A few supporters are hoping disaffected refugees from Ford Nation will flock to John Tory.
With all the craziness surrounding Mayor Rob Ford in recent days—did he smoke crack or didn’t he?—it’s not a stretch to imagine that some of Toronto’s conservative-leaning voters are starting to wish, if they weren’t already wishing, that there were another candidate who could take up their banner in the 2014 municipal election. Right on cue, here’s a website called Draft John Tory, aimed at convincing the one-time mayoral hopeful to put his name on the ballot once again.
Samuel Greene, one of the founders of Draft John Tory, denies that the website, which launched last week, was a direct response to Ford’s latest scrape. “This is certainly an idea and a cause that has been brewing for some time now,” he says. “Because the distractions that we’ve been seeing at City Hall are by no means new. People, I think, are looking for experienced and serious leadership at City Hall.”
Greene, who is 22 years old and about to start law school at the University of Toronto, says the group behind Draft John Tory consists of about six core members, some of whom have had some past involvement in city politics (he declined to name them), but none of whom have any direct link with Tory. Tory himself isn’t involved. The goal, at this point, is only to twist his arm, and maybe provide a forum for a broader discussion about leadership in Toronto.
As of the weekend, the site had collected the email addresses of about 100 supporters.
Tory, now a conservative radio host on Newstalk 1010, ran for mayor in 2003, but lost to David Miller. He also lost two provincial races while serving as leader of the Ontario PC party between 2004 and 2009. Even so, he’s respected by people of all political leanings, and he’s certainly, at any rate, a lot more level-headed than Mayor Ford. There were calls for Tory to run for mayor in 2010, but he ultimately decided not to.
Greene doesn’t think Tory’s past defeats should deter him from trying for the mayoralty a second time. “John Diefenbaker lost elections time and time again before eventually becoming prime minister,” Greene says. “Previous setbacks aren’t an impediment, I think, especially for someone as distinguished and with the attributes that Mr. Tory actually has.”