toronto

Rob Ford Tries to Sucker Torontonians…again

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He must either believe Toronto is populated with mentally incapable people or that an optional 5 cent levy on grocery bags is equal to communism. Mayor Rob Ford is a Gimmick Mayor, unprepared to tackle the big issues in Toronto and cheaply trying to make his publicity stunts maintain an already lackluster popularity.

“I am going to try to get rid of it,” Mr. Ford said Friday when asked about the fee. “I believe the taxpayers don’t want to pay the five cents any more. It is actually six cents with the HST.”

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Who Shot Ya?

A one on one interview with legendary hip hop chronicler, Ernie Paniccioli

By: James Di Fiore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He may not be a household name, but Ernie Paniccioli may be the most prolific figure in hip hop history. In a scene wrought with complexities, simplicities and an ongoing battle of Real Vs Fake, there are very few true ambassadors who have been there since the genesis of hip hop. There are even fewer who are essentially front-proof, meaning they have been able to remain relevant despite both the pitfalls and advancements within the schizophrenic hubris of hip hop lifestyles. Old School vs New School – Playa vs Hater, Gangsta vs Emo…and the list goes on. But Ernie is beyond those superficial battles and has earned his spot as the night watchman of hip hop, capturing the history and the nuances through the lens of his camera.

Before we met in person, Ernie and I actually got into a heated exchange online regarding race and religion. I will spare you the details except to say that when the dust settled we were able to put those differences aside and come together through mutual respect and a common held passion – hip hop culture. Below is the result of what happens when two men from completely different walks of life recognize the importance of communication.  If you are a hip hop historian of sorts you will be both impressed and envious at Ernie’s life experience, and if you are a youngster still sifting through the crates please take heed and pay close attention…you just might learn something.

Ultimate MC Battle Epic Failure

Cattle-call audition gimmick and amateur judging kills competition

 

First off, congratulations to Quantum and Charron. It ain’t your fault most of the emcees were garbage…and big ups to White Fang for putting on the best performance. And now to the real story….


Most real hip hoppers knew it from the get go – that The Ultimate MC Battle was just another yawn-fest in a long line of boring competitions the city has seen over the past decade. Not only did the end result seem fixed, or at least judged by meth-heads who didn’t seem to be watching the last round, but the initial line-up was suspect and proves that the open audition format will never yield a good show.

 

Perhaps most telling in this latest of failed battles were the participants. Other than Bishop Brigante, Canada’s most heralded battler, the entire Ultimate MC team is a who’s who of who cares in Canada’s urban scene. Don’t let the youtube hits fool you, King of the Dot is garbage. Not only does it shine a spotlight on a weak format (they mostly battle in acapella because most of their emcees aren’t skilled enough to stay on beat AND freestyle), but the rappers are unskilled, prototypical rookies that would get eaten alive against a typical, seasoned battle emcee. Brigante, if he isn’t embarrassed, should be wondering how he went from a respected emcee killer to the host of a wack enterprise destined to keep Toronto’s rep as ‘mediocre’ in the hip hop world.

 

Things were not always this bad. Back in the day Toronto had a communications pipeline that led straight to the 5 boroughs of New York. Artists from T-dot worked with local promoters who brought in some of hip hop’s most legendary emcees during the Golden Era of the music. The list of artists who graced the stage of the Concert Hall reads like a manifest of hip hop history: KRS ONE, Big Daddy Kane, The Roots, Kid Capri, just to name a few. A mutual respect for realness and talent led to collaborations with local artists like Maestro Fresh Wes, Michie Mee and a slew of up and comers still trying to get heard. Today it is the up and comers that can’t hold their weight. King of the Dot exemplifies this ineptness through their habit of showcasing emcees who don’t deserve the spotlight, and Ultimate MC ultimately followed suit.

