewed as too young and, like Carroll, too close to Miller. We’re hearing that he is seriously considering a bid, but he has a long career ahead of him and may decide to wait depending on reaction over the coming weeks.

Glen Murray

The outside dark-horse candidate, coming not just from outside City Hall but outside the city. Murray is the former mayor of Winnipeg (1998–2004) and has the sexiest track record of any of the progressive potentials, but little profile in the city. He was known as a consensus-builder while in office, and is rumoured to already be putting together a campaign team. PROS: heavy-hitting executive experience, his track record in office, established connections with other mayors across Canada to help with pushing urban issues at other levels of government. CONS: Murray has only lived in Toronto for a few years, and may not have deep enough roots in the community to make much headway.


  • http://undefined karen e

    So I see that in Torontoist world the political spectrum consists of the right wing and the “progressive” wing. I guess we know where you stand.

  • Patrick Metzger

    Yes, can you define what you mean by “progressive”? I get a sense it’s not exactly the OED definition.

  • http://undefined joeclark

    You can’t possibly expect a city blog run by youngsters and co-owned by a Karen Stintz bagman to endorse or even enumerate right-wing candidates.

  • Paul Kishimoto

    Patrick, I think few people actually pay $30 a month to have access to the OED definition. The OED being what it is, it doesn’t record the definition of ‘progressive’ so much as every known or common usage.
    If the much smaller number of meanings in the Wiktionary or Random House definitions will pass, one can narrow it down to:

    favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, esp. in political matters: a progressive mayor.

    as opposed to conservative (wiki):

    disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.

    I can’t see how this is not obvious from the article. Maybe you’re just trolling.

  • David Topping

    Joe Clark’s comment reminded me that we mistakenly forgot to include the little conflict-of-interest notice with respect to Stintz’s potential campaign—that one of the key members of her exploratory committee is Rob Silver, who is also one of the owners of Torontoist’s publishers, though that of course has had and will continue to have no effect whatsoever on the content, or tone, of our coverage. I’ve now added the notice to the second paragraph.

  • Patrick Metzger

    Normally I’m trolling, but in this instance I just regret the imminent transformation of a perfectly useful word defined as “advocating progress, change, improvement or reform” into one meaning “advocating progress, change, improvement or reform of a specific political type“.
    I doubt any of the potential candidates would launch a platform based on preserving the status quo; a good case could be made that the more right-wing candidates would be in favour of the most sweeping change.

  • http://undefined PickleToes

    No more “progressive” candidates. Miller already tarnished their reputation enough, thank you.

  • http://undefined Moonmoth


  • Kevin Bracken


  • http://undefined RealityCheck

    Why would you want a Progressive candidate? No more leftists as Mayor, no more leftists on council!
    Miller proved that they can’t execute on things where EVERYONE agrees. Toronto A La Cart – utter failure. Fixing union contracts – utter failure. Organics program – utter failure. Garbage user fees – utter failure.
    We need a vicious right wing mayor. Michael Thompson would be great. No weak candidates like Tory or Smitherman, no idiots like Ford, no expense account abusers like Stintz. I’d prefer Rudy Giuliani if we are importing people, but his economics are a little too left wing.

  • Patrick Metzger

    Also, my great-grandfather ran for Governor of Vermont on the Progressive ticket back in 1912. While he failed to carry the day, I’m still protective of how the word is used.

  • http://undefined spacejack

    In modern usage, it’s the friendly way of spelling “oppressive”.

  • Kevin Bracken

    Reality check: most of your examples of “progressive failures” were at the bureaucratic level, not political. Most people who work in City Hall continue to work there no matter who’s in power.

