Newspaper article The Canadian Press

John Tory Promises 'Fresh New Era' at Toronto City Hall If He Is Elected Mayor

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

John Tory Promises 'Fresh New Era' at Toronto City Hall If He Is Elected Mayor

Article excerpt

Tory promises 'new era' in Toronto if elected mayor

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TORONTO - A former CFL chairman and telecommunications executive who left the world of business for politics only to fall flat in both municipal and provincial elections could finally achieve his goal of leading the country's largest city, more than a decade after his first bid for the job.

John Tory, the former leader of Ontario's Progressive Conservatives, has been out of the political arena since he gave up the leadership in 2009 after failing to regain a seat in the legislature.

Both he and the Conservatives were defeated in the 2007 election -- a loss widely attributed to his proposal to fund faith-based schools.

Tory spent the ensuing years as a radio broadcaster and community activist, but the 60-year-old said he felt the need to make more of an impact in shaping the public agenda and bringing about lasting change.

That drive is what lured him back to the mailstrom of political life, he said, adding that its benefits outweigh the harsh lessons he's been forced to learn.

"I was a broadcaster doing a very popular talk show where I know you have some degree of ability to influence things, I have been a public servant, I have been a business figure," Tory said in a telephone interview. "There is no place you make a bigger difference to build up your own city or your own province or your own community than to be in public life. So to me it's public service."

Tory's fiscally conservative approach has made him a right-wing favourite in the race to replace scandal-plagued Mayor Rob Ford, whose tenure Tory described as being marred by division and chaos.

His campaign has been framed as an effort to reinstate stability at city hall while addressing Toronto's growing infrastructure challenges, and so far his message has found a receptive audience.

Numerous polls suggest he has a comfortable lead over his main rivals, Rob Ford's elder brother Doug and former NDP MP Olivia Chow.

Tory has played peacemaker throughout the campaign despite a political environment he found to be more combative than those he's experienced in the past.

Doug Ford, in particular, has accused Tory of being an out-of-touch elitist divorced from the needs of regular Torontonians, citing his birth into a prominent local family and rise through the ranks of both a private law firm and public telecom behemoth Rogers Communications. …

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