Two big news items for our city came out over the weekend. First, on Friday it was made official that Toronto (read: a whole bunch of cities in Southern Ontario) will be hosting the 2015 Pan Am Games. The $1.4 Billion bid, split between three levels of government is expected to generate jobs and tourism throughout the region, and will leave a legacy of athletic facilities for future generations. Can an Outgames or Gay Games be far behind?
However, those hoping that the Pan Am Games would spur infrastructure improvements are likely going to be disappointed. Four days after the announcement, the Premier has yet to declare that currently announced projects, like the Pearson-Union air-rail link or the Eglinton LRT to the airport are being fast-tracked, and when asked about the Scarborough-Malvern LRT that was going to connect UofT Scarborough (where many of the marquis events and new venues are located) to the rapid transit network,
infrastructure minister mayoral candidate George Smitherman said ‘don’t hold your breath.’
What’s that? Oh, you hadn’t heard that furious George has finally thrown his hat in the mayoral ring? The worst-kept secret in town was finally made official at the Globe last night, and Smitherman made the announcement this morning. Smitherman’s resigned from cabinet but will retain his seat in provincial parliament until he officially launches his campaign — which is a tacit acknowledgement that backbench MPPs don’t really do anything but collect a very nice salary. Anyway, with motormouths Smitherman and John Tory in the running, this is shaping up to be a pretty exciting race next year.
Also officially gay and unofficiallly in the race is former Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray, whose tweets are increasingly reading like campaign materials. Well, heck, his account name is Glen4TO, after all. My favourite tweet so far: “Angus Reid poll – 4th @ 8% behind 3 pols who are in the news everyday. Not bad given how the race began in ‘03 – Need a radio show. lol!” So, is Murray’s hope that his numbers go up when people find out he was mayor of Winnipeg? That can’t be right. Right now, my guess is the 8% is people who are sick of the established politicians and are willing to try on someone they’ve never heard of.