As you probably already know, on January 4th, the sideshow that is Toronto’s city hall as of late got an added dose of insanity via the twittersphere from none other than Jose Canseco. Canseco, who played on the Toronto Blue Jays’ 88-74 1998 team and contributed a respectable 46 home runs and 29 stolen bases, created some buzz last week when he mused publicly that he might want to contribute something to Toronto again; namely by running to be our mayor.
He seemed to enjoy a groundswell of support in the days that followed and even seems to have started banging out the framework of a platform via twitter (check out the hashtag #yeswecanseco). He has already offered such gems as “Leftwing and rightwing politicians fail because you need both wings to fly otherwise you are headed for a trainwreck.”
However–strained flying train metaphors aside–the question remains, could Canseco ever actually be mayor?
The obvious answer is (sorry) no way Jose.
Aside from the fact that the admitted anabolic-steroid user and author of Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big has zero political experience, there’s also the fact that Canseco has something of a troubled past, to put it lightly.
In addition to famously admitting his own drug use while outing a number of his peers, Canseco has also faced a number of what Wikipedia politely refers to as “legal issues.” Among them a 1989 reckless driving arrest after leading police on 15-mile chase, an arrest that same year in California for carrying a loaded semi-automatic pistol in his car, a 1992 aggravated battery charge for ramming his then-wife Esther’s BMW with his Porsche, and another in 2001 when he and his brother, Ozzie, beat up some tourists at a Miami Beach nightclub.
However, if the past two years has taught us anything, it’s that quite literally anything can happen in Toronto politics. In fact, when one considers that the current Mayor of Toronto overcame a very Canseco-esque laundry list of offenses when he ran for mayor–including a drunken, profanity-laced rant at a Leafs game and 1999 drunk driving conviction in Miami where cops found a joint in his pocket–it actually doesn’t seem so outside the realm of possibility to think that maybe Toronto would elect Jose Canseco.
So is he even eligible to run for office?
Well, according to the City’s website, in order to qualify to be a candidate for city council or mayor, a person needs to be:
- a Canadian citizen,
- at least 18 years of age,
- a resident of the City of Toronto, or own or lease property in the City of Toronto (or be the spouse of the owner or lessee),
- eligible to vote, and
- not disqualified to hold office by any legislation.
Most of these criteria, it seems, Canseco meets. But there is the problem that Canseco is not a Canadian citizen and, I assume, does not own or lease property in Toronto.
So how much time does he have to rectify these issues before an election?
A recently updated article on Torontoist provides some helpful information on how long it might take before such an election could potentially occur.
If current Mayor Rob Ford’s appeal, which was heard on Monday, fails and the original decision is upheld, city council must declare the Mayor’s seat empty, which would likely occur at a council meeting sometime in mid-February. Once that happens, council has 60 days to decide how to find the new mayor, either by appointing one or holding a by-election.
If the City opts to appoint a new mayor, despite their frequently unpredictable ways, it seems unlikely they’d pick a troubled former MLB outfielder and DH, so Jose’s eligibility seems moot in this case.
If, however, council opts to hold a by-election, another clock is triggered, giving candidates 60 days to register their paperwork. So assuming an arbitrary date of February 15, 2013 for a council meeting in which Ford’s seat is declared empty, and assuming that council opts to select the next mayor via by-election, Jose Canseco would have until April 16, 2013 to buy property in Toronto, or marry someone who owns some, and become a Canadian citizen.
Could he pull it off?
Buying a home is a long and complex process and Jose doesn’t have a lot of time, so in the interest of speeding things along, let’s assume Canseco would opt to marry a property owner instead. He appears to be single and capable of wooing attractive women–exhibit A, ex-wife Jessica Canseco (I’ll wait while you complete the google image search)–so let’s assume that in today’s celebrity-obsessed world, Canseco could find a Torontonian who owns her own apartment and is willing to help the cause and marry him. It seems plausible he could accomplish this by April 16, 2013.
As for becoming a Canadian citizen, one of the criteria is that Canseco needs to demonstrate a knowledge of Canada. On January 4th he tweeted “Why is an American suit in New York from the NBA ruining hockey? Turn leadership over to the Canadians who love the sport.” Clearly then, Canseco doesn’t need until April 16th to get up to speed. Assuming our own news broadcasts set the standards for what’s relevant to us, Canseco is already able to speak intelligently about what seems to be the only issue of concern in this country for the past four months. Catching up on a little info about our system of government should therefore be a snap.
Unfortunately though, in order to become a Canadian citizen, Citizenship and Immigration Canada requires that an applicant has to have resided in Canada for at least three years in the four years preceeding his or her application. Sadly, Canseco currently resides in Las Vegas and would not meet this requirement.
And so, a Canseco mayoral run is actually technically impossible for any immediate election.
But on the plus side, if Jose Canseco is serious about running for mayor, he has plenty of time to move to Toronto and gain an appreciation of the issues that actually matter to us in time to run for the 2018 election. He seems to have demonstrated an earnest interest in running for public office and is openly asking for Torontonians to provide input into his platform.
Of course, inversely, it’s entirely possible that Canseco is less than sincere in his designs.
It’s possible that Canseco–a man who starred on the reality-TV special Stripper’s Ball with Jenna Jameson, Dennis Rodman, and Magic Johnson and who was a cast member in Season Five of The Surreal Life; a man who publicly fought former child-actor Danny Bonaduce–is simply capitalizing on a little bit of much-craved attention that he received when he tweeted about his desire to run for office in a list of New Year’s Resolutions that included “Fight Shaq in MMA cage match.”
It’s entirely possible that this whole episode isn’t much more than a silly joke that is making a further farce of the City’s already laughable political landscape and it’s possible this is something we should probably all just stop talking about as if it were a real thing.
But, of course, only time will tell.