Toronto Mayor John Tory calls for end to carding – Toronto – CBC News

Quite a change from his earlier position (not a bad thing in itself to be flexible and respond to public pressure):

Tory said the issue has been among “the most personally agonizing” since he became mayor.

“After great personal reflection and many discussions … I concluded it was time to say, enough. It was time to acknowledge there is no real way to fix a practice which has come to be regarded as illegitimate, disrespectful and hurtful.

“It was better to start over.”

Tory said his discussions included a talk with journalist Desmond Cole, who recently wrote about his experiences with carding for Toronto Life.

Cole said he was “overjoyed” with the mayor’s move, but cautioned that more action is needed.

“This has been a long time coming,” Cole told reporters. “Now we have to make sure [Tory] and the police services board and Chief Mark Saunders follow-up on this announcement … so carding is actually ended. So we’ll wait and see.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory calls for end to carding – Toronto – CBC News.

Christie Blatchford’s take:

Carding aside, what’s interesting here is that as of last week, presumably shortly before he hopped that plane to Edmonton, Tory was proudly standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Toronto’s new police chief, Mark Saunders, in defending the practice — always with a view to reforming it and improving it, he said (as indeed does the chief) but defending it nonetheless, and seemingly with sincerity.

It was a brave, if politically dangerous, position to take, I thought, and reinforced the romantic notion I think I had of the new mayor. (Before running for mayor, he was the host of a radio show on Newstalk 1010, where I was a regular guest, and I came to like him very much, and still do.)

But he is a politician, after all, and one who after several unsuccessful forays in politics has landed in a job he absolutely loves and for which he seems tailor-made: He works like a dog, is out and about every weekend at this festival or that, and has been by most measures a pretty good mayor.

And politicians, perhaps particularly those who enjoy the work and relentless social contact it entails, don’t like being unloved.

The voices against carding were rising; nothing said that better than a press conference last week featuring all manner of former civic leaders (why, they ran the gamut from A to B, from Gordon Cressy to David Crombie) denouncing the practice. And the voices against it were also louder (the Star has made it a veritable campaign, with at least one of its columnists suggesting pretty directly that Tory was a racist for supporting carding) than any on the other side.

I suspect internal polling numbers told Tory this was not a fight he would win, and that his support, even for a reformed version of carding, might define his mayoralty. And it’s a more believable explanation than the revelation-in-a-taxi or the epiphany-on-the-streetcar.

Christie Blatchford: Epiphanies on playing the cards right

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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