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'It's about standing up for the regular folks, come hell or high water': In conversation with Anthony Furey
The Toronto mayoral candidate sits down with Acceptable Views, and shares his vision for a safer, more prosperous, and less 'woke' city, that shouldn't bow to every mob.
Toronto’s problems aren’t unique, but, as is the case in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Vancouver, they’ve fallen on concerned, ordinary citizens to solve.
Like the efforts underway in those similarly once-great cities, Anthony Furey’s have been anything but ordinary.
Like many of you, my admiration for his journalism and commentary only grew during those two-and-a-half interminable years. As Toronto-based bureaucrats shirked their duties, and all but appeared on the backs of milk cartons as shop windows fell empty and the city fell into a state of disrepair, Anthony’s reporting never lost sight of the little guy, and the need for a common sense approach to getting us back on track to normal.
Toronto may not be pretending its Wuhan anymore, but with the activist mask having slipped for far too many professionals who were willing to throw away the entire social hierarchy of needs to protect their ability to work from home in their jammies, leadership is going to matter more than ever when the next viral or social contagion sweeps the globe, and that same ever-growing professionally-aggrieved class again defaults to pulling the shutdown valve, because they were never fans of ‘normal’ to begin with.
I believe that Anthony Furey has those leadership qualities; I feel this way because I’ve seen them up close and in person on the campaign trail. And recent poll numbers show that Torontonians are starting to agree with me.
He’s surprisingly good at this for a first-timer, but in reality, none of this should come as a surprise. Unlike the majority of politicians, and his fellow candidates, who routinely waffle on matters of public discourse — or say, defunding the police — Anthony has been telling us exactly where he stands for 15 years and counting.
And he’ll tell you more now.
Alexander Brown: After over 15 years as a journalist and commentator, why run for Mayor of Toronto? Why now?
Anthony Furey: I believe that the issues I've been advocating for the past few years, the ones I've been steadfast about, are now the issues people care most about. For example: I'm the only major candidate running for Mayor who didn't throw the police under the bus at some point. All of this anti-police rhetoric and bowing to radicals is what got us to this point where it feels like Toronto is turning into downtown Vancouver or Seattle. For years, I've been calling to phase out drug injection sites and replace them with treatment centres. The time for these policies is now and I'm the only credible voice on this file.
You're the non-establishment candidate. Do you view that as more of a challenge, or as an opportunity?
It's a great opportunity. It's time for an outside, fresh perspective. I've spent the past decade connecting with real people from all walks of life across this beautiful city. City Hall currently behaves as if downtown is the only thing that matters. I'm all about bringing in excluded voices -- particularly the folks in the suburbs from Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough.
As far as I'm concerned, there's no bigger endorsement than the one you secured from Jordan Peterson. How did that come about, and should we expect more from Dr. Peterson?
It's an honour to be endorsed by Jordan Peterson. We've been acquaintances for years, but we recently spoke at length about our shared passion for Toronto. While he's an international celebrity, he's also a long-time Torontonian. We both love this city. I've recorded an episode of his popular podcast that will be released soon.
Let's say you become Mayor of Toronto, have you thought about how you'd avoid the trappings of all those who have come in as outsiders with promises and grand ideas, only to be changed or stifled by the realities of the job?
The main difference between me and other candidates and the former Mayor is I'm not afraid to make tough decisions. If a small group of fringe voices say mean things about me on Twitter or at a protest in front of City Hall, I don't care. It's not about getting invited to the right parties, it's about standing up for the regular folks, come hell or high water.
In my social and professional circles, you made quite the name for yourself standing up for open schools, businesses, and personal freedoms during Ontario's many lockdowns — and often at great personal cost. Will you really commit to resisting the kinds of voices that have helped bring about the decline of Toronto, and cities like it?
Yes, I have no problem standing up for what's right. As Mayor of Toronto, I will phase out injection sites, say no to bike lanes on major roads and eliminate unnecessary programs and spending priorities -- and I'll do it regardless of any mob outbursts.
The ‘no new bike lanes’ policy has made major headlines, what are some of the nuances of this proposed solution that may be lost in bike-lobby fervour? If one enjoys biking on the weekend, or a ride into the office when the weather is agreeable, should they be concerned?
I bike for some errands and definitely for recreational purposes, often with my kids. Sometimes I use bike lanes. But when I'm going along the Danforth bike lane and encounter hardly any other bikes, I'm able to acknowledge that maybe there shouldn't be an entire lane on the street that's reserved just for me. We spend too much money appeasing the radical bike lobby -- especially the $10 million that's spent clearing bike lanes in January and February.
Parents' rights have become a massive issue as school boards become more 'woke.' Will you stand up for concerned parents and their children on matters of fringe-progressivism in the classroom, and inappropriate early discussions on matters of sexual identity?
I'm hearing from parents from all walks of life and all political backgrounds that things in our schools have just gone too far. We shouldn't be giving elementary school kids surveys asking if they're non-binary. Every reasonable person agrees. I will stand up for parents' rights and tell the province and school boards that parents have real concerns that can't be ignored.
Torontonians no longer feel wholly safe on transit, downtown, or in the parks, will you stop the slide of Toronto becoming the new San Francisco, or East Hastings? In your opinion, are the other candidates up for that job?
Toronto has fewer police officers than we did 10 years ago. I will hire 500 more police officers. We need to increase the visible presence of officers on our streets and on transit. When Mark Saunders was Chief, the police union voted 86% non-confidence in his leadership, and he bears responsibility for the state the city is now in. The public and police need to know that Mayor Furey will stand up for our officers and never throw them under the bus.
And lastly, much to great public mockery, Eileen De Villa's lockdown scarf has been given the museum treatment at City Hall. As Mayor of Toronto, what would you do with that display?
Remove it on day one.
Looking for ways to get involved? Click to learn more about Anthony’s campaign.
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