2010 Villain: The Neverending Election
Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains—Toronto’s very best and very worst people, places, and things over the past twelve months. From December 13–17: the Villains! From December 20–24, the Heroes! And, from December 27–30, you can vote for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.
In the history of the world, has anything ever lasted as long as the 2010 Toronto municipal election? Although it wasn’t until January of this year that candidates were officially allowed to register, it was really all the way back on September 25, 2009, when David Miller announced that he would not be seeking a third term in office (tear!), that we stopped living in the city of Toronto and started living in the dismal burg of Electiontown. And that’s where we spent the next thirteen months: Electiontown, the place where everything sucks. The candidates, the debates, the “scandals,” the constant barrage of opinion polls—all of these things absolutely sucked. In fact, so much sucked that it’s sometimes easy to forget how many sucky things actually went on for such an incredibly long, sucky time.
People were angry. They were angry about the garbage, certainly, and about taxes. They got so angry that their anger fused together into a minivan, and out of that minivan stepped Rob Ford, possibly the most mystifyingly popular Canadian since Justin Bieber. But there were other candidates, right? Those bald guys, the little dude, that lady, and even, at one point, adorable whippersnapper Adam Giambrone. Who knew that he would almost immediately fall victim to the most boring sex scandal we’ve ever heard of?
Seriously, the Giambroner, or Giambroglio, or whatever you want to call it, was, without a doubt, the dullest, most who-cares sex scandal we can recall, and it left us confused about several things. When did the Toronto Star get in the business of publishing sexts as news? Why did the Giambrone camp deal with the situation so poorly? Why did anyone even care that a mayoral candidate had sex with people other than his girlfriend—weren’t we over this back when we found out Mel Lastman had a whole secret second family living in shame and poverty? And why did this event end Giambrone’s political career while Rob Ford was able to shake off scandal after scandal after scandal simply by repeating the phrase “gravy train” like a devotional chant?
We waited for an exciting candidate to throw their hat into the ring. Oh, how we waited. Instead, we got interminable debates that played out like Combat des Clips for the same five soundbytes, and numerous, increasingly depressing polls that surely shaped public opinion as much as they reported on it. The mayoral race dominated conversations, the media, and Facebook, which teamed with pointless point-and-click protest groups. “Election fatigue” doesn’t accurately describe the way we felt—”election utter exhaustion” is more like it.
Of course, we don’t live in Electiontown anymore. We’re in a strange, new place where losing the city millions of dollars is all part of a “fiscally conservative” plan, Don Cherry wants to save the trees, and we’re probably gonna be stuck with some very expensive hole-making machines that we’re not allowed to make holes with. Here’s to 2011, Toronto. Let’s hope it doesn’t suck.