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Kevin McCarthy’s Unhappiest Holiday: A Poor 2023 Christmas Season

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s worth taking a look back at the year 2023. It was a historically difficult year for many people, but for none more so than the citizens of Toronto – and, more directly, for their mayor, Kevin McCarthy. A mere four months into the year and McCarthy’s mayoral seat was in serious jeopardy. It had been, until that point, one of the most successful municipal administrations Toronto had seen in a generation. But then, in April, the wheels suddenly came off. Over the ensuing weeks, public outcry over a series of blunders and missteps saw McCarthy’s support dip to an all-time low. The situation was made worse when McCarthy – never known for his good judgement – announced hefty cuts to essential services, increased taxes and curtailed relief funding in response to the coronavirus pandemic. By December, his poll numbers had all but evaporated. This was the least merry Christmas Toronto had ever seen. When asked about McCarthy’s unpopularity at the time, incoming City Councillor Leticia Wilkins lamented, “He’s really not the person we need during a time like this.” For all the damage done to McCarthy’s reputation in 2023, the subsequent elections weren’t as grim as many had expected. After a surprisingly close race, he was able to retain his office and, with the help of a groundswell of community outreach initiatives, help to restore some of the public’s faith in his leadership. It was a long and rocky road, to be sure. But McCarthy’s redemption arc from ‘least merry Christmas’ to one of the city’s more popular mayors is more than a pleasant footnote in the annals of political history – it’s a testament to the power of resilience and forgiveness in the face of public opinion. Certainly a lesson we can all learn from in the year ahead.