Greece Is Not The Word

November 7, 2011

Toronto is not Greece.

Other things Toronto isn’t?

Italy. Spain. Portugal. Ireland. Lithuania. South Sudan. Paula Abdul. J.R.R. Tolkien. Cary Grant. A turnip.

While I fear having to fend off comparisons to the first four locales of the previous sentence over the next little while, no one would call on me to do so for the rest of it. Why? Because it would be ludicrous for anyone to suggest Toronto is just like Cary Grant. In the first place, we’re not dead. Secondly, this city is nowhere near as suave as Grant was. And as far as I know, Toronto was never chased through any open field by a crop duster.

It is as equally ridiculous to try and make hay with the Toronto-Greece comparisons when we’re discussing our current fiscal situation. Hell, Greece isn’t even Greece in the context of those using the financial crisis as a battering ram in their all out war against the public sector. Oh, were it ever so pleasingly simple that a bloated and lazy bureaucracy could bring an entire continent to its knees. Such an easy fix.

And it’s all easy fixes we’re looking for especially when it comes to dealing with complicated, systemic problems. Like cutting a tough knot in your shoelace with scissors. The knot’s no longer a problem but you’re going to have to replace the now too short lace.

Yes, Toronto has a long term financial problem. It is not alone in having the problem. Municipalities throughout the province, country, continent are facing perennial revenue shortfalls and most do not have the full governing tools at their disposal to tackle the problem head on.

This does not make us Greece however. Those who try dazzling us with this logical sleight of hand are less interested in solving our fiscal issues than they are in conducting their long war against organized labour and our public sector. We’re too beholden to the unions. (Just like Greece.) The public sector is lazy and unresponsive, looking out only for themselves. (Just like Greece.) We’re heading toward the financial crapper. (Just like Greece.)

The low murmurs can now be heard at city council from some of Mayor Ford’s supporters. We need to get our house in order. Look at what’s happening in Greece. The Toronto Sun’s Sue-Ann Levy has picked up the thought and ran with it in a couple columns last week. A Greek-like day of reckoning is nigh, people. