With Rossi out, it leaves three frontrunners left
Rob Ford, George Smitherman, Joe Pantalone
By Kris Scheuer
RoccoRossi is no longer running to be Mayor of Toronto.
I don’t know the exact moment when he made the decision but he made the announcement at 9 pm last night, just five hours after attending an editorial board meeting at the Town Crier newspaper where I work.
Here’s Rossi’s goodbye speech and read it in full below.
“Good evening and thank you for coming.
Over the past nine months I have had the privilege to meet thousands of Torontonians and their families and speak with them about their lives, hopes and dreams for our great city.
Torontonians graciously invited me into their homes, parks, offices, churches, mosques and synagogues. They spoke candidly about their concerns for the city, their desire for change, but also their hopes for their children, and their vision for a better Toronto.
I thank every one of those individuals who took the time to tell me how they wanted the city to change, to improve – now and for future generations.
We are a great city and a generous people, but our city is at a crossroads. We cannot go on as we have, yet the road ahead is unclear. As a community, and as a city, we need to decide what new direction we…together… will take. That is what elections are for, and that is why I was the first candidate to officially enter this race last January.”
“For the last nine months I have presented Torontonians with an agenda for positive and practical change to take back their City Hall.
I’ve placed a premium on developing new ideas and presenting them to Torontonians. Selling assets to pay down our debt and build new transit. Voter recall and term limits. And putting our fiscal house in order and building a strong region and bridging the feeling of alienation of the inner suburbs. I released a fiscal plan and policy book called Together We Can Bring Change to City Hall…which was received with great accolades…because it is a plan that adds up, and offers positive change for our city.
Over the last few days, Torontonians gathered with their families over their Thanksgiving Day tables. Perhaps many of you discussed the mayor’s race – what our great city needs – what our future looks like – and who is the best person to lead our city in a new direction.
Also during this time, polls were conducted seeking your opinions. Despite my efforts to focus this race around issues and ideas that I felt matter, it has become clear that the majority of Torontonians have parked their support with one of two candidates, Mr. Smitherman and Mr. Ford.
In essence, the choice for mayor is coming down to those who want to stop what Mr. Ford describes as the “gravy train”, and those who want to stop Mr. Ford.
My vision for Toronto was never about stopping anything. It was about building…about changing…about expanding…about improving.
Under the current scenario, it has become clear that my message is not what the majority of Torontonians want to focus their attention on.
Accordingly, and respecting the obvious mood of the electorate to see this battle unfold, I am announcing tonight that I am withdrawing from the mayor’s race effective immediately.
I want Torontonians to look closely and ask the frontrunners the tough questions before casting their vote.
I did not enter this campaign to cut a deal except with the people of Toronto and I will leave it the same way. I am endorsing none of the other candidates. Indeed, I have already voted in the advance poll…and I voted for Rocco Rossi.
As I have always said, Torontonians will be the ones who decide who is mayor, and now that I am no longer in this race, I will not try and influence this race…Torontonians will make that decision.
I want to thank my staff and volunteers for the enormous effort that have put into my campaign. I want to thank my supporters, who have stood by me. I thank the press who have treated me fairly. It is a humbling experience to run for public office, and an experience I will always cherish.
This is obviously a difficult decision, but one I have reached after full consultation with my wife Rhonnie and my fantastic team of staff and volunteer advisors. Thank you Rhonnie and DJ for your support and love. I thank my parents and family for their unending support.
I have run hard. And I have run long. And now, I am tossing the baton to all Torontonians who want what is best for their city.
My advice to Torontonians is to listen closely to the candidates and vote with your heads and your hearts. Because we are a dynamic, caring city whose best days lie ahead. Vote for something, not against something.
Best of luck to the remaining candidates for mayor, and those running for council and school trustee…you have all worked very hard… only those who have run know how hard.
As the son of hardworking immigrants who didn’t speak English, as someone who didn’t speak English until I went to school, I am honoured to have had the opportunity to stand for mayor. But tonight, my candidacy ends.
Thank you Toronto for the opportunity.”