Thursday, May 20, 2010

Is Sarah Thomson a Wasted Seat in Toronto Mayoral Debates?

Relax Sarah Thomson boosters, it's just a question!  And a fair question if you ask me...

After her sad sad performance last night in the first televised Toronto Mayoral Debate of 2010 (Toronto 2010 Mayoral TV Debate #1 - Here's the Video Link...), are you really surprised that this subject has come up?

The thing is, we have 26 Candidates for the next Mayor of Toronto (2010 Mayor of Toronto Election - Official Candidates List. Here's the link.), and given that including more than 6 candidates in these debates would be utter chaos (if it's not already), we need to carefully select the key candidates that Torontonians need to hear from. -And after last night, that definitely isn't Sarah Thomson.

Now, before you go crazy and exclaim BIAS, just note that I'm not the only one who feels that way. Actually, there are "Municipal Politics Experts" who are saying the exact same thing.

Here's the story from the Globe and Mail:

Toronto’s mayoral debates: Too much of a good thing?
Tuesday night’s CP24 showdown was the first of six on the all-news station alone. Like most of the debates that preceded it, it starred a largely arbitrary roster of six contenders.

The community groups, business improvement areas, schools, local television stations and other organizations hosting Toronto’s debates simply decide which of the 26 candidates registered for mayor they’d like to invite.

This year, a consensus has emerged around six contenders: George Smitherman, Rob Ford, Rocco Rossi, Joe Pantalone, Giorgio Mammoliti and Sarah Thomson.

“Six candidates is pretty unwieldy,” said Myer Siemiatycki, a municipal politics expert at Ryerson University. “There is a point where just because you’ve held public office of some sort, should that be a guarantee of a seat at every debate? I don’t think so.”

Prof. Siemiatycki questioned two candidates’ qualifications for the top tier: Mr. Mammoliti and Ms. Thomson. Both are polling in the single digits. If they are admitted, he asked, why not Rocco Achampong, the 31-year-old Osgoode Hall graduate and former president of the University of Toronto Students’ Administrative Council?

...Then there's Ms. Thomson, a businesswoman who owns the Women’s Post, a slim niche publication that comes out six times a year. “In reality, I think Ms. Thomson is there primarily because she’s a woman and there’s the awkward reality that [if she wasn’t] then there would be five guys,” the professor said.

Hey, the Ryerson University Prof. and Municipal Politics Expert said it, I didn't.

But, given what he said about for example, Rocco Achampong, doesn't Mr. Achampong deserve just as much a right to participate in the debates as Ms. Thomson? Don't we deserve to actually hear something of significance from a candidate, other than the same slim plan that Sarah Thomson spouts out every time she's questioned?

And again, when she failed to take the silver platter opportunity to lash Smitherman in the CP24 debate, and almost looked weak and in awe of Smitherman, eventually deciding simply to get his approval of her subway plan - something I don't think any other Candidate in the history of democracy has ever done during an election campaign with a serious competitor - she just showed that she has absolutely no place in a serious political arena.

Anyway, everyone has their opinion, and that's mine.

So, let me ask you, who do you think is debate-worthy in this year's mayoral race? And who do you think isn't? If you could remove any of the current key 6 candidates, who would you remove? Who would you replace them with?

I'm sure Toronto would love to hear it. In fact, I think Toronto needs to hear it.


PS: Yes, yes, read it, not hear it... You know what I mean...

(Image: by Bobolink on flickr


randay047 said...

It is clear that all you do is listen to debates and say one way or another that they are good for the position because of how they perform at a debate. Last I heard, Howard Hampton was the best debater in the last few provincial elections yet he'd never show up to be for real in an election. Why is that? Oh, it probably has something to do with having no good policies to go forward. Sounds a lot like Mr. Smitherman who has absolutely nothing to say but "Blah Blah Blah". He's all talk. Might someone remind you that he wasted a billion dollars of my money, and probably yours (if you are Ontarian).

Furthermore, isn't it rather odd that your so-called expert in municipal politics mentioned that, "there is a point where just because you've held public office of some sort, should that be a guarantee of a seat at every debate? I don't think so." I guess we should also count out Joe Pantalone. In this event, all we will end up seeing is Rob Ford vs. George Smitherman. Great, a debate between a homophobe and a huge financial mismanager who wasted a billion dollars on e-health and is running on the fact that he thinks Toronto needs a gay mayor.

A debate is a debate, relax and do some research rather than basing everything on a debate.

Anonymous said...

I can accept the point you make regarding Thomson's question to Smitherman - I too found it quaint given the circumstances.

But you can't take away the positives Thomson has brought to the table.

She was the first to research, and publicly announce a transit policy. She's contributed the topic of tolling roads to the table (an otherwise, politically toxic topic for debate).

I think you will also agree, that there are plenty to say about the other top 6. But I'd like to correctly point out, as stated by Randay that both Pantalone and Mammoliti are on city council, and should bear the burden of the city's financial and social shortcomings over the past 7 years.

I am sure you will agree that you may have accurately titled your article "Is Pantalone a Wasted Seat in Toronto Mayoral Debate?" - or Mammoliti.

Now I appreciate your dissenting opinion and your way of speaking outside consensus.

I am very well aware that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that is very highly regarded.

I also recognize that it is often very difficult to prove a negative — that something perceived to be true is not, or that you did not do something for the reasons or motivations suggested by someone else (the majority). In my experience, naked denials, in contrast to unsubstantiated claims, often fall on deaf ears and lazy minds.

Elizabeth C. said...

“In reality, I think Ms. Thomson is there primarily because she’s a woman and there’s the awkward reality that [if she wasn’t] then there would be five guys,”

Took the words right out of my mouth.

Unknown said...

I agree whole-heartedly. The only reason Ms. Thomson repeatedly has a place at the table is because she is the only woman. I can guarantee that if there were another woman in the running, we would not see as much of "Subway Sarah". As a woman, I find it embarrassing to watch Ms. Thomson. She was so completely out of her league in this debate, that it was like watching a train wreck every time she opened her mouth. Her only claim to fame is being the first to table the subway plan. This is quite simply because she was the first to launch her platform. Maybe Ms. Thomson should have taken the time to flush out her platform as there is absolutely nothing there, but a few "feel good" statments that she repeatedly spouts. When given the opportunity to question her competitors at the CP24 debate, she responds with asking Smitherman if he is going to steal "her" subway plan? Is she for real? Not only did she leave herself wide open for Smitherman's brilliant response. (Note: not a Smitherman voter), but she was completely juvenille in her response. If any of you watched her face with LeDrew informed the panel how the questions would unfold, you would have noticed Ms. Thomson's awkwardness. I firmly stand by my belief that the reasons for Ms. Thomson's awkwardness and juvenile response, are that she is so egomaniacal that she has not even bothered to research the other candidates' platforms. Instead, we are assaulted with her repetitive and childish statements. Is she really so inexperienced to believe that none of the other candidates would have addressed these issues? Being first, doesn't mean winning in this case. I think Mammoliti said best when he referenced her obvious lack of understanding of how politics works. While it is admirable to seek change, you need to understand the status quo before moving forward. Is is just me, or is this pretty basic?

Unknown said...

Oh, in answer to your question, YES, she is a wasted seat!

Anonymous2 said...


Here, Here!

randay047 said...

Hey JandC, I guess your "expert" must be kicking himself now for saying Sarah was a wasted seat at the debate, eh?

jackandcokewithalime said...


I'm not sure why you have this sudden boost of confidence... Maybe you can enlighten us?

But regardless, we'll see how she does in tonight's debate.

I hope for your sake she does better than last time... Her last performance was disgraceful...


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