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Can Sarah Thomson Keep It Real all the Way to the Mayor’s Chair?

Short answer: not this time, but she could be playing the long game.

Photo from Sarah Thomson’s Twitter account.

Remember how much fun we had in the municipal election of 2010? It boasted a field of candidates so spectacularly ineffectual that all were defeated by Rob Ford, who, although not yet the towering figure of notoriety he is today, had already managed to convince a great many people he was unfit to be mayor of anything more sophisticated than a Habitrail full of gerbils.

Although most of 2010′s other also-rans have avoided putting new targets on their backs, Sarah Thomson has chosen to step up to the plate once again.

One of Thomson’s defining qualities is showmanship, and she registered for the race in classic Thomson style, turning up at City Hall in some kind of horse-drawn beer cart after tumblring a poem she wrote herself on the topic of subway expansion in Toronto (as of this morning, that tumblr account is “not found”).

While she’s always had a knack for grandstanding, Thomson’s style has shifted since her last shot at Toronto’s top job. In place of the besuited pro-business candidate of 2010, we find a dread-locked, poetry-spouting, street-dancing free spirit (presumably aware that perceived eccentricity isn’t always a vote-grabber, in her campaign video she devotes a full 44 seconds of a four-minute interview, conducted by her young son, to explaining that she wears dreadlocks because she’s “keeping it real”).

In general, Thomson’s website is trite and uninformative—the platform section, for example, is made up only of a series of bullet points espousing some generally admirable things that she wants to do, like building subways, revamping city council, and getting more movies shot in Toronto. At this point, little detail is provided on the hows, although she does get points for openly supporting road tolls for transit funding.

What does Thomson’s entry mean for the race? Practically speaking, nothing. In 2010, she was shuffled into the “credible candidate” category by virtue of a paucity of choices, relentless self-promotion, and the media’s searching for someone to interview who wasn’t a disgruntled white man. However, in a field of qualified, experienced contenders like Chow, Tory, Stintz, and Soknacki—as well as Mayor Ford—Thomson’s chances of victory are effectively zero.

Still, it doesn’t pay to underestimate her—in spite of being previously unknown, at one point in 2010, at least one poll placed her third behind Ford and Smitherman, with a respectable 17 per cent of the vote.

It may well be that Thomson is playing the long game, building her brand for the next mayoral contest in 2018. Maybe by then, Mayor Chow, depressed by the daily sight of Rob Ford in an oversized novelty mayors’ sash posing for pictures with tourists in Nathan Phillips Square, will decline to run for re-election. If perennial bridesmaid John Tory is still at that time in the midst of his standard seven-year hibernation cycle between failed election bids, and if few new candidates rally to the call to take on such an unforgiving and thankless job, maybe Thomson and her chutzpah could make it to the top.

Comments

  • ATELIER IVAAN

    Oh, please. There is nothing credible or “real” about Thomson. Not the dreadlocks, not the pony-and-trap (if I saw that trotting along the street while I was on the streetcar trying to get to work during rush hour, I’d be rightfully steamed), not the “poetry”, not the sad attempts at songwriting. In the 2010 election, who called George Smitherman corrupt and then threw her support behind him? This is someone who is desperate for attention – another Rob Ford, in other words. If four years is enough for Olivia Chow, there are plenty of admirable contenders for the job of Mayor in 2018, including several councillors who have been doing an impressive job throughout the Ford Fiasco. And, as for Mr. Ford, he won’t be seen at City Hall after October 27th. If he’s still alive and not in jail, he’ll have another “come to Jesus moment” and this time actually go to addiction rehab. Unfortunately, it won’t do any good, because he doesn’t have the attention span required to stick with it. It’s sad to say, but the only thing that would be good for Ford is a stint in the army, to get rid of that sense of entitlement. As for the Toronto news media, they missed a golden opportunity for a headline: a photo of Sarah Thomson on her horse-drawn carriage with the caption: “Surrey With A Lunatic Fringe On Top.”

    • TheSotSays

      Well Ivan, I can’t speak to “credible” or “real” when it comes to Thomson but I can speak to real when it comes to Olivia Chow.

