Weekly Campaign Update, 29 August 2014: Council Wraps Up, Campaign Rolls On

This week, commentators weigh in on Rob Ford's electoral viability. Transit issues continue to be front and centre, and some denouement is reached regarding the controversy over Warren Kinsella's comments. Polls show John Tory in the lead, with a resurgence by Rob Ford, along with dipping numbers for Olivia Chow.

Transit

John Tory's SmartTrack plan continues to spur discussion, attracting criticism both of its timeline and the viability of tax-increment financing as an alternative funding source to conventional taxes or fees. Meanwhile, TTC Chief Andy Byford and City Manager Joe Pennachetti have collaborated on a proposal to build the waterfront LRT component of the now-defunct Transit City plan with the help of the provincial and federal governments; former city councillor and current GO chair Gordon Chong argues in the National Post that massive transit expansion is needed, including a Queen Street subway line. Finally, TTC hardware supplier Nova Bus has still not formally notified the TTC of a recall issued in July affecting 80 buses purchased from the supplier.

Police

Mayor Rob Ford and councillor Doug Ford are the only two dissenting votes as council opts to review paid police duty; other options include the "Vancouver model," which entails employing sworn peace officers for these duties at roughly half the cost.

Council

City council began its final session of this term on Monday 25 August. Items up for discussion included the approval of a new practice facility for the Toronto Raptors, opposed only by the Fords; options for restricting excessive motorcycle noise; the decision that council, not councillor Maria Augimeri, will pay legal costs for candidate Gus Cusimano after Augimeri broke conduct rules by calling the candidate a "criminal"; banning e-cigarettes from city property; gender-neutral lyrics for the national anthem; the location of the Cornerstone men's shelter; and the approval of further condominium development, which councillors Joe Mihevc and Kristyn Wong-Tam dub the "Manhattanization" of downtown Toronto. Some councillors wore pink as a form of protest against Rob Ford's performance as mayor.

Campaign Grab Bag