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SARAH THOMSON Ingenue Ophelia cum noble Cordeila cum maternal Volumnia then Ophelia again


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ith her only political experience being a failed bid for Hamilton council, Sarah Thomson was


widely viewed as a fringe candidate. As the publisher’s of The Women’s Post she had a minor public profile but was criticized during the campaign for printing herself on the cover and writing an editorial in support of her campaign. When it became apparent she would be the only fe- male in the campaign, media outlets and debate organizers started to include her amongst the mainstream candidates. She made a make as the first candidate to suggest road tolls and to contend subways and not LRTs were the solution to Toronto’s transit woes. While never polling exceptionally high, and ducking


out towards the end of the campaign to throw her sup- port behind George Smitherman, Thomson was able to captivate a sizeable audience for a fringe candidate and the support of a number of prominent citizens.


citing the gearing up of a campaign machine or Tory him- self making equivocal remarks he kept in the news month after month.


But he began hosting mayoral debates and seemed con- tent to influence Toronto via his radio show and as vol- unteer chair of the Toronto City Summit Alliance. In the last weeks of the campaign Tory visited various council candidates, offering endorsements and providing photo opportunities. John Tory’s sons went on to hold leadership roles in the failed Sarah Thomson campaign. I would argue that Tory is now in a good place, both for himself and for Torontonians. He never succeeded in retail politics because he never seemed to understand how closely political success resembles salesmanship. Tory is a gentlemen in a world of rogues. Whether they are on the right or left, most political leaders embrace the fact that electioneering often verges on highway robbery. At his current position he is able to operate in the realm of pub- lic policy (via the TCSA), engage with the public and lead opinion (through CFRB Newstalk1010) and live the life of a private citizen.


ROB FORD Main character; appears as king’s fool in act one; ascends to protagonist status by act three; is only character alive in act five; begins as Fool and transforms into Falstaff.


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JOHN TORY Prospero – learns his spells no longer work, discovers talents best applied elsewhere


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ince his last foray into municipal politics in 2003 Tory had become a household figure. After becoming leader of the Ontario PC party and failing to lead its party to victory he resigned, took up various community build- ing initiatives and became the drive home host on CFRB Newstalk1010. From the beginning there were rumours that Tory was considering a bid for the mayor’s seat, ru- mours that he did nothing to dispel. When George Smi- therman appeared as a guest on Tory’s show in November 2009 it was considered the first unofficial event in the 2010 campaign. Barbs were exchanged over city values and the public, thanks to the hype the event received in the newspaper’s the following days, soon saw these two figures as the primary contenders in the race. It seemed that every month some news arrived suggest-


ing that Tory would be entering the race. Whether it was a poll suggesting Tory fared well in the minds of voters, or some murmuring from anonymous political operatives


ord was first elected to council in 2000. With a father who had served as an M.P.P. and experience running


a large family printing business, Ford was no stranger to politics and business and yet was treated like a buffoon by much of the media throughout his council tenure and during his mayoral bid. Running almost entirely on a plat- form to ‘stop the gravy train’, the expression he used to articulate a manifold of waste and largesse at City Hall, Ford continually gained traction with voters ever since an- nouncing his mayoral candidacy in March. With no prom- inent endorsements and few professional campaign staffers Ford seemed to run the definitive outsiders campaign. At the same time he was mocked for past personal gaffes os- tensibly against Asians, gays and one unhappy couple at a Leafs’ game as well as new information such as a DUI he received in the United States. But none of this mattered to the public in the face of his campaign promises. While many touted Ford’s ascendancy to a supposed anger (or even lack of education) amongst candidates I would contend that Ford’s simple and clear messaging cut a refreshing distinction between himself and his op- ponents. He showed his character. At a time when the public seems tired of hearing about backroom machina- tions the idea of a troubled man who had a sincere passion to change the financial situation of his city struck a cord with people. At debates he rarely pandered and often told special interest groups that if the money wasn’t there, he couldn’t make them any promises.


December 2010 | Campaigns & Elections 29


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