Toronto – did you vote?…and why I did.

I could not wait to get home.

For political junkies most elections, from federal to municipal, are like your personal Stanley Cup final or Super Bowl Sunday. Voting in the election itself ensures you are player and not just sitting in the cheap seats.

Blame my parents for creating the political junkie I am and I am ever thankful they did. The best thing they ever did when I was young was dragging me out to the voting stations in downtown Toronto when election time came around.

All the colourful election signs would catch my eye; the smiling faces, the catchy slogans and then watching the results come in via television was the topper event for me. As I would wait in the gymnasium or church basement, watching Torontonians of various colours and creeds cuing up to get their voter cards are memories I still hold dear- I remember thinking I could not wait to get the chance and do it myself.

Fast-forward to now, a 15-year journalism career in my backpocket- most of it willingly and excitedly centred on politics, and the excitement is still there on election night. Whether I was in Toronto, covering the megacity elections or in Cobourg, in its beautiful Victoria Hall, my writing hand in a splint covering the results, politics, especially municipal ones, is my intellectual drug.

Who will win tonight in Toronto’s mayoral race? Will it be Furious George (Smitherman), Raging Rob (Ford) or Joey Pants (Pantalone)?

The two frontrunners of Smitherman and Ford are an interesting pair from a lacklustre slate of candidates to choose from…John Tory how I miss you right about now. Which of these two has the better vision for Toronto? Which one can represent this city and start its rebuilding before it completely crumbles? Which of these two has the political acumen, the chops basically, to work Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill for the help and funding Toronto needs to ascend to greatness it has an ever-limp grasp on?

Unfortunately, the longshot third place runner Pantalone could be the kingmaker. His left leaning NDP background is so admirably engrained that he could not support the Liberal-minded Smitherman or Conservative-leaning Ford. If he had put his weight Smitherman, the former deputy premier of Ontario would surely have won. Without pulling out of the race, he has given Ford the chance to become mayor.

After voting tonight I watched people coming and going from the voting station. Young and old, the disabled, the blind and once again, that wonderful colour of ethnicity which makes Toronto so wonderful, flowed to-and-fro…then, a few parents with their kids in a tow, yet again, hopefully, some new political junkies and aficionados are born.

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