Ford notwithstanding, there's still a February byelection that could turn into a de facto referendum on road tolls and budget issues.
Do you remember Doug Ford, the one-term councillor who really didn’t seem to like his job except for being a Very Important Person?
Well, he’s in the news again. Sort of. Not really.
On Friday morning, Doug Ford made news by saying that he wouldn’t run in the Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River by-election to replace Raymond Cho, who left council after winning a by-election to become an MPP.
This announcement came after a press release sent at 12:43 a.m. said Ford and Cho would be at the City Hall elections registration desk at 10 a.m. that day. The press release didn’t say that Ford himself would run, but it was enough to get out a sizable number of TV cameras, because while Doug Ford makes for terrible politics, he makes for great television. Except that, you know, there wasn’t really any Ford news to announce.
CP24 reports that Doug Ford intends to support former Raymond Cho executive assistant Hratch Aynedjian in the February 13 by-election. A longtime political staffer who has also worked for Brad Duguid, @norm, and David Soknacki, Aynedjian ran for council in 2006 in a race won by Chin Lee (Ward 41, Scarborough-Rouge River). His policy priorities at the time included low property taxes and a tough on crime stance. Aynedjian has not signed up to run yet, but is expected to.
School trustee Neethan Shan could run for the council seat, although he hasn’t signed up yet either. Shan ran in the provincial by-election that Cho won, placing third with 27 per cent. His candidacy came four months after winning a by-election to become a school trustee, which marked his first time winning elected office. While Shan supports the one-stop Scarborough subway, the frequent NDP politician could also be the best hope for council’s left to ostensibly pick up a seat. Shan has run for political office 10 times, winning once.
Knia Singh likely won’t have the same kind of institutional support that candidates like Aynedjian and Shan would enjoy, but he’s another interesting candidate in the Ward 42 by-election. The Osgoode Hall law student has made a name for himself a carding activist, and launched a constitutional challenge to the controversial police practice. He previously ran for the Ontario Liberal nomination in the riding, which he lost.
Given the timing of the byelection, the by-election could very well turn into a local referendum on John Tory’s road tolls proposal. Here’s hoping it doesn’t descend into Fordian spectacle and distractions; Scarborough deserves better.