When mayoralty candidate Rob Ford aligned himself with Rev. Wendell Brereton, of Regent Park’s Glorious Church-Faith Temple, it spoke volumes not so much about candidates and their views on fiscal responsibility or same-sex marriage, but rather that us poor Torontonians have no clue as to who the other candidates are that are angling to become Mayor. (Or were, in Brereton’s case: he dropped out of the Mayoralty race to run in Ward 6, Etobicoke Lakeshore) .
Wendell Brereton is an ex-classmate of mine. We've shared a number of city championships on the b-ball court and on the track (standing at 6-foot-7, he can run like a gazelle). So, questionable platform and views or not, I know he’s been trying to kick and cajole the media, politicos across the political spectrum, and the other more visible candidates to be heard, for many many months.
While I was out at a TDSB leadership seminar for young men of colour, an event that Brereton was in attendance at, one chap from his camp suggested to me that it's part of a "right and white wing" conspiracy to silence any voices that ain’t right or white.
I haven’t thrown my support behind any of these candidates just yet, because even potential candidate John Tory, who hasn’t even thrown his hat in the ring just yet, looks much stronger than the choices we are being presented with as of now.
Until my hip hop generation of diverse voters, and my African Canadian community can get our e-mails and calls returned. I'm still waiting for my e-mail and/or call to be returned from my local area MPP in St. Paul’s dated back to late March, with subsequent e-mails receiving no reply.
(Ford is on to something with his argument that politicians rely on your vote to get into office, then don’t return your calls. At least dude returns his constituents calls.)
The crazy thing here is that John Tory gets way more ink than all of the other candidates not named Thomson – Ford – Pantalone – Rossi - Smitherman, combined. So this blog ain’t even about Brereton. It’s about the vast majority of these other faceless candidates that get no love, shine or attention. They don’t get invited to debate live or on TV. That’s not a democracy.
Is the media to blame? Absolutely.
I’m pretty sure there are a bunch of Breretons running around, candidates of all stripes, some candidates who might actually represent other parts of our demographic realities (last I checked, neither Thomson, Ford, Pantalone, Rossi, nor Smitherman are members of the Asian, South Asian or Black communities, the three largest ethnic groups in Toronto). Not that they should be, or want to be, but maybe you can read between the lines on this one.
Voter apathy will continue to reign supreme if such super large chunks of our populace don't see themselves on the ballot, in a city that Statistics Canada projects will have a visible majority population by 2012. Or if they are on the ballot, like Brereton was, they don't get invited to the dinner table. Or to debate.
I can smell the stench from here, in front of my laptop.
Maybe Brereton and Ford need each other. Rob Ford has little resonance in the black community, the faith community, nor the jock community (whatever that is). And Brereton is relative unknown amongst political insiders, with no track record to speak of.