 

That’s not to say Toronto doesn’t have emcees with the necessary skills to put on a good show, it’s that the self-proclaimed representatives of the scene don’t know where the talent lives. They seem to only have a pipeline on rappers who can’t rhyme to beats, can’t battle without spitting rhymes that are obviously written and simply don’t have the kind of swagger that creates memorable battle moments. In short, Toronto is currently being grossly misrepresented in hip hop, especially in the battle scene.

 

Usually, when a genre is being pimped by watered down artists, there is a backlash in the underground. We see it in rock music, electronic music and jazz where a collective frustration towards the mainstream results in a buffet of budding artists and new sounds. But it isn’t every day when the underground hip hop heads would rather listen to the latest Drake album instead of scouring for new, local emcees. The tragedy is nobody thinks there are any local cats anymore, and those that do believe the Toronto underground is alive and well are swallowing the shit fed to them by KOTD, Ultimate MC and rappers who simply can’t spit. Until a scene veteran steps up and calls these fraudsters out we may be stuck with the mediocre moniker for years to come.

 

 

A Page From the Past

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How a typical evening evolved into conversing with a voice from yesterday

By: James Di Fiore


Sometimes we are reminded of our past through the voice of a musician when their music served as the soundtrack to our lives. It is as universal as mathematics – the ability to be transported back to a time and place with relative ease through music. Similar to how certain fragrances take me back to my childhood, like how musty scents in houses remind me of my grandparents’ cottage, the feeling of abundant nostalgia is like nothing else I know.


Last night I met the singer whose voice was the sole representative of my life for a solid year. The year was 1994.


My father let me venture to Bella Coola, British Columbia, so I could work with my uncle who did government environmental work. I was 18, a shit disturber and reeling over what now seems like a meaningless broken heart. But I guess every broken heart has its meaning, hindsight be damned.


As a hip hop head I was easily able to keep my inner feelings under strict control, preferring a head nod over nostalgia music as a way of keeping my cards close to my chest. But, along with my change of scenery came a change in the soundtrack, so instead of packing Gangstarr and KRS I opted for Counting Crows and Skydiggers. Funny, I almost just lied about the Counting Crows, but whatever, August and Everything After is a great album. And Just Over This Mountain, the Skydiggers album, was an organic, emotional experience and spoke to my change in scenery. 


I went to Bella Coola, connected with my father’s brother, worked deep in the Rockies and traveled the BC coast. Andy Maize, the lead singer of Skydiggers, provided a sort of melodic commentary as the cassette replayed over and over throughout my trip and then for months when I returned home. He was there when I reflected on the prospect of never succeeding. He was there when my butterflies waved their wings over some girl who showed an interest. He sang lyrics that matched my mood seamlessly, and ever since, whenever I hear some of those songs, I am instantly transported back into the mindset of that 18 year old kid. Interestingly, I never really got sick of the album, I just put it to rest when that chapter of life was complete and then went back to the hip hop crate.


Thinking about life in my 30s, I am convinced the era of having soundtracks for life chapters are gone. Everything is so accessible that it can be best expressed through ‘Random Play’. Ever since I began this crazy journey of running for mayor I’ve noticed I am listening to everything from Nina Simone to Johnny Cash, Jazzmatazz to Hibernate. There isn’t just one voice serving as the backdrop and I don’t think there ever will be again, not until I am an old man perhaps.

So last night, after attending a beer tasting with a friend, I headed over to another friend’s bar (The Duke of York) and shot the shit with a few regulars. This guy with dark rimmed glasses steps to the bar and waits to be served, and I blurt out “Hey, are you a musician?” He says ‘yes’. He didn’t look familiar, he just looked like a musician. The girl on his arm then says “This is Andy, lead singer of the Skydiggers.”


I could opt for using a word like ‘trippy’ or ‘weird’ or some other adjective denoting a glitch in the pattern of my day to day, but I really haven’t found the appropriate word to describe meeting the dude whose voice was so poignant to me for so long. So I just told him the truth – that his album, while likely ancient history for him, paints a vivid picture of a time in my life when things were confusing, different and hopeful. I shook his hand and thanked him, adding “It isn’t every day you get to meet the guy responsible for the soundtrack, if you know what I mean.”


