The Toronto Meltdown Begins: The reality of hedging your bets wrong can be humbling.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has blindsided Toronto by moving to reduce the number of city council seats from an unwieldy 47 to a more reasonable 25 to be aligned with federal and provincial districts.

The Toronto Star is squealing, giving the nickname Hogtown a more appropriate meaning.

Toronto Mayor John Tory is having epic fits, wanting to hold a referendum, throwing the heavy lifting and expense to taxpayers. You are supposed to lead, not follow.

But reality is gleefully biting Toronto's backside, and Toronto has no idea what has actually hit it or why.

So for those oblivious to reality, here is the bottom line: Toronto, for the last fifteen years, had a free ride thanks to the previous Liberal regime who doted on them because conventional wisdom had it that you could not win a provincial election without Toronto. They had plenty of representation, lots of MPPs, cabinet ministers, and even premier. Who do you think got all the goodies? Whose way did the Grits pander to for a decade and a half, rigging things to favour voter-rich Toronto at the expense of other cities and towns?

But Toronto honestly thought they were special and superior, not the recipients of the election jackpot: so long as you hedge your bets on who will win the campaign, your riding gets rewarded: you can have an MPP in that government, which is helpful, a junior cabinet minister is better, a senior one with a serious portfolio is fantastic, but if your premier happens to be your MPP, you get all sorts of fantastic perks.

More than political ideology, if a region wishes to improve its fortunes and get first pick of goodies, it is ensuring that your representative is of the same as the overall winner.

Hamilton used to do a lot better when they put on their thinking caps and voted for the winners, and then they got stupid, and always vote for losers, and their fortunes reflect their losing and loser strategy.

They keep voting NDP, and having a MPP who is the opposition is like not having representation. Your region is shut out and at most, an afterthought.

Toronto bought its own hype, and then thought the NDP had a snowball's chance of winning this time, and they didn't.

And so now, their numbers mean squat because the Conservatives got their majority without them.

So now Toronto is starting to find out how many of their crutches and how much of the graft they had to prop them up was not a sign of their innate superiority and are going to be taken away to be given to the regions who hedged their bets correctly.

For Toronto, the downsizing is just beginning. The federal Grits, who seem intent on alienating any country or province that does not brainlessly follow their decrees, are vowing to meddle, but they are not exactly in the position to do so. Their provincial counterparts were decimated in the last election for a reason.

This election was more than just a serious blow to the gravy train: it has now shown that a party can get a majority without Toronto. That is a serious blow to their image of being crucial to the survival of a political party.

Ford is cutting the fat from politicians first, not downloading on citizens or shaking them down. There is no bullying or hypocrisy there.

But Toronto thought that they were the lords of the province, and could do whatever they wanted, spending whatever taxpayers' money they wished as if it were their own personal piggy bank. The reality was they had the goodwill of the rest of the province until they got too cocky for their own good, and got slapped right back to reality.

Toronto is going to have to make due with a lot less. They do not have the clout or power they once did. They got too uppity to their one-time guardians the Liberals, thought they deserved even more, and went with the NDP, which has proven time and again to be unteachable.

Hamilton may one day learn to grow up and start voting strategically, not running after whoever makes them the most unrealistic promises they could never keep even if they had a snowball's chance of winning. 

Toronto has now jumped into the same purgatory as Hamilton. The exile will be painful and humbling. Whether they threw out their thinking caps permanently remains to be seen, but the temper tantrums for now will be ugly as they will be amusing...