News, Politics

Toronto Mayoral Campaign Remains Interesting

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Doug Ford in May 2013. Image: HiMY SYeD
Doug Ford in May 2013. Image: HiMY SYeD

COLUMN

During a campaign, should politicians always have to tell the truth or should they be allowed to fudge the truth a little to get people to vote for them?

John Lorinc thinks they should have to tell the truth. Lorinc is a freelance journalist.  (“Freelance” means he doesn’t work for one specific publication.)

Lorinc writes about Toronto politics. And these days, there’s a lot to write about. That’s because there will be an election this month to determine who the city’s next mayor will be.

The current mayor, Rob Ford, is not running for mayor due to health reasons. His brother, Doug, is running. His two strongest opponents are Olivia Chow and John Tory. It is likely that one of those three will be Toronto’s next mayor—responsible for heading up one of the largest cities in North America.

The 2014 mayoral race has been unusual, to say the least. It’s not often that one brother replaces another brother in the middle of an election campaign. At the mayoral debates—where the candidates get to tell people what they would do if they were elected—things have often gotten heated. For one thing, racist comments have been levelled at Olivia Chow by members of the audience.

Now John Lorinc is trying to get Doug Ford to prove he’s telling the truth about something he said during the campaign. Ford said that since becoming a Toronto city councillor, he has donated his salary to charity.

Fair enough. But that’s where Lorinc comes in. He did the math and he calculates that if that’s true, Doug Ford would have donated more than $400,000 to charity since taking office in 2010. That’s a lot of money, and if it’s true, it would be a wonderful thing.

But if it’s true, writes Lorinc in an editorial in Spacing magazine, where did he donate the money? Lorinc wants Doug Ford to prove that he did what he says he did.

Lorinc spoke with Olivia Chow and John Tory and asked them whether they’re concerned about Ford’s statement. Both campaigns told Lorinc they had “no comment” on the matter. Both candidates have accused Doug Ford of saying things in the past that weren’t true, or that were exaggerated.

There’s no law that says that Doug Ford has to prove that he donated $400,000 to charity. But Lorinc says Ford should be “held accountable” for this statement. Lorinc has asked Doug Ford for an interview but has not received a reply from Ford’s campaign office. (In other words, they aren’t talking to Lorinc.)

So who’s telling the truth, and is the truth even relevant in a campaign? After all, during a campaign candidates have to say what they will do if elected—and sometimes what they’ve promised isn’t possible later on. Are those “lies” acceptable?

So, should Doug Ford have to prove he donated $400,000 to charity? The voters of Toronto will decide on October 27.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly and Joyce Grant

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Why do you think it’s so important to John Lorinc that Doug Ford proves he made the $400,000 donation?

Reading Prompt: Point of View
All journalists have a personal “bias.” Bias is when someone has a personal point of view or opinion. When a journalist is writing with bias, they may not present all of the sides of a story. Or, they may only present some of the facts but not all of them.

What bias do you think John Lorinc has about the people he’s writing about? What bias do you think the author of this article has?

Tell this story from Doug Ford’s point of view.

Junior
Identify the point of view presented in texts, ask questions to identify missing or possible alternative points of view, and suggest some possible alternative perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Intermediate
Identify the point of view presented in texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts; give evidence of any biases they may contain; and suggest other possible perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Language Feature: Column
This article is a column. What does that mean? How is a column different from a regular newspaper article?