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Adam Giambrone to Launch Mayoral Campaign February 1

The invitation Giambrone’s team sent out to supporters on Sunday.

Since the day that Mayor David Miller announced that he would not be seeking reelection, Adam Giambrone has been included on any list of potential candidates to replace him: to replace Miller as mayor, and to replace him also as the standard-bearer of the left at City Hall. We have just learned that Giambrone will soon make good on the rumours and the speculation and launch his candidacy in just over a week, with a party at Revival. (It is expected that he will be filing his nomination papers at City Hall earlier that day.)
While many have greeted the prospect of Giambrone’s campaign with some scepticism, citing his youth and growing frustration among many Torontonians with the TTC (of which he is chair), it is also the case that Giambrone enters the race with several organizational advantages that make him impossible to dismiss. He has a long history of involvement with organized labour (he was, among other things, president of the federal NDP from 2001–2006), and thus will be well-placed to make a bid for the majority of union support. It is also rumoured that Giambrone has secured the services of John Laschinger, the formidable political organizer who helped shepherd David Miller to victory in 2003 and 2006.
An Angus-Reid–Toronto Star poll released ten days ago had Giambrone in second place among decided voters, with 17% of the vote compared to 44% for current front-runner George Smitherman. It’s a long time until election day, though—nine months can be several lifetimes in politics—and those numbers will undoubtedly change many times between now and then.

CORRECTION: JANUARY 24, 2010 From 2001 to 2006, Adam Giambrone was the president of the federal NDP—not, as the article incorrectly claimed, the chair of the organization.


  • Karen Whaley

    I think the “youthful smirk” portrait was the wrong way to go.

  • http://undefined PeteMack

    Its about time Councillor, can’t wait to vote for someone who has been challenged enough to gain a lifetime of experience and still come out triumphant. Such a multitasker is well deserving of the vote and will definitely get mine, we need some renewed enthusiasm in Toronto and you seem like the guy to do it compared to our oldschool competition, make us proud!

  • http://undefined Joey

    Giambrone was the President of the federal NDP, not the chair as described in the article.

  • David Topping

    Thanks for catching that—we missed it when we vetted. I’ve updated the article and appended a small correction.

  • http://undefined rocketeer

    How much is union support worth? I would think that making people think Giambrone = TTC/union would hurt more than help.

  • http://undefined Greg Smith

    Maybe. But any photo of him where he isn’t visible enraged is going to subject to the same critique. It’s just the way he looks, right?
    Personally, I’m a little tired of hearing people write Giambrone off on the basis either of his age or, even worse, of his apparent age. People are so quick to complain about politics being chock full of “old white men”, but being young is apparently always counted as a strike against a candidate in any case.
    Anyway, end rant.

  • reetdoontoon

    i feel spoiled for choice……buh….

  • Paul Kishimoto

    Given the kind of ad hominem crap that he’s drawn from critics as a councillor and TTC chair, I shudder to imagine the hysterics the same people could start now. I hope they manage to be more civil than I fear.

  • http://undefined ginkonut

    if this guy cant even get a handle on costs of the st clair street car project (ahem…debacle) then good luck to him as mayor. come feb 1st, i will officially volunteer for smitherman. well at least giambrone can count on the support of the sleepy ttc guys. naps for all!

  • Paul Kishimoto

    …see what I mean?

  • http://undefined James

    It’s predictable stuff, but it’s all part of an election year (that’s not to say I like it).
    Anyway, if what is being reported, this is going to be a fun campaign. I was getting tired of hearing about Liberals jockeying to see who was the ultimate anti-Miller.

  • http://undefined ginkonut

    Paul- are you not the slightest bit angry about the whole waste of money? I live on st clair and have been directly affected by the years long construction. Maybe reading the most recent TTC minutes will jog your memory. Look for the “getting it right” report.

  • http://undefined bigdaddyhame

    wow this is shaping up to be a full on gay vs. gay mayor’s race! Whoever wins, Pride will be awesome!

  • http://undefined Darren

    This guy has zero chance of being elected Mayor. Hopefully he doesnt quit and run for re-election, so we get rid of him once and for all.
    He has done NOTHING for transit in this city. He expanded around the clock bus service in areas that do not warrant it. He accomodated suburban demands and is going to further watering down the TTC with a subway extention to the suburbs who do not provide a cent for its operational cost. He created bus racks on buses that go heavily under used. People either bike or take transit. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen a bike on a bus since they have been installed.
    The guy is a joke.

  • aleksey

    Shouldn’t have the garbage strike of 2009 completely destroyed the notion of government unions being beneficial to the public? And done so for a long, long time?
    Being backed by unions should be a red flag. It means that here’s a guy who, in all likeliness, will put the priorities of the unions BEFORE the priorities of the city residents (to get re-elected). Unions aren’t anything more than a ‘special interest group’ and they use their power to get contracts, which in the ‘real world’ would never get signed. Not to mention that the resident feed the bill, via higher and/or new taxes.
    Being able to balance the budget should be the #1 quality for a candidate, not the ability to get endorsements from NOW Magazine or Local 95.

