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Robert Silver

John Tory's decision Add to ...

Almost a year ago, I wrote a few pieces in this space about the then T-minus-way-too-long City of Toronto mayoral race where I took some kind of cheap shots at then rumoured candidate John Tory. The shots revolved around his history of losing elections. While factually true, they were akin to making fun of the Toronto Maple Leafs for never winning a Cup in colour and I understandably got some angry emails from his friends and fans.

Tory, being a classy guy, has since had me on his radio show a couple of times and has been nothing but pleasant and professional.

As somebody who is not currently supporting any candidate in the race I am of two minds of John Tory entering the race. On the one hand, his entrance all but ensures Rob Ford will not be Toronto's next mayor.

Full stop.

That may be enough of a reason for me to really hope Tory runs. And yet and I hope he chooses to stay out of it.

While I haven't seen any polling, my gut is John Tory's single greatest positive brand attribute today is his integrity. Its well deserved by all accounts. Him running right now - I'm sorry to say - causes real damage to that reputation.

The guy has been an active journalist throughout the entire campaign. The guy has hosted more than one forum and debate for the candidates throughout the campaign. He has taken over as Chair of the City Summit Alliance.

All of this was appropriate and encouraged because people in Toronto took Tory at his word - his integrity - that he wasn't running. Not just on the day the debate took place but this entire electoral cycle.

While I have no doubt Tory could spin his reason for changing his mind - the people have spoken to me, circumstances have changed, Venus came into alignment with Jupiter in such a way that I had no choice - it will be just that, spin.

And yes, politicians spin garbage into gold on a daily basis. That doesn't change the fact that Tory going back on his word - after the last six months of being a working journalist and hosting the debates - would call into real question that primary brand attribute.

That doesn't mean he couldn't still win or that he wouldn't be a fine mayor (again, ROB FORD) but a big part of me hopes he avoids the temptation, stays true to his word and sits this one out.

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