How’d We Become The Enemy?

Lying in bed on Labour Day morning, with the CBC’s The Current on the radio — welcome back from your summer vacation, Anna Maria Tremonti! Looking forward to ignoring you once again for most of the 2010/11 season. – listening to former Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP, Janet Ecker, talk about the new wave of Canadian conservative populism. When she referred to the typical adherent of this movement as ‘Mr. & Mrs. Front Porch’, I thought to myself, “Wow! Could she be any more patronizing?” How exactly is it that we’ve become the enemy?

We, of course, being the so-called downtown, intellectual, liberal elite. Or, to put it in Ms. Ecker’s vernacular, ‘Mr. & Dr. 3rd Floor-Deckers’. So far in this municipal election campaign, we have become the target for the ire coming from Mr. & Mrs. Front Porch due to the unflagging support we show to “our” mayor down at “our” City Hall. Apparently, “our” taxes haven’t risen while “our” services have. “Our” free spending councillors have lavished all their attention and money on “our” downtown wards especially for things like “our” bike lanes which squeeze out the cars coming in from the city’s inner suburban ring when everyone there steps off their front porches to drive downtown to work.

None of which is true, of course. It is only pronounced loudly and often. Downtown taxes have increased along with everyone else’s and, from my own, very anecdotal evidence, while services might not have declined over the past few years, I’m certainly paying more for many of them than I did in the pre-amalgamated Toronto.

But here’s the thing. I’m not blaming those who live in the former cities of Etobicoke, York, North York, East York and Scarborough for this turn of events. We’re all in the same boat here on this one, now paying the unexpected costs we were not told about by those who enforced amalgamation on us. Despite some urban experts saying that the economies of scale not always applying to bigger cities, we were sold a bill of goods about lower costs, lower spending, lower taxes in the megacity by the Harris government, consisting of members like Janet Ecker and Rob Ford’s father, Doug Sr., who defied the wishes of his own Etobicoke constituents to not be absorbed into a bigger Toronto and sat on his hands except to vote ‘yes’ on amalgamation.

And now Ecker’s invited onto the radio to explain grassroots anger, using a clearly test marketed term like ‘Mr. & Mrs. Front Porch’?! Or Rob Ford is championed as looking out for these little guys as he campaigns vigorously to be the hatchet man who will carry out the cuts that were inevitable in light of amalgamation and the downloading that accompanied it? (Or, to put it more poetically, doing the dirty work of his beloved late father.) If there’s any resentment I bear towards Mr. & Mrs. Front Porch, it’s the misdirected rage and anger. Do they have reasons to be angry about the way the city’s working? Sure. Just rage against the ones that actually were really responsible for bringing about this turn of events and not the easiest scapegoats being handed over to you on a platter.

I’m not one to ascribe much to conspiracy theories especially on the part of our elected officials. While a proponent of the power of government to do good, I just don’t think they are capable of pulling off grand schemes to hoodwink the population at large. So there was no alien crash landing near Roswell, N.M. or a 2nd gunman on the grassy knoll. Both are too big a secrets to go unsolved for decades.

But I am beginning to think that maybe the Mike Harris government did come close with the amalgamation of Toronto. It was said at the time (and many times since) that along with helping the provincial ledger sheets with a non-neutral revenue neutral swap of services with the city, the biggest boon for the province with their amalgamation sleight of hand was to water down the progressive core with the more Tory friendly inner suburbs. At worst, the city would become ungovernable due to the constant squabbling between the two factions.

Well, kudos to you, Mr. Harris and Ms. Ecker and Mr. Ford Sr.’s son. We have swung from the right to the left and are now threatening to lurch heavily right once more with fingers being pointed in every direction and accusations of mismanagement and corrupt governance thrown around for good measure. Dysfunctional is the label Toronto’s getting and no one benefits more from it than our overlords smiling smugly at Queen’s Park. Yes, it is no longer the Conservatives but as Dalton McGuinty can most definitely attest to, amalgamation is the gift that just keeps giving. At least, to him and all those who rule from that particular roost if not the citizens of the city.

wonderingly submitted by Cityslikr

13 thoughts on “How’d We Become The Enemy?

  1. Dear City; what we are seeing is a right wing bias. Which explains why Ford is a few points ahead and Harper is still PM. The corporate media is now going after workers so more money could go to corporate welfare or tax cuts.
    Look at the CanWest chain which had 25%, fail and be sold off in chunks or the Sun chain expanding into TV. The corpos and especially that troll you keep responding to is indicative. Just look at the comment section of articles where the cons & libs start ripping…

  2. “what we are seeing is a right wing bias”

    Do you lot travel in pairs?

    Sonny, the boys at AFUITBS are not into fantastical conspiracy theories.

    It does look like the “right wing(ers)” have you on the ropes. Why not write something the “workers” would enjoy reading?

    Or, are you too steeped in high school ‘verbage’ too?

    • Dear Mr. MacQuarie,

      Woah! Look at you using highfalutin words and with the little ‘quoties’, too. Colour us here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke impressed.

      Now by ‘verbage’ did you mean:

      1. verbage

      A commonly used, but nonexistent word meant as a synonym for “copy” or “text”. The word verbage doesn’t actually exist in the English language. The word “verbiage” does, but it has a slightly different meaning.

      “Hey, Lulu, would you mind shortening up the verbage in the third paragraph here?”

      “Sure, if ‘verbage’ actually existed, which it doesn’t.”

      or, did you mean:

      2. Verbage

      When someone uses colorful language to describe something incredibly graphic that may be a little bit too much for one with sensitive ears/stomach may find a little too much to bare. Usually when something is explicitly sexual in content at an inappropriate time but is deemed appropriate enough by some as it’s void of all profanity.

      Lance thinks the inside of Jordan’s thighs would make GREAT ear warmers

      Mackenzie: LANCE!…VERBAGE

      Lance hangs his head in shame.

      Or did you simply mean to spell ‘verbiage’? Call us nitpickers but it does go along way in understanding what it is you were actually trying to say.

  3. ” verbage definition – spelling, jargon /ver’b*j/
    A deliberate misspelling and mispronunciation of verbiage that assimilates it to the word “garbage”. More pejorative than “verbiage”. ”

    Stop being a dick head, take the day off, eh?

    Or, stick to the point and write slowly, in words “workers” might understand, and with sincerity.

    I know you’re steeped in irony but real grown-ups want more than that for their precious eyeball time.

    • Dear Mr. MacQuarie,

      Thanks for clearing that up and displaying a surprising knack for hipness. Clearly we here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke misunderestimated you and fully refudiate our last comment to you.

      And did you just call “workers” stupid with those instructions to write slowly? How very classist of you.

      We would love to take a day off here but worry how exactly people such yourself might fill your time in our absence. Concluded that it would lead to no good. So we continue to write for you, Mr. MacQuarie. For you.

  4. If only you were more like Sarah Palin, you’d have a better chance of making a contribution to your stated mission.

    What a waste of your two posts – take the rest of the day off.

    Let’s see tomorrow if you’ve learned anything today.

  5. Janet Ecker is one of those people that baffles me. Does she genuinely believe what she’s saying? If not, is she proud of herself for saying it? It’s no wonder people are cynical about government when so many of its representatives seem so comfortable with lying. I swear most of the Harrisite Tories are borderline sociopaths.

  6. Paul; Ecker was part of the Harris Gov’t that imposed amalgamation on Toronto and downloaded a whole lot of services. It is amusing that she is coming out of the wood work to be on CBC 1 which is still public and commercial free compared to OpinionTalk1010…

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