Karen Stintz, the Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and frequent thorn in the side of Mayor Rob Ford, has publicly declared that her name will be on the ballot in next year’s mayoral election. She joins the City’s current Mayor and fellow fiscal conservative David Soknacki, former Budget Chief, as declared candidates.
Long considered a potential fiscal conservative candidate for Mayor, Stintz has positioned herself over the Ford years as one who can put her name forward as a credible anti-Ford conservative voice. Her role as Chair of the TTC has given her the ability to differentiate herself on key issues such as subways and taxation.
In an interview Stintz chose to exclusively give to the Toronto Sun, she declared, “We’re different people [she and Ford] with different views around what it means to work for the city and work for the people. If Ford get’s re-elected we will stand still for four years.”
Differentiating herself from Ford will not be easy out of the gate. She has already recruited Don Guy to lead her campaign team. Some may remember Guy as the political savant behind former Premier Dalton McGuinty’s three consecutive election victories.
“The David Miller years are still fresh in people’s minds and I think many people fear going back to a [David Miller mentality], which I believe would take us back. So it a question for the city, ‘Are we going to go back, stand still or move forward?’”
This is the message Stintz made a point to send many currently in Rob Ford’s corner. This is the message she will attempt to reiterate during the course of her run. She is not Rob Ford. She is does not come the now internationally renowned Ford family baggage. However, she is more than prepared to defend the mutual Ford-Stintz record of both achievement and failure on the transit file.
The only question remaining is whether or not there are enough Torontonians looking for another candidate willing to stand on the Rob Ford record.
If nothing else, I do believe Torontonians are looking for an alternative. I am not fully certain who that may be. However, I suspect neither Stintz nor Soknacki is that individual.
Olivia Chow, the New Democratic Party Member of Parliament for Trinity-Spadina, and of course, John Tory, former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, are also rumoured to be mulling runs for the top seat.