He and I talked for about 45 minutes. He bought me a pint and I returned the favour. I guess the best part of this particular story, and it is hardly surprising, is that he was just a regular guy. I went out for a smoke and ended up getting a light from Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies, and it all made perfect sense to me.


Page confided to me that Andy was his muse when it came to stage presence. So I told Page that his cover of Bruce Cockburn’s ‘Lovers in a Dangerous Time’ still hit the sweet spot of my soul.The three of us chilled for a little while, they gave me props for running for mayor and I left, preferring to be the guy who said goodbye rather than trying to unnaturally stretch out the evening.


I walked to the subway with ‘I Will Give You Everything’ playing in my head for the first time in years. When I finally got home I even took 4 minutes to watch the video for Lovers in a Dangerous Time. Two bands in the same vein as far as Canadian music goes, but who hold completely different meanings for me, all in one evening that went from a typical night of drinking to complete and utter reflection of where I’ve been and where I’m headed.

I just realized that there is still room for the chapters in our lives to have a soundtrack, but it might be the same voice we have heard in our heads all these many years.

An Open Letter to George Smitherman

Dear Mr. Smitherman,

Toronto is where you have called ‘home’ for your entire life, so it is hardly surprising you would want to become its Mayor. You have been a stalwart pioneer of sorts, becoming the first openly gay politician elected as a Member of Provincial Parliament, and the first openly gay cabinet minister to boot.

Sadly, you have no shot at becoming Toronto’s very first openly gay Mayor.

When this campaign began you were considered the front runner in several polls. As the months ticked by however, your eHealth albatross proved to be the weapon of choice for your opponents, most noticeably Rob Ford. And while you have repeatedly taken responsibility for your role in the 1 billion dollar debacle, as well as rightly pointed out the roles of other politicians who also share the blame, that albatross became much too heavy for any mayoral candidate to carry. It is now ingrained in the public consciousness – Smitherman = 1 billion dollar loss of Ontario taxpayer money. As you know, politics can be cruel, but if you stood outside yourself for a moment and imagined someone else trying to shed that label you would see what the rest of us see (excluding your base of steadfast supporters) – a man with exactly no shot at becoming Mayor of Toronto.

Don’t take it personally. eHealth is your Howard Dean scream, as it were. It is your accidental branding in a game that can change overnight, provided you have an accomplishment that can overshadow the setback. Unfortunately, the campaign is almost over and the time for tangible accomplishments has long expired. You can’t  create policy that will un-brand you, so to speak. You can’t crunch numbers, hold them up and say “See?! See?!?!” in an attempt rightly discredit Rob Ford’s alien math when it comes to budgets and taxes.

So, what to do….what to do…

Drop out of the race. Yes, the time for officially withdrawing has come and gone, but you can still do the right thing. This just wasn’t your year. The words ‘too soon’ might as well be emblazoned on your forehead. That Furious George thing would have actually helped you if eHealth did not exist. Toronto, clearly, has an appetite for a fiery politician, but it just isn’t you. It just isn’t Sarah Thomson, and it certainly isn’t David Miller sidekick, Joe Pantalone. As much as it hurts you to hear this, and despite what the polls may say, the only candidate who stands a chance at defeating Mr. Ford is Rocco Rossi. I know, it’s crazy. He’s polling lower than you, had trouble resonating with voters and has an unsettling smile, but he has been consistently polling as the person voters would select as their second choice, meaning he is the only candidate left who can save this city from becoming Lastman 2.0.

Even when you drop out, it still is a long shot Rossi can pull it off. He will need to scare the shit out of Torontonians, asking them to imagine Mr. Ford at the helm, a lame duck Mayor from day one who can’t build consensus and will be barking his elementary orders from the king’s seat, a picture too disturbing for voters to allow. He will also have to convince your supporters to rally behind him, no small feat given the ideological differences between you two. This, by the way, can also only be successful if Rossi can shrink voter apathy, especially among young voters. If turnout can swell to 50% Mr. Ford will not become Mayor. Bet on it.

