John Tory steals Karen Stintz’s campaign-announcement thunder

John Tory steals Karen Stintz’s campaign-announcement thunder

(Image: Ontario Chamber of Commerce) (Image: Ontario Chamber of Commerce)

Today’s headline was supposed to be all about Karen Stintz, who is due to launch her mayoral campaign at around 10 a.m. But then this happened.

Ever since his unsuccessful run in 2003, the idea of another John Tory mayoral campaign has been the unicorn of Toronto politics: beautiful in concept and fervently believed in by a few, but destined to be unwieldy in reality. Tory semi-publicly toyed with the idea of running against Rob Ford in 2010, only to end up sitting the race out—a result that Ford’s campaign team later took credit for. This time around, we had a similar few months of rumours. Then, a few weeks ago, it was reported that Tory was quietly assembling his campaign team, which was said to include a few former Ford supporters. Finally, last night, several local news sources reported that Tory would officially be registering as a candidate. He finally did it about an hour ago.

Tory’s candidacy spells trouble not only for Stintz, whose campaign launch he so expertly stepped on, but also for Ford. They can’t outmatch his record. He was the CEO of Rogers Media for a period in the nineties, and he also served as leader of the Ontario PC party between 2004 and 2009. His talk show on Newstalk 1010 (which he has said he’ll give up, at least for the duration of the campaign) has kept him in the public eye, and has helped him build a reputation for being even-tempered and thoughtful on critical policy matters like public transit.

The Star reports that Tory plans to focus on building a downtown relief subway line and keeping taxes low. If that platform sounds familiar, it’s because it’s only a shade different from those being advanced by Stintz and Ford. Even fellow mayoral candidate David Soknacki is staking out similar, fiscally conservative territory.

With Tory in the race, the right is suddenly looking very crowded. When and if Olivia Chow files her papers, she’ll be the only credible left-wing candidate on the ballot.