John Tory says he may not be the front-runner in the race for mayor of Toronto, but he's the only the candidate to take the city "not left, not right, but forward".
Tory made the proclamation Wednesday night at an event billed as his campaign kick-off. The former Newstalk 1010 host announced he was running February 23rd.
Speaking to a crowd of about 400 from a podium emblazoned with the word "TOgether", Tory took the chance to hit against his two main rivals.
Tory lashed out at Olivia Chow, who he identified as "the NDP candidate", for her stance on transit.
"She says she might get around to building the Yonge Street relief line eventually", said Tory. "I gotta tell ya folks, eventually doesn't cut it in the real world when you've waited for three trains every day, when you're late for work, when you're late for a job interview and you're late for picking up the kids".
Tory has flagged the relief line as priority if he becomes mayor, part of his plan to make Toronto more livable, affordable and functional. Tory isn't prepared to reveal how he intends to pay for the project with a projected price tag of $7-billion.
"In the weeks and months ahead I will have a full financial plan that will lay out how we're gonna pay for everything and it'll be put in front of the voters in due course and in plenty of time for them to assess it", Tory told reporters after his speech.
Tory also vowed to move ahead with construction of the approved and funded Scarborough subway extension. Chow favours a cheaper, LRT line with more stops and a shorter construction timeline.
Tory believes Chow is counting on disappointment with Rob Ford's four years as mayor for "a big pendulum swing that takes the city back to its free-spending ways".
While Tory says Ford has exhausted the good will he was voted in on, the idea behind his 20-10 landslide win is still a good one.
"City hall should answer to you, every day, and for every dollar of your money."
Tory is unconvinced by suggestions, including from the city manager, that on the heels of Ford's campaign to "stop the gravy train" there's no more waste to be found at City Hall. The former executive pointed to potential consolidation at Build Toronto, Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Toronto Parking Authority and the TTC's real estate department as money-saving options.
Tory managed a dig at Ford while admitting his own political career hasn't been all smooth sailing.
"I've experience defeat, I've been knocked down, and I've gotten back up. And I'm not perfect, but unlike some others, I will never be content with that fact."