  • http://undefined jcrow

    A vicious right wing candidate would “fix” the green bin problem and the union contracts by scrapping them completely. That’s why they’re conservative, as opposed to progressive. I assume such a candidate would also “fix” the traffic by removing bike lanes, supporting bike licensing, and building more roads.
    I agree, RealityCheck, that Rudy “9/11″ Giuliani would be great if we wanted a mayor to introduce racial profiling, crackdowns on marijuana possession, and the privatization of public schools. Personally, that’s not what I’m looking for in a Mayor, but it takes all kinds.
    If Glen Murray is definitely going to run, perhaps a more in-depth article on him in the near future would be useful, Torontoistas? I’ve never heard of the guy before. From the sound of it, he’s a lot more qualified that the other most likely candidate, Giambrone.

  • http://undefined Vincent Clement

    I would welcome the privatization of “public” schools. It would make them far more responsive to the needs of parents and students rather then the needs of the unions and trustees.

  • http://undefined Peter Kucirek

    I’ve had the opportunity to hear Glen Murry speak on issues of urban planning – in Mississauga of all places – as he is part of the team leading ‘sauga’s “Downtown21″ plan to intensify the area around Square One.
    I can’t say I know much of him in all details, but I can say he definitely knows his urban planning. If he’s considering a run, there will be a lot of heavyweights in this election…

  • Paul Kishimoto

    Your remarks betray total ignorance of the effects of privatization on the American school system.

  • http://undefined Jim Beam

    Hey Reality Check, give your head a shake, I think your brain has short circuited. The vast majority of tax-paying Torontonians would prefer a Guiliani style Mayor over one of your so-called “progressive” candidates any day of the week. Mao Tse Miller and his band of socilaist nogoodniks have driven this City into near bankruptcy.

  • Paul Kishimoto
  • Patrick Metzger

    It’s the principal job of the executive to ensure that programs and policies are, you know, executed, regardless of what the bureaucrats want. The measure of a mayor is in not his or her good intentions, but their success in carrying them out.
    Personally I don’t see a few klicks of bike lanes as an attractive trade-off for constant labour strife, skyrocketing taxes (er, “fees”) and a fiscal state that lurches from crisis to crisis without any apparent long-term plan for stability.

  • http://undefined Dave McD

    The title of this piece is pretty offencive given that 80% of the public are fed up with the ‘progressive’ Mayor Miller. All suggestions but Murry are Miller suplicants who have been fiscally irresponsible and do not deserve mention. Tommy Douglas knew that it is not progressive to waste money, to deceive the public and to run a government that is digging a bigger financial whole every year as Miller has done. Progressive now is anyone who can put the financial house in order and that means not another NDPer.

  • http://undefined Solex

    Just what I feared; another neocon moron that will make Toronto into a shithole, and then some, will become elected, thanks to neocon morons like you.

  • http://undefined Solex

    Yeah, and we all know what that means: more cops on the streets, cameras everywhere, programs cut, libraries closed, schools closed unless they teach business practices, and the like, because neocon neanderthals like you know so much better.. Why don’t you emigrate down south, where you can live in your neocon paradise?

  • Patrick Metzger

    I’m neither neocon nor “progressive” (as defined here), but I’d say that “more cops on the streets, cameras everywhere, programs cut, libraries closed” sounds pretty much like the Miller legacy.

  • http://undefined Jim Beam

    A neo-con and a moron? Is that really the best you can do? It never ceases to amaze me at how intellectually challenged socialists like you are.
    As for the City of Toronto becoming a “shit-hole” (as you so eloquently describe it), I have a news flash for you. Toronto is ALREADY a “shithole”. Toronto is in this state precisely because David Miller has chased people like me (high income taxpayers)out of the City. Miller isn’t running for a third term because he can’t get anyone to back him financially, full stop. That whole story about him wanting to spend more time with his family is a complete sham. If he cared so much about his family, why did he get into politics in the first place? Who in his right mind would put his family through that crap? I hate to burst your bubble Solex but your boy Miller is yesterday’s news. The people of this City have rejected him and his politics. It is time to give this City back to the people who pay the bills – neo-Con morons like myself!

  • Paul Kishimoto

    Please stop feeding the trolls.