Anti-David Miller "idiot" campaign will backfire

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

5 comments


Lawn sign campaign in Toronto stinks more than the recent garbage strike

Now that the stench of the summer garbage strike in Toronto is over, another smelly activity seems to be getting underway. A number of yellow lawn signs are starting to appear all over Toronto which state "David Miller is an Idiot".

I've been involved in public/political life for the better part of two decades and have watched over the years as the level of political discourse has continued to drop. This latest campaign by a bunch of people who wish to remain anonymous is a new low and I predict is doomed to failure.

I am totally supportive of people attacking or supporting Mayor David Miller for his policies, but resorting to this type of sleezy lawn sign campaign as a means of pushing him out of office is wrong-headed.

Firstly, it discourages good people from ever considering getting into public life. Why would you even consider becoming an urban politician when your friends and family might be exposed to this type of nonsense. That's why the private sector will remain much more appealing compared to public life.

Secondly, if this campaign is in fact linked to a political party trying to make gains in the next election, they will clearly have a lot of explaining to do to the media and voters.

The Toronto Sun caught up with some of the folks putting these lawn signs on front lawns. Here is what one man who wished to remain anonymous had to say:

We're not organizers of the Toronto Party, it's just a group of us who are on their mailing list and attended some of their organizing events.

For those not familiar with the Toronto Party, here is an excerpt from the "about us" section of their website:

THE TORONTO PARTY was created in October 2006 by Stephen Thiele and Brian Roussie.

It is a non-partisan, civic electoral organization that has no affiliation to any other political party in Canada.

OUR GOAL

We plan to contest all 44 council seats and the Mayoral seat in the 2010 City of Toronto election.

To achieve this goal we are seeking amendments to the Municipal Elections Act ("MEA") so that residents of Ontario's cities can enjoy the same democratic rights exercised by people who support provincial or federal parties in Canada.

In the interim, we will act in concert with sitting city councillors, and local community and business leaders as Toronto's official opposition to Mayor Miller and his de facto partisan cabinet.

We will advocate positions designed to halt Toronto's decline and designed to build a better Toronto for our current residents and our future generations

While others talk about building a better city, it is our goal to deliver plans that will make Toronto a better city.

I'm no fan of David Miller, although some who write on this blog are, however, this type of campaign should cease immediately and hopefully we can engage in a much more elightened and civilized debate about the future of Toronto.  Perhaps then will we be able to encourage a great deal more honest, intelligent and thoughtful people to participate in civic politics in our big cities.

5 Comments

Thanks for this Daniel. I haven't seen the signs yet but will watch for them.

The Toronto Party has issued a news release noting that the signs have nothing to do with them: http://www.thetorontoparty.com/August312009pressrelease.pdf

It seems the Toronto Sun, unsurprisingly, didn't have a source for the signs, were therefore left with a relatively weak story, went with an anonymous source (no journalist, unless writing about a whistle-blower or someone who holds very sensitive inside info, should ever use an anonymous source. How do we know that the Sun reporter didn't make up the quote?) and threw in some conjecture about the Toronto Party.

Point is, however, that these signs are pernicious and represent a juvenile low-point in political discourse.

Good article, Daniel. There's no room for this kind of vulgarity and silliness in political debate.

From the Toronto Sun:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Signs 'not our style', Toronto Party says

By BRYN WEESE, SUN MEDIA

The Toronto Party has been inundated with requests for signs that call Toronto Mayor David Miller an idiot.

But the yellow signs with black lettering that began appearing on a few city lawns last week are not part of a Toronto Party campaign.

The Sun ran a story about the signs that read "David Miller is an idiot" on Saturday.

Those behind the "idiot" signs, who have asked their names not be published, said they were on the Toronto Party's mailing list.

"All of a sudden, we were getting all these calls and e-mails for a sign," said Stephen Thiele, president of the conservative Toronto Party.

"But it has nothing to do with us. We don't know who is behind it," he said. "It's not our style. It's not the way that we want to approach politics."

The Toronto Party, which was created in 2006, seeks to introduce partisan politics in the municipal arena and to increase voter turnout.

The fact that organizers are asking to stay nameless, and are hinting the Toronto Party is involved has Thiele and other executive members concerned.

Their chief worry is that the signs could, in fact, be a campaign against them -- a covert pro-Miller campaign to discredit his opposition by making it look like they're resorting to smear tactics and name-calling.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong agrees the signs indicate a "level of frustration" among some people.

"But it's inappropriate language and there are better ways to express the feelings you have about the mayor than to use ... tasteless methods," he said.

Thiele said the Toronto Party's website has also seen a spike in hits since the story about the signs first appeared in the Saturday Sun.

"We even received donations from it," he said.


I certainly hope this story gets the same prominent placing in your blog as the original story that failed to disclose who was really behind this tasteless political attack.

Someone please let me know.... where can I get one of those signs!!?? I'll even pay to have one on my front lawn!!

Nothing to do with the Toronto Party. I know the people that are, and advised their efforts might be put to a better use.
Does show the anger out there about the guy and way he does his business.
At least no pictures of seals getting clubbed.
Partisanship at all levels of all types of politics is really bad. No group has a franchise on playign badly.
But, not the worst ever.
Google election cartoons and signs from the 1860's - now that was bad.

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