Will John Tory’s ‘prudent’ leadership be tough enough to tackle Toronto’s big issues if he’s re-elected?
Tory’s not-so-brave “prudent” approach would need a deft touch.
Not to sound hyperbolic, but the leader and his team have a great deal to learn if they’re going to tackle the big challenges Toronto faces under Tory, which include the need to reform the school system, grow the city’s tax base, grow the economy and build sustainable, livable communities.
The biggest challenge, however, is finding the bold and creative ways to confront the city’s big issues.
In the past, Tory has shown a willingness to buck the crowd and stick his neck out.
In 2013, Tory called on city council to take over the transit funding gravy train and invest it in transit-oriented developments – a move that got him labelled a “pragmatist” by Toronto Real Estate Board president David Sokol, and a “shrew” by the city’s business community.
But it is the Conservative campaign that offers the clearest indication of how tough the challenge will be.
According to a detailed campaign document, Tory has proposed three key approaches to deal with his “four big challenges” (all of which are real):
(1) He’s committed to a “prudent” approach to city spending.
(2) He’d like to get serious about re-investing the city’s capital budget in transit and housing – the two top priorities of the city’s business community and residents.
(3) He envisions making the city more attractive in the global economy.
(4) He’d like to move ahead with a “progressive agenda,” which includes more affordable housing, a more progressive tax system, and a better deal on public transit.
All this is,