Take that love you no doubt have for this city and put it ahead of your political ambitions. You still have time to make your mark. It’s not like this eHealth thing will stick to you forever a la Bob Rae and social contracts. You got time to rebrand yourself. Take that time and help Toronto escape the clutches of Chris Farley…please.

And no, Mr. Rossi did not encourage or suggest I write this letter. In fact, I don’t think he likes me at all after the beating I have given him in my blog. This is just an honest effort to keep a buffoon out of office.

Sincerely,

James Di Fiore

Toronto Mayoral Candidate (who knows he can’t win…bummer, I know)

Welcome to Fat City (formerly Toronto)

Why Most of Toronto is Fear and Loathing Election Day, 2010

By: James Di Fiore

Three quarters of Toronto despise him, and yet Rob Ford may be the next mayor of the city.

‘But how can that be?’ says the uninformed Ford supporter, ‘After all, he is ahead in all of the polls with 45% support of voters.’

And that’s the answer – he has the support of voters, which is roughly 40% of the city. So, Ford has approximately 20% support citywide. How’s that for harsh realities?

Far be it from me to try to educate Ford supporters about percentages, apathy, splitting the vote and other items slightly more complicated than slogans like ‘End the waste at City Hall!’ Seniors gravitate towards slogans, suburbanites live in a bubble and the remaining Fordians are simply, tragically, uninformed. Christie Blatchford, who mused about City Hall employees being overpaid, is not uninformed. She is a hypocrite, however. On one hand she chastises councilors for making close to a hundred grand a year, all the while saying nothing about her own salary – $180 000/year for tapping keys on her laptop in the wee hours from her house in the Annex.

And Fordians say we are out of touch.

This whole election has been one folly after another. One man has cemented himself as the champion of seniors, suburbanites and the intellectually bankrupt, while the remaining four have shown our city to be a den of opportunists who couldn’t play politics to save their lives. If Rocco Rossi had been busted for DUI he would have been done. If Sarah Thomson forgot that she got busted for pot she would have been as irrelevant as Ellie Kirzner, the NOW Magazine flower-child throwback who thinks it is still 1969. And if George Smitherman had told an Iranian man that his wife should go back to Iran to get beaten and raped, we may have at least questioned his homosexuality.

And if any of these things had happened to Joe Pantalone, it likely wouldn’t matter. Sorry, but Joey Pants doesn’t resonate enough for even the worst scandals to make a difference.

But here we are; a city about to elect Chris Farley as our mayor. Who would have thought this could have happened in a post-Mel Lastman city? Most people look back at those years as some sort of dream, a Coen Brothers Production of what happens when the water supply is laced with LSD. Speaking of which, Hunter S. Thompson once ran for Sheriff of Aspen, Colorado on a platform consisting of removing all the roads and replacing it with grass, and renaming the town Fat City in order to deter an influx of elites from moving there.

Toronto might become Fat City. And while Hunter S. Thompson was making a statement, likely drug induced, about the repression of young, liberal citizens who were being forced out by the ultra-conservative bunch, at least he wore his blunt on his sleeve. Ford is the opposite; a Tea Party-ish buffoon running on slogans directed towards the old, suburban middle-class who are tired of the downtown, liberal hippies.

A cosmopolitan destination once adored for its inclusiveness and cleanliness, its friendliness and commerce, may soon have an alleged wife beater at the helm who calls journalists ‘socialists’.

No word yet if FOX News is suing for trade mark infringement.

What is clear, and this is an against all odds play, is that non-voters need to shed that apathetic skin, get off their asses and cast a ballot. A low turnout means Ford wins, but anything higher than 50% means Toronto does not have to experiment with yet another mascot mayor. The math is simple: and since Fordians aren’t very strong at anything that can’t be emblazoned on a foam finger, there’s still a shot at saving Toronto from 4 years of being known as the modern day Fat City.


