WATCH: Toronto’s mayor has been on the job for 100 days. He’s scored some early wins and defined some future challenges for the rest of his term. Dave Trafford has the story.
Mayor Tory has been on the job for 100 days as of today.
It’s an entirely arbitrary benchmark, but one hundred days is a nice round number and it just happens to coincide with Tuesday’s Toronto council meeting – which will consider John Tory’s first budget.
There is the predictable political mincing among councillors but the tone at “the hall” in no way comes close to the derision that qualified as debate during the Ford years.
But get away from the chamber and the committee rooms and ask the general public what they think of John Tory and he gets a “solid C” from a guy who’s annoyed by the crackdown on congestion, (really?) to “A-plus” from a commuter who insists there’s been an obvious improvement in traffic flow since Tory declared himself the new Traffic Sheriff in town.
Tory even scores well with a politically engaged homeless man who says, “I think he’s doing great. He’s inspiring the homeless to clean up the city of Toronto.”
But one woman who works for the city gives the mayor and excellent grade because “he’s really quiet. I’m happy about that. No drugs. No nothing. Good!”
Yes, that might elicit a laugh but, besides his promise to get things done, Tory warned us his mayoralty would be “steady, businesslike, consensus building, unifying, (and) boring.”
There has been more bread and less of the circus we saw during the previous administration. The mayor is among the first to arrive at work at city hall and puts in a full day in the office. There is no media contingency camped out in front of the mayor’s office. Tory’s staff makes the mayor available for questions 3 or 4 times a week.
That “boring” approach is working with residents.
“People had a very low expectation. That he had a very low bar to reach which was ‘Please – make your issues a reflection of us’,” said Randi Rahamim, Crisis Communicator with Navigator.
Rahamim says Tory’s done well to sell his own brand, particularly his “responsiveness, his willingness to tackle big issues and his ability to play nicely in the sand box.
“I think he’s done a great job on all of those,” she said.
But some of the realities of governing have presented some political wrinkles for Tory. He’s had to rely on some creative accounting to balance the 2015 budget – perhaps risking fiscal stability in 2016.
He agreed to hike TTC fares when he campaigned on no increases.
He’s staring down some epic cost overruns on mega projects like the Spadina subway extension.
Tory insists he’s done it all in the public’s interest and the need to clean up after a mess left by the dysfunction of the Ford years.
But now, Tory owns all of these issues.
“And how he handles those issues – how the city handles those issues – I think it’s fair to judge him on that,” said Rahamim.