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Political opportunism
untempered by ideals

TORONTO – Jewish culture calls it “chutzpa”: taking on the David vs Goliath demeanour in the expectation of somehow replicating that ancient Biblical outcome. We call it misplaced presumption, knowing the metrics are stacked heavily against the attempt.

Little shepherd boy David knew why he wanted to take on the giant Goliath. Here’s Norm’s reason: it “seems like a good time” – to announce that he has been acclaimed as the NDP candidate. That means there were no other contestants and that Di Pasquale had been working behind the scenes to be nominated, even though he was supposed to be working for the Catholic constituents of Spadina Fort-York (SFY) as the trustee for Catholic electors at the TCDSB. Why this decision? The incumbent just resigned.

Uncharitable types might say this is typical of politicians. We disagree – it is typical of self-centered, self-seeking [misplaced] pomposity. We do not know whether that describes candidate Di Pasquale. What we do know is that, at writing, neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives had any declared candidates, but the outgoing Liberal MP garnered 55.8% of the popular vote barely 22 months ago. Norm’s Party garnered 20.1%. Today, pollsters suggest that these numbers are 52.5% and 26,0% respectively.

Anything can happen and if the NDP were to win it would merit accolades.

In any event, if the Liberals decide to replace the outgoing MP with a candidate of Chinese origin – 18% of the residents of SFY were so self-declared, according to Statistics Canada – his chances would be diminished accordingly. He could, of course presume to be the natural candidate for the Italian (7%) and Portuguese (4%) constituents because they send their kids mainly to the Catholic schools he vowed to protect.

He might have to convince them that he was just kidding when he shut down parents at a board meeting for wanting to quote from a Catholic Catechism, in a public meeting of a Catholic District School Board, because the language was treading on “dangerous territory”. His leader flaunts his own religion publicly (turban, beard, kirpan, bracelets etc., as is his right) but Norm appears embarrassed by his own. Those approaches may even put him at odds with his leader… if he advances past the ballot.

Pollster – “elections prognosticator extraordinaire” – 338 Canada – gives the Liberals 99% chance or winning the seat. In the meanwhile, he will have resigned from his position as trustee by now. As at time of going to press, neither he nor the TCDSB had returned requests for comment.

(Article written with files from Priscilla Pajdo)

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