  • http://undefined Svend

    I’ll wait to hear his ideas as well, but Miller got in by downplaying his NDP past – not by promoting he had union backing.
    Definitely favour him over Smitherman or Rossi though and Pantalone or the others haven’t gotten much attention from the media.

  • aleksey

    More so, TTC is a joke.
    Leaving the country names aside, I’ve used transit lines in Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Western Europe and a Pacific Rim Asian country. ALL of them, with the obvious exception of the Eastern European transit, put TTC to shame. We like to think Toronto is a world-class city, but it hurts my throat to annunciate “world class”, while knowing how truly far TTC is to anything remotely close of ‘world class’. The system is a (bad) joke. And the guy running it is now running for mayor?! Effing great.
    p.s. Ok, the TTC did improve over the last 2-3 years, but these are baby steps. They now announce stops, apologize for the delays and call us ‘customers’. And yes, it’s better than the Hamilton public transit (which is not exactly the high standard for public transit in the first place). I know TTC is cash-strapped, but that might just have something to do with the incompetence of (at least some of) the people who run it. Albeit, I applaud their policy re metropasses (transfer-ability of them and the university student discounts).

  • http://undefined Lands Down

    That’s inevitable, it’s municipal politics! Go look at the comments already posted on BlogTO.
    I hope Giambrone’s supporters don’t dismiss all criticism of him as ad hominem. To the extent that he’s been closely allied to the current Mayor, there’ll be plenty of valid and reasonable criticism to come.

  • http://undefined Peter K

    I think this is great news for the City of Toronto. Once Giabrone gets trounced in his Mayoralty bid it will means one fewer Communist on Council.
    We need more people who respect taxpayers and Giambrone is certainly not one.

  • Mark Ostler

    Just thought I’d clarify at least one of your assertions Darren. The Spadina Subway Extension was approved by City Council in 2005, before Giambrone became TTC chair (this happened at the end of 2006). Additionally, environmental assessments were completed (and York Region’s EA was approved by the province) before Giambrone became chair. Finally, the province committed hundreds of millions in funding for the extension, again before Giambrone became chair. Hard for a new TTC chair to walk away from a project that’s already been supported at the municipal and provincial levels and has significant funding in place. Even if he did want to cancel the work that had already begun, it wouldn’t be his decision alone. The commission and city council would have to vote to back down.
    It seems that Giambrone’s taking heat for a lot of initiatives that began under the previous chair. St. Clair is another example. The commitment to that project was made two years before Giambrone became chair. Of course, that doesn’t excuse the delays and cost overuns that affected the project while he was chair, but a few commenters here (many more at BlogTO) seem to have lost sight of the fact that he’s only been chair for three years.

  • http://undefined panko

    Awesomely bad timing to launch a campaign but, of course, he can’t control the sleep habits of TTC employees. On another note, I found it strange that in the current edition Toronto Life refers to Giambrone as “brainiac” and I recall other media using similar labels… What did he achieve to get them? I can see that he was politically active and successful but intellectually he doesn’t strike me as a heavyweight (not that it helps necessarily, just ask Michael I). His tenure at TTC has been so far mediocre – he is getting a lot of heat for thigs beyond his control (and I fully recognize that TTC’s funding structure is the main culprit for its woes) but he didn’t really excel at anything in particular. In a way, he is getting some additional benefit BECAUSE of his age, it seems as I still can’t figure out what in his record would make him a good mayoral candidate….

  • http://undefined PeteMack

    Let’s be serious, a lot of the TTC’s problems were ncontrollable, he is the Chair, not the God of the TTC so naturally the blame comes to him, but honestly as a politician, he has done some amazing things for his ward and is a people person, if you all haven’t met him, I suggest you get to know him before judging him, and unlike other candidates, HE IS ACCESSIBLE. Not to mention he takes the TTC, so he understands the plights of riders, our transit system is one of the best in NOrth America, so let’s start being grateful and looking forward rather than sounding like snobby, spoilt rich kids who didn’t get the helicopter but got the ferrari. The city is still in financial need, and expanding transit lines is an economic genius, let alone brilliant, it’ll expand ridership and help our economy two-fold, how can you not see that?

  • http://undefined Rachel Lissner

    As long as Rossi doesn’t win, things will be fine.

  • Darren

    Well, he was behind the cancellation of the DRL study. The money they planned on saving is nothing compared to the money they are willing to spend on other artsy projects.