The Nicer Side of Politics

Candidates should not be judged by the content of their supporters’ characters

By: James Di Fiore


Believe it or not, there is a genuine person behind the candidate you have strong disagreements with. In Toronto’s Mayoral election, a race that has seen no shortage of name calling, controversy and verbal attacks, sometimes politics can be put aside for a few moments of civility.

I have made no apologies for being both a candidate and a pundit in the election. Air-time is elusive for so-called fringe candidates like myself, and driving traffic to my own outspoken opinions of my fellow, more recognizable candidates is not only satisfying, but unique to my campaign. I spare nobody and feel obligated to speak on behalf of young people who are fed up with old-guard politics. That being said, I can certainly see why a few of the main 5 candidates are attractive to voters.

While much of my venom has been playfully spat on perceived front runner Rob Ford, I have also taken a few jabs at Rocco Rossi, whose campaign was sputtering until he announced a new policy platform that would see elected officials recalled if they did not live up to their campaign promises. I actually like the idea and believe it was probably the first act of Warren Kinsella, the Liberal strategist who volunteered his consultation services to help spark Rossi’s poll numbers. Kinsella, who resigned his position as Chair of the federal Liberal War Room in 2009, is one of politics’ more ruthless thinkers. His last two projects involving candidates saw short-term Liberal leader Stephane Dion, and the often discussed struggles of current Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. I tend to wonder if Kinsella’s status as punk rock hobbyist hasn’t deafened his skill as a strategist, but that remains to be seen. It does bring a certain ammunition to Rossi’s campaign that will prove to have little to do with positive politics, however. Just ask the Smitherman campaign.

Two weeks ago I accused Rossi of having a style that felt overly rehearsed. I still believe he has trouble convincing voters he is authentic, typified when he attempted to corner Rob Ford in the days following the now irrelevant comments regarding immigration. After spending time with Rossi at his campaign office last week, I walked away with my first glimpse of the man behind the microphone; he was generous with him time, engaged in the conversation and personable. We still have all the same differing opinions, but this wasn’t about politics. I didn’t see the smarmy guy I was used to seeing on television who came off phony and cringe-worthy. I immediately wanted to speak with Rossi’s media handler, but instead I shook his hand, took a photo and thanked him for his time.

I believe the same would be true if I had one-on-ones with Ford, George Smitherman, Joe Pantalone or Sarah Thomson. There must be an authentic, casual and even affable person underneath all that image work. I met Sarah Thomson once at an environmental function and she was pleasant, but in full shmooze mode. Same with Smitherman. I have not yet met Pantalone and have only exchanged emails with Ford, but there’s still time.

One thing hard to ignore is the unwavering support each of these candidates seem to have in their prospective camps. If you visit their Facebook pages and interact with them as I have, be prepared to taste the wrath of fans who not only believe in their candidate, but who also excuse their actions with as much vigour as they use when slamming the competition. And if it is pure hatred you are looking for, check out the comments section of any major newspaper, where only venom is posted these days.

Personally, I will continue to call out all of the candidates, both due to my natural urge to shine a spotlight on the facets of elections that some journalists and citizens take for granted, and because I am a candidate without the resources and cash of the front-runners.

And while this would not help me decide who to vote for if I wasn’t running – in the end, I’d be happy to sit and have a beer with any of them.

Toronto Election 2010 – None of the Above

By: James Di Fiore

It has been a strange municipal campaign so far in the process to decide Toronto’s newest mayor. We have seen marijuana charges, a freezing out of Canada’s largest newspaper, Sarah Palin comparisons and charges of racism – and that’s just one candidate.

On paper, you might think this has been a nail-biter; an election with such excitement that the city will be holding its collective breath until October 25th. In reality, the city is asleep.

