Cover photo adapted from Sketchy for Mayor.
We recently had the chance to chat with Sketchy the Clown, a candidate for mayor of Toronto who is sick of hearing comparisons between city hall and circuses. He has a bunch of interesting ideas for how Toronto can bounce back and become better than ever, and, yes, he is an actual clown.
The True North Times: Why did you decide to enter the Toronto mayoral race when it’s so full of ridiculous antics and insanity?
Sketchy the Clown: Because I am the ridiculous antics and insanity. If I don’t provide that, who will?
TNT: Rob Ford is out of rehab, and running for re-election. What will you be able to bring to the people of Toronto that he won’t? What won’t you bring the people of Toronto that he will?
SC: Rob is no longer the drunken clown of Toronto [or Canadian] politics. Someone needs to fill that role. I feel ready to take on that role. I have an LCBO gift certificate that should get me through the rest of the campaign, or at least this afternoon.
TNT: Tell us about some of the discrimination and hardship you’ve endured as a result of media outlets commonly referring to Rob Ford as a “clown,” and city hall as a “circus.” Do you stand in solidarity with zookeepers, who are equally offended by references to Queen’s Park as a “zoo”?
SC: I kind of went through the stages of grief on this. At first I was in denial, “hey everyone loves politicians, they are calling them clowns!” Then anger, “quit calling politicians clowns, if you want a slur for them call them politicians.” Then bargaining, “hey, if I run for mayor will you then see the difference between someone with a red nose and broad physical comedy and an elected representative in a suit in a boring meeting hall?” Then depression, “I am not getting out of bed to campaign today, no one seems surprised when I appear with the other candidates.” And, finally, acceptance. “If the city of Toronto wants a clown for a mayor, then I guess I’m the clown for the job.”
TNT: The past twelve months have seen Toronto featured everywhere from the Daily Show to the Kuwaiti press. How would you restore Toronto’s reputation on the international stage?
SC: I don’t recall Toronto the Good being featured on many shows, or, in fact, in any media. I think that dropping my pants on stage will keep Toronto in the media spotlight that we so deserve to be in.
TNT: How do you plan to juggle all of Toronto’s problems? Which will you tackle first?
SC: First thing is that we need more money. Jugglers on the street who do an act and pass the hat for money can also have a corporate sponsor who hired them to be at their event busking. Toronto doesn’t have flexibility like that. The main source of income for Toronto is property tax (supplemented by fines and fees). I would negotiate with the province to get some better revenue generating mechanisms. David Miller tried that and was screwed over by the regressive property transfer tax and the car registration tax. I would like to hold out for something better. To continue with my street juggler metaphor, I want to open the Rogers Centre roof and have people put money in it as Toronto’s hat.
TNT: How do you think you’ll be able to use your life experiences to help Toronto prosper? What makes a clown uniquely poised to lead Toronto?
SC: I can make boring issues that face council more interesting and palatable. There are all sorts of pressing issues that no one talks about. Sure, all the candidates talk about subways. I’m talking about sewers. We have a problem where the storm sewers overflow into the sewage system when we get heavy rain. Then it overflows and we get fecal matter in the lake. How do you get people excited about that? A good slogan, “Don’t poo in the lake!” People will remember it and want to know what I mean. That is how you get people motivated behind an $8 billion dollar infrastructure issue that no one will ever see. I like to say that this is the downtown relief line that we really need.
TNT: Toronto City Council has become famous for shouting sessions, tackling colleagues, drinking milk, dancing, and tickling one another. What type of environment would you try to create in the Sketchy administration (though that name has a bit of a seedy ring to it)?
SC: Shouting and tackling are, in my mind, associated with those crappy British farce plays that people insist on putting on, despite no one ever liking them. I’m a vaudeville clown. I’d like to see a variety of things. If we are talking about Toronto Fire Services then let’s get some sexy firemen juggling fire and spray them down with fire hoses. Toronto Community Housing has infrastructure repair backlogs? House party keg fundraisers! See where I’m going with this?
TNT: It seems like every other day someone new is throwing their hat into the ring. What do you think that says about this race? What makes you less crazy than the other candidates?
SC: I like to claim that I am the craziest candidate for mayor. Failing that, the sketchiest. I’d like to thank the staff at GreenStone rehab clinic for helping me reach my dream.
TNT: Lastly, if you could impart one piece of wisdom to our readers, what would you tell them?
SC: Don’t vote for me. Check out www.toronto.ca to see what the city does, then look at all of the serious candidates and see who you think will do the best job solving the problems in front of us and take care of all of those services and infrastructure that the city is made of. However, you can go ahead and like me on Facebook.