I haven’t observed a political crisis this ripe with potential since that weird interlude during the 2008 credit meltdown when the leaders of the federal Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois suddenly realized they could kill Stephen Harper’s austerity minded minority government on a non-confidence motion.

In that episode, Harper hastily pulled the constitutional circuit breakers, hid the fuses and emerged some months later as an enthusiastic Keynesian.

But Mayor John Tory, who has made an epic mess of the emergency shelter housing crisis during this extended deep freeze, may have no such recourse. In the very first minutes of an election year, he’s basically blown a gaping hole in his carefully cultivated image as a socially compassionate centrist, all but daring Torontonians who grudgingly supported him in 2014 to park a dissenting vote with whomever has the sang froid to seize this moment.