Here is a quick breakdown of each ‘viable’ candidate in this year’s race for mayor:

Rob Ford – Widely considered the front-runner in most polls, Ford is a slapstick version of former Toronto Mayor, Mel Lastman. I know, crazy eh? Ford’s campaign follies are punctuated by his inexplicable popularity among older folks. His one-trick-pony message of lower taxes and lower spending has resonated among small picture conservatives, but his mouth won’t let him get the kind of lead he needs to prevail. This Chris Farley meets Rush Limbaugh politician can’t afford any more screw-ups, even though the field of other so-called front runners are too impotent to capitalize on his mistakes.

George Smitherman – Dubbed The Invisible Man by this blogger/candidate, Smitherman is either getting a raw deal by the media or just hasn’t been savvy enough to make any real headway. The former Deputy Premier hasn’t quite shaken off the eHealth scandal that cost tax payers over 1 billion dollars, and his lack of bite in the campaign is a surprise to most pundits. He took a lot of flack about his temper before the race began, so perhaps he has been advised to keep it in check. However, since Ford has been able to gain a lead through snide remarks and an unrelenting arrogance, methinks the time has come for ‘Furious George‘ to be let out of his cage.

Rocco Rossi – He might be the nation’s most disingenuous politician. Every time Rossi takes the podium the natural reaction is to dry heave or throw something…hard. His over-rehearsed style and repetitive messaging is more than nauseating, it is simply not working. He has accredited an Einstein quote to his father, habitually speaks to voters like they are pre-schoolers, and even tried to bait Ford on-camera after a rally at City Hall. Rossi used an opener about his parents being immigrants before shouting questions like “Why are you running away Rob?” in that phony, uncompelling voice of his. He is a perfect case study of why lifelong strategists should take a page out of Warren Kinsella’s handbook and never, EVER run for office.

Sarah Thomson – The lone female candidate in this year’s race, Thomson redefines the term ‘shell candidate’. Her self proclaimed image is that of a fiscal conservative who also happens to be hip with environmental issues, but dig deeper and you find a woman whose business experience is exaggerated and whose political leanings are akin to the Tea Party south of the border. Thomson has a Clintonian way of explaining how she is the co-owner of a neo-libertarian web site whose address is the exact same as her campaign headquarters: “I have nothing to do with it.” Bravo. Unfortunately for her, yet fortunate for Torontonians, her message is delivered in a style that reeks of steadfast memorization and without any natural flair for the issues.

Joe Pantalone – David Miller’s spendthrift sidekick over the past 7 years has had a difficult time connecting with anybody during the campaign. Not to sound politically incorrect (but what do I care?), Pantalone’s accent is sometimes difficult to decipher and is often more front and center than the actual issues. He’s a backdrop personality whose experience works against him, especially now that David Miller is being portrayed as an incompetent lefty who turned Toronto into Flint, Michigan.

The choice for mayor this year has proven to be not just sparse, but embarrassing. The youngest voters (ages 18 to 35) represent over a third of the city’s overall population, yet these candidates spend their days pandering to seniors and hurling insults at each other. Their strategists have clearly advised them to not bother with youthful voters, likely citing apathy as the unconquerable obstacle among the most savviest demographic. They might be right, or they might be blowing an opportunity to tap in to the only group of voters that could help one of them take the keys to City Hall.

Stay tuned for Part 2: The Fringe Candidates coming soon…

Ford’s Immigration Comments Seduce the Uninformed

By James Di Fiore

From the Toronto Star:

“Ford said that if Smitherman cared about Jewish Torontonians, he wouldn’t have supported new public housing in Lawrence Heights. Ford said some 5,000 Jewish residents from that neighbourhood had written him letters opposing the development.

It is statements like this one that make some people bristle at the thought of Rob Ford becoming mayor. Arguably, Ford is the most straight-talking candidate in the field, and unfortunately his honesty comes with a harsh reality – Ford doesn’t seem to mind the primitive, tribal-centric views of some of the people in this city. In fact, he relishes it.