      What’s real about Chow is that in 2009 her expenses as an MP totalled a spectacular $530,000. She has a well recognized reputation for plundering the public purse and the Toronto Branch NDP is dreaming if they think they can get her elected.

      • ATELIER IVAAN

        So you don’t like Olivia Chow. Then don’t vote for her. The article, however, is about Sarah Thomson’s chances of becoming Mayor. We ended up with Ford as Mayor because nearly 800,000 eligible voters did not cast a ballot. When we can mobilize these 800,000 to get out and vote, I will believe that whatever candidate is elected represents the wishes of the people. Fortunately, I think there will be fewer complacent Torontonians this time around. And it’s IVAAN, not Ivan.

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          Sotty is a troll, apparently washed ashore from the Sun‘s site; pay him no mind.

        • TheSotSays

          Oh, Ivaan, sorry old buddy I missed it and I shouldn’t have because in real life my name is George Psmith (the P is silent) and I get it all the time.

          The article however is about Sarah Thompson. So if you don’t like her don’t vote for her.

          In the last federal election the NDP elected several “youthful” candidates who had never even been in the riding where they were elected. If we see any of that in Toronto I believe there’s going to be big trouble.

          • dsmithhfx

            Olivia is coming to your house to slap you, right now. Pull the curtains and hide.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            The NDP didn’t elect them, the people of Quebec did. A similar thing is also impossible at the municipal level as there are no parties or candidate nominations. I know conservatives generally aren’t too keen on democracy, but try to grasp the basics if you insist on talking.

          • TheSotSays

            I’m not so sure the people of Quebec did elect them and neither is Harper apparently.

            It’s pretty well known that the left wing parties are using United Sates based election consultants to advance their left wing views. The United States is known to be suffering from election fraud on account of such consultants. Harper has just changed the election laws as a step to prevent the acceptance of votes from people who can’t properly identify themselves.

          • spicygarage

            “I am reminded at this point of a fellow I used to know, whose name was Henry. Only to give you an idea what an individualist he was, he spelled it “H-E-N-3-R-Y” — the “3″ was silent, you see.”

            —Tom Lehrer

          • TheSotSays

            Ah yes Tom Lehrer, “When You are Old and Grey” and that beautiful piano.

            Your world must been well brightened by “Hen3ry.” ( I’m laughing now)

            But “Leave it to Psmith” was written in 1923 by P.G. Wodehouse. “Claude Eustace Psmith” changed the spelling himself to distinguish himself from the other Smiths (The P is silent as in pshrimp)

        • bobloblawbloblawblah

          Sots is a troll. Ignore him/her.

          • TheSotSays

            What are you so afraid of Blowbob?

        • http://www.mernagh4mayor.ca Matt Mernagh

          Maybe start marketing to the non voter instead of bemoaning how they don’t vote. Great body of unwashed voters out there.

      • dsmithhfx

        Monomaniac.

  • FordSockPuppet

    I love the symbolism of the horse drawn carriage. She’s going to take us back to a better day in 1895? Seriously, what’s the horse drawn carriage supposed to convey?

    • bjhtn

      It conveys that she read Historicist a couple of weekends ago.

      • FordSockPuppet

        Well, it’s good to know she reads Historicist.

  • OgtheDim

    The Long game?!?!

    She’d have a problem getting elected a school board trustee 4 years from now, let alone mayor.

    Norm Gardiner has more political bonafides then her, and he has gun issues.

  • TheSotSays

    “2010 boasted a field of candidates so spectacularly ineffectual that all were defeated by Rob Ford”

    That’s true to a certain extent but the main reason for the election of Rob Ford was the stench of Dave Miller and the NDP. And when Olivia Chow showed up last week most of us started holding our noses once again.

    Thompson is a garland of roses in comparison.

    • ATELIER IVAAN

      And it’s THOMSON, not Thompson.

      • TheSotSays

        I don’t really care, she doesn’t come when you call her anyway.

  • HotDang

    This election needs a gong.

  • dsmithhfx

    Ford started the last election as the joke candidate/village idiot, and look how that turned out.

    • Testu

      Ford ended the last election as the joke candidate/village idiot too, he just also happened to get elected mayor.