  • Darren

    No, he walks around like he is god of the TTC. He, like Moscoe, have gone beyond being chair and are now becoming management in place of the GM. His idea to expand around the clock bus service in less deserving areas of the city has only increased the operating loss. He like Miller operates on ideology and therefore does pet projects to win votes and does not focus resources on things that work. I along with hundreds of thousands of rate paying Torontonians ride streetcars older then me and this guy, so why are giving brand new subways and extension to non-dedictated riders in Vaughan?
    His ward? You mean when he refused to help organize a Portuguese cultural event, and then threatend the councillor who did?
    He takes the TTC? Yeah we all heard of him being too busy politiking to realise that he is blocking the door.
    Expaning lines is not an economic genius. Any monkey’s ass can. Expanding correctly and with vision is something unique to people like the planner of the Bloor Viaduct who planned for a lower subway platform years before the BD line even existed. Giambrone is creating a white elephant with the LRTs as our subway stations at midtown are packed and placing more riders on packed subway trains isnt going to help.

  • http://undefined Darren

    Yeah, John Tory is a far better representative of fiscal conservatism then Rossi.
    Too bad neither John nor Karen Stinz are running.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    I think you mean corporations. Unions don’t “get contracts”. This isn’t NYC.

  • dandmb50

    I think he would be a good candidate but doubt if he has a chance, and with all the negative talk lately with the TTC don’t think that would help him. But you never know what will happen.
    Daniel ………. Toronto

  • http://undefined Dave McD

    Giambrone is culpable for TTC St. Clair disaster as he has praised the TTC employees quality and the system’s efficiency relentlessly from day one in Council as have the rest of his Millerite allies. He is part of a continuum of fiscal incompetence by the NDP on the TTC spending issue and was the vice Chair for the term before being Chair so has been on board for the whole rotten ride without at any time questioning evidence of fiscal waste.

  • Robin Rix (Guest Contributor)

    I find it hard to see how the stars can align for a Giambrone victory. Miller got elected in 2003 thanks to voter fatigue with Lastman’s antics, voter anger against the provincial Tories (who were turfed only one month previously), connections to Bay Street from his days as a law firm partner, a reputation as a competent and decent councillor, a superbly run campaign, and excellent oratory on the stump … and still only squeaked out a 5% margin of victory.
    Giambrone doesn’t have all of these advantages, and post-amalgamation Toronto ain’t particularly left-leaning. (Hell, parts of the old City of Toronto used to elect Betty Disero, Tom Jakobek, and Chris K-K.) The ~500,000 Liberal voters in federal and provincial elections will vote for one of their own if given a good reason, and very few Tory voters – who, while geographically dispersed, are more numerous than typically thought – are going to vote for the former president of the federal NDP.
    The guy’s not dumb, so he must know all of this. While he obviously can’t admit it publicly, I doubt that he’s running to win; rather, he’s running to be the flag-bearer of the left. As long as he puts in a credible performance, he sets himself up nicely for: (a) a run in 2014 or 2018 if the wheels fall off the next mayor’s regime; (b) a federal or provincial run; or (c) leadership of a prominent civic group or NGO. My money’s on (c), followed by (b) down the road. Dude’s got time.
    Besides, if he doesn’t run and stays as councillor, he’ll effectively be in opposition to Smitherman, Rossi, or whoever else comes out of the woodwork. Not so much fun after what he has now.
    Giambrone isn’t trying to model his career after Miller. He’s trying to model it after an NDP councillor who ran for mayor at 41, lost in a landslide in the old City of Toronto, came in from the cold, and just over 11 years after his kamikaze mayoralty run became a prominent national figure. Here’s looking at you, Jack.

  • http://undefined Patrick

    I think Giambrone (not to mention Miller) have done excellent jobs considering the very tight fiscal limits in which they’ve been placed. Both are running cash-strapped organizations. And at the same time, both the city and the TTC require massive infrastructure investments urgently if Toronto is to remain a functioning city. The city’s right wing earns no respect from me for not acknowledging this situation. Yes, there is some waste in both organizations, but to say that that is the primary reason the city is running budgets, or why TTC service has such a bare-bones feeling to it, while ignoring the fact that the provincial and federal governments have placed our city in a financial headlock is dishonest. Years of civic poverty have, if anything, contributed to structural waste and a lack of imaginative management. A system that is under constant financial siege, struggling just to keep the lights on, is not the sort of place where creative thinking and risk-taking is encouraged. For Miller, Giambrone, etc to have launched things like Transit City and the Tower Renewal program shows their value to our city’s future.
    Unfortunately our media, especially our city hall columnists, is more often than not all too happy to perpetuate the misconception that City Hall has all the money it needs, but that is all disappears into a black hole somewhere. If we don’t taking a longer view back and all start realizing the city is struck in a permanent state of poverty by the design of the province and Ottawa, things will go on as they have been no matter who is running City Hall.

  • http://undefined Rachel Avila

    From what I’ve seen and heard of Adam he is genuinely well-intended, endearing, and completely capable of holding the position of Toronto’s mayor.
    The more I learn about him, the more I am convinced his experience, accessibility, charisma, and objective will make him an amazing mayoral candidate!
    I really hope he runs!