During last night’s debate, Ford made the mind boggling assumption that immigration could be shut off for a while until Toronto’s fiscal realities were dealt with.

““We can’t even take care of our own 2.5 million,” he said. “We should take care of the people we have now before bringing in more.”

These kind of bumper sticker statements resonate with some voters. Curiously, Ford neglected to mention that this position was impossible to execute, preferring to get a smattering of applause than to actually explain how he would stop immigration. This tactic, perfected by Tea Party folks in the States, works to seduce the electorate into thinking in Utopian terms rather than realistic policy goals.

Ford’s ability to pander to a mostly white, mostly suburban audience means he is likely losing the battle to attract a more urban, multi-cultural voter in this election. The lack of depth demonstrated in his opinions on immigration can work however, feeding a segment of the electorate unconcerned with legislative realities that make it impossible for Ford to follow through on shielding Toronto from accepting possible refugees like the Tamils who arrived in British Columbia last week.

Unfortunately, Torontonians who want to be properly informed have to rely on the ineffective rebuttals by George Smitherman, Rocco Rossi and Joe Pantalone, all of whom fall short of engaging voters or properly chastising Ford for living in a dream world where the mayor’s office is actually an arm of the federal immigration department. Sarah Thomson, the candidate proven to lean farthest to the right, has become so irrelevant that most voters have tuned her out, leaving Ford the only choice for staunch conservatives in the city.

And while all candidates continue to pander to seniors and baby-boomers, once again the under 40 voter is left out in the cold. Their lack of interest in this election and overall apathy to all things political enables Ford and his team to rally ahead. Just what they are rallying towards remains to be seen.

Sarah Thomson – The Palin Discoveries

A few months ago I answered an online ad from a web site seeking a new editor. I sent them my blog which contained more than a few posts about embattled then-Mayoral candidate Adam Giambrone’s sex scandal and the Toronto Transit Labour Leader Bob Kinnear’s arrogance towards Torontonians. I was called in for an interview a few days later.

The web site was http://www.libertaspost.com, a stringent, right-wing site claiming to be a place for all things Libertarian. It also claims to be a representation of all political voices, but take a look at the blogroll and a certain air of neo-con comes wafting through the screen. The office is located at 3 Church Street, Suite #300. It is the same office as the Women’s Post, the all-women magazine owned by Toronto Mayoral candidate, Sarah Thomson.

Normally, this kind of thing would not be newsworthy in a Toronto mayoral election. After all, Thomson has no chance of winning as the three front runners are digging in and consistently lead the pack of 35 candidates. Rob Ford, George Smitherman and Rocco Rossi are doing battle while Thomson struggles to get air time. While she is relatively unknown, she has lofty environmental policies that seem to dwarf the ideas of every other candidate combined. Her positions on the environment are so impressive, they are almost unbelievable. Yep, go with that last thought.

Her web site might be the most right-wing online presence in Canada today. That’s fine on the surface as all political leanings should be unfettered when it comes to free speech, but Thomson has been engaging in a clear strategy – target the left-leaning environmentalists while keeping her ultra-libertarian roots a secret.

For example: Thomson’s web site, after a simple search, is in love with another Sarah south (northwest) of the border. Yes, Sarah Palin is from the same political ilk as Ms. Thomson. They are part of a new breed of right-wing politician – cozy up to the folks that will get you elected, but do it dishonestly.

You won’t find Thomson’s links to Libertas Post on her campaign web site. I tried calling them but the campaign did not want to comment. For a candidate to present herself as a viable, all things for all people candidate, it is beyond dishonest that Thomson be allowed to hide her true leanings in plain site, especially when her campaign strategy was to target the very crowd that would likely despise her the most.

And while she didn’t have a strong chance at winning the election, she should now withdraw her candidacy. If she had conducted an honest campaign from the get-go none of this would matter, and she might have been a more formidable candidate. But, to shield voters from her true identy, Thomson shows herself as a politician who can’t be trusted with the keys to City Hall.