Bye bye Bar-bar-a!
by Arthur Weinreb
November 17, 2003
After a long 10-month campaign, the Toronto municipal elections are finally over. The mayoralty election saw an initial crop of five credible candidates that eventually narrowed down to a close two-way race with well-articulated but different visions for the future of the city.
The only real surprise during the lengthy campaign was the rapid rise and fall of mayoral candidate, Barbara Hall. Planning her political comeback since her 1997 loss to Mel Lastman, Hall started out at 54 percent in the polls, dropping ever downward until election day when she captured a mere 9.2 percent of the vote. Perhaps someone should contact Guinness.
Halls main reason for why voters should vote her into office was, that she, well, was Barbara Hall. While the other four candidates all showed at least some arrogance, Barbie at least managed to top that category. Unlike the others, including many of the 39 fringe candidates, Hall had no vision or no concrete plans; at least any that she could express other than the fact that she had been mayor of the old city of Toronto. Babs is on the far left of the political spectrum but her idea of everyone holding hands and singing Kumbaya to solve the citys problems might have worked in socialist Toronto if they hadnt been 40 years out of date. Hall is, however, a conservative when it comes to issues of crime and safety, but shes still a liberal. We all know that a liberal is just a conservative who hasnt been mugged yet and Hall has been mugged.
Hall arrogantly billed herself as the only candidate who could go to the other levels of government and successfully beg for money. Why fellow mayoral candidates John Tory or David Miller were not capable of holding meaningful discussions with Paul Martin and Dalton McGuinty were never quite articulated by the incredible shrinking candidate. In fact the mind boggles trying to imagine Hall sitting down with Paul Martin, whose bad temper is legendary, and droning on and on about needing 'mon-ey' to form a 'com-mi-tee' to build a 'con-cen-sus'.
Hall started out years ago as an NDPer and ran provincially for the party. But when she first eyed the mayors chair of the newly amalgamated city of Toronto she became a Liberal. Part of Halls campaign freefall was a result of the fact that she actually started to behave like a true Grit. During the campaign, Hall tried, in a Chrétienesque sort of way, to be all things to all people. She tried to convey the impression that she was against expansion of the airport while being in favour of the fixed link bridge (for medical emergencies). It was enough to send the lefties over to Millers camp but not enough to attract other supporters. The difference between Jean Chrétien and Barbara Hall is that Da Boss would pretty well have to be caught having sex with underage Canadian Alliance members before he would nosedive in the polls the way she did. But even then, Chrétien would still end up in double digits.
Hall collapsed completely even though she got support and at least a free ride by much of the mainstream media. The Toronto Star and CFRB couldnt understand why we just were still having an election instead of just anointing Babs and going home. The most blatant example of the medias love affair with the perennial has-been was the way they treated her after she made what can only be described as a vicious attack on frontrunner and now mayor-elect, David Miller. Miller came out with a brochure that said that he "looked like a mayor". Hall accused him of being a racist and saying that only tall, white, blonde males can look like a mayor; something that Miller was saying only in Halls twisted imagination. And the media, the same ones that characterized every criticism of the provincial Liberals by former premier Ernie Eves as negative campaigning, had absolutely no comment on Halls accusations of racism. Hall is divisive; dividing the citys residents into groups. Unlike the late Nathan Phillips who was billed as the mayor of all the people, Hall strove to be mayor of some of the people excluding the ones that looked like David Miller.
Nine point two percent in what Hall had stated was "the only poll that counts". Hopefully weve seen the last of Barbara in public life.
Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Canada Free Press. His work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Men's News Daily, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck and The Rant. Arthur can be reached at: email@example.com