The Toronto Region Board of Trade wants you to think twice before voting, or not voting, for Rob Ford

The Toronto Region Board of Trade wants you to think twice before voting, or not voting, for Rob Ford

(Image: Courtesy of the Toronto Board of Trade) (Image: Courtesy of the Toronto Board of Trade)
 

The Toronto Region Board of Trade represents Toronto’s business community, so one might expect its leaders to have some pretty strong opinions about the way the city is managed, especially with Rob Ford up for reelection in a matter of months. Undoubtedly they do have those opinions, but they seem to have spent a huge amount of time and money crafting a media campaign designed specifically not to reveal what any of them are.

The Board of Trade’s publicity campaign for the 2014 municipal (and, possibly, provincial) election, promisingly titled “Think Twice, Vote Once,” was launched at a media event earlier this morning. It barely mentions individual politicians or parties by name, and yet it’s hard not to see Ford between every line. “We must take partisan politics out of the transit debate and move toward what we know are best practices for building and operating regional transportation systems,” the campaign paper says at one point, seemingly referencing Ford’s populist push for subways, which was eventually abetted by other politicians both at city hall and Queen’s Park. In other places, the report calls for greater cooperation between the city and the province—something else that has suffered under Ford’s rule.

It’s hard to fault the Board of Trade for wanting to be constructive rather than divisive, especially considering the fact that it will have to work with whoever wins the mayoralty. In this instance, though, there’s also something to be said for taking a stand. Almost no prominent Torontoinans, other than Ford’s enemies in politics and media, have gone public with criticism of his role in fostering dysfunction at city hall over the past three years. Torstar chair John Honderich has been using his platform at the Toronto Star in an attempt to drum up outrage among Toronto’s business elite, and the only public response so far has been a cranky Conrad Black column. If Toronto’s business leaders want to influence the outcome of elections, they might find it worth their while to say what’s on their minds.