With Equal Conviction

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.

— attributed in some variation to Daniel Patrick Moynihan

What a quaint notion, put severely to the test earlier today on CBC radio’s Metro Morning. Perpetually cloying Mary Wiens took to the streets to talk to a couple regular folks about the pronounced death of Transit City. First up, Odessa who faces a daily 3 hour round trip commute from the hinterlands of the inner suburbs to the downtown core. Transit City was planned with her in mind, it could be safely argued, to reduce her commute time. She tells Wiens that she’s looking forward to the new LRTs.

But alas, Odessa voted for Rob Ford. Why? His outspokenness. When Wiens informs her that the mayor was angling to kill Transit City and replace it with subways, Odessa was all over it, never asking a pertinent question or two, like is the mayor’s plan better than Transit City or would subways help her commute more than Transit City.

Next came Denis Lanoue, a much more politically active individual than Odessa but no less factually challenged. Lanoue, president of the Heathwood Ratepayers Association in Scarborough, is also active as part of the Save Our Sheppard group. He just so happened to turn up in the parking lot of a local Tim Hortons to give the CBC a piece of his mind an interview.

Like our new mayor, Lanoue and his group (S.O.S.) hates LRTs (or streetcars as he calls them), convinced with precious little evidence to back it up that LRTs on Sheppard Ave. will end life as we know it there, bringing wrack and ruin just as they did along St. Clair West. “A modest subway expansion is all we need,” Lanoue writes on the S.O.S manifesto. No fuss. No bother. Details to follow.

But Lanoue isn’t just interested in having his say on Transit City for Metro Morning. He wants to inform the audience exactly why there is that downtown-inner suburb divide. Two words: David Miller. According to Lanoue, all was hunky-dory under Mel Lastman but something changed late in Miller’s 1st term or early in the 2nd. What exactly? Lanoue doesn’t really say except that, residents of the inner suburbs just got fed up with handing all their taxes over to pay for things downtown.

Which would be grounds for anger and outrage if it were true but as we have written previously here and here, no one has ever pointed to any evidence or studies that show the downtown core being subsidized by the inner suburbs. In fact, Scarborough councillor Norm Kelly commissioned a report to look at the numbers and come up empty. Yet, Denis Lanoue grabs the mic on the CBC and pronounces it to be true, anecdotally pointing to the proposed 5 story ice rink down on the waterfront as proof positive.

So why does the CBC grant 6 minutes of airtime to the uninformed or deliberately disingenuous? Just because everyone has an opinion doesn’t mean they have to be heard. We already know they’re out there, muddying the debate and discourse, and getting their man elected mayor. Shouldn’t the media be providing more pushback and disputation and less a simple platform for anyone and everyone to air it out? The pursuit of uncovering truth and revealing facts and all that kind of high-minded sense of purpose.

Now, maybe I should view Wiens’ piece this morning not so much as investigative journalism as it is an exposé into The Minds Of Rob Ford Supporters. She did question a couple of the claims made by the interviewees but not directly. Only in gentle asides to the listeners that struck me like she was talking behind her subjects’ backs. Hey. If people are willing to give their opinions a wider voice, then we should at least be solicitous enough to publicly tell them that they’re full of shit when they are especially if their views, opinions or beliefs could possibly have an adverse impact.

So sure, everyone’s allowed to have an opinion. The question is, does that mean every opinion should be accorded equal weight and value? Chances are, if they were, we wouldn’t be having this discussion about public transit because we’d still be living in caves, arguing over how exactly to build that fire again.

submitted by Cityslikr

5 Responses to With Equal Conviction

  1. Peter MacQuarie says:

    “But alas, Odessa voted for Rob Ford. Why? His outspokenness.” What’s your point?

    I know somebody who voted for GS because he is gay. I know another who voted for JP because he is Italian.

    DM and his cronies (GS and JP as well) were piss-poor at communicating. It wasn’t rocket science, they could have done it quite easily, if they hadn’t been so aloof and self-proclaimed “smart”.

    • cityslikr says:

      Oh, god lord, Mr. MacQuarie.

      You are as dense as your are pompous.

      The point, we here as All Fired Up in the Big Smoke, were making re: ‘Odessa’, was that here’s a voter, trapped in a transit quagmire, facing a 3 hour round trip commute daily, and she voted for a candidate who’s determined to tear up a transit plan that was designed with her needs in mind, simply because he was ‘outspoken’. Odessa voted against her own self-interest.

      It’s all well and good for you to sit back, crowing about what I great communicator your guy is, a skill all his opponents were lacking. But how do you communicate with people who refuse to listen? Hmmm, Mr. MacQuarie? Or have you already stopped reading and are madly typing away at your ripping good riposte that’ll show all us smarty-pants that you’re no dumb hick.

  2. Peter MacQuarie says:

    Sure, anybody who disagrees with you is a dumb hick. That’s why a huge swath of Toronto tune out the likes of you, DM, JP and GS.

    Odessa wasn’t aware of the benefits of TC. Too many smarty-pants at CH explains why that blunder occurred. Maybe she figured she would be getting a subway?

    Just like we all thought DM was going to clean up CH.

    What’s scheduled for your next whiny piece? Woe is you.

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Mr. MacQuarie,

      We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke wonder if you even took the time to listen to the CBC interview in question that we provided the link for before you feverishly popped off. If you had, you would’ve heard that, in fact, Odessa knew about TC and was even looking forward to the LRTs coming to Sheppard Ave. Yet, she still voted for a candidate who’d been very up front about his dislike of the plan. And people like you lay the blame for that at the feet of smarty-pants at City Hall.

      If you actually believe that David Miller did not go a long way to cleaning up the mess left behind at City Hall by the Lastman regime than you are simply willfully and stubbornly misinformed, happily locked into a mindset that seeks solace in blaming others for forcing you to vote for Rob Ford. You had no choice, right? We all had to be taught a lesson.

      PS

      Since you have reverted back to illogical patter and ill-informed opinion in your comments, we have no choice but to re-institute our 2 replies/post policy on you. Use it well.

  3. Peter MacQuarie says:

    So, Odessa believes RF will put in a subway where DM wanted an LRT. There are loads of people who think that way.

    Just as there were loads who thought DM was going to take CH to a higher level. Instead, he continued with a farce that obviously few were happy about.

    For a whole lot of people there was no real choice. GS was a repugnant figure and JP was a phoney lackie.

    You lot at AFUITBS are what I call “inteffectualists”. That’s people who have had a decent enough education, don’t know how to best use it but who claim to be socialist. You’re mired now in TC and a hatred for the democratic outcome of the recent Municipal Elections.

    Too lazy to comment on what ails our Municipal Affairs and too whimpy to speak up on duller, but far more important, aspects of what goes on at City Council.

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