      • dsmithhfx

        Too true.

        • TheSotSays

          This year’s joke candidate is Olivia Chow but her chance of pulling it off is approximately zero.

          • dsmithhfx

            Why so obsessed?

          • TheSotSays

            I hate the thought of my wallet being plundered by an NDP expert.

          • dsmithhfx

            But you said the chance of that happening is “approximately zero”.

          • TheSotSays

            It is. Why are you so obsessed with me. I’m beginning to think you might be one of Shelly’s little creations.

            If you are you certainly fit the NDP demographic.

          • dsmithhfx

            You hate the thought of something that has “approximately zero” chance of occurring, in your estimation… do you find it unbearable? How do you sleep? What keeps you from going mad?

            oh.

          • TheSotSays

            What keeps me from going mad is the thought that you beat me to it and I don’t want to hurt your self esteem..You have enough problems as it is.

          • dsmithhfx

            I’m not obsessed, just fascinated by the strange contradiction encompassed in your erratic scrivenings: irrational phobia, rage, and loathing for an eventuality you hasten to dismiss as utterly improbable.

            You make a good case study of what makes Ford Nation tick, at least the lunatic fringe.

          • TheSotSays

            Do you know that for 5 bucks Gord Perks will sell you an NDP “erratic scrivenings” fluffy with your picture on it.

            Chow is finished. Her hangers-on are all exactly like you and the voters will not tolerate it any longer.

          • dsmithhfx

            Whatever you choose to do with the “fluffy mitt” in the privacy of your own home is OK by me. Knock yourself out!

          • TheSotSays

            You’ve already proved conclusively that privacy isn’t one of your marxist NDP strong points.

            You and Rob seem to be having equal trouble with your “truthiness.”

            By the way, there’s no “mitt” to be quoted there. You must have a reading disability, do you?

          • dsmithhfx

            No, you have a writing disability.

          • TheSotSays

            It can’t be that much of a disabilty n’est ce pas?
            It has the NDP freak truthie trollers tying themselves into frenzied little knotty wotties.

          • dsmithhfx

            You have a talent for baffling with your deranged posts, and boring through sheer repetition. Other than that, you don’t really contribute anything of interest. You’re a troll, that’s what you do.

          • TheSotSays

            No that’s what you do, you do it for the Toronto group NDP. And if my assessment is correct you’re paid by United States based election manipulators to carry it out.

            It’s intolerable.

          • mixandserve

            I have to agree with TheSlotSays, the NDP ARE winning hearts and minds across the city, province, and the country.

            I know for a few years there it was heretical to their former (admittedly weirdo) base (see Reform Party for similar examples of weirdo extremists), but the NDP did it, and did so by throwing off their history and re-inventing themselves. In listening to the people and reversing course of their most polarizing ideologies, they’ve seen gains at every level of government across the country, and the stats speak for themselves: continued upwards gains, mostly at the expense of the Cons.

            Like TheSlotSays predicted, once the NDP got a grip, they beat the Cons and the Libs at their own game–focusing on delivering maximum value and outlaying minimum tax dollars wasted. Amazing!

            Never though t I’d see the day TheSlotSays and I would agree, but we finally do. I should drop by his room at St. Christopher’s House and put an orange election sign out front on the lawn! :)

          • TheSotSays

            The problem is the hearts and minds being won by the NDP are only 4 years old and still in kindergarten. You can’t beat the allure of a 300 pound NDP kindergarten teacher to a four year old.

  • GavinPitchford

    Still waiting for an original idea from any one of the other “contenders”. Calling for road tolls on non residents is a damn good idea. We need to pay for transit and road infrastructure somehow, and so far, Sarah’s the only candidate with any plan to do so (excluding the plan to get other levels of gov’t to do it all)

  • Greg

    This is Fringe Festival material! What set do any of you see as most befitting the Rob Forhorrord Show? A subway train, the comfortable designer chairs in the councilor lounge, or a Tim Hortons in Scarborough?

    Out with Ford is the prime objective, at this point any of these contenders will be a vast improvement. Chow, Tory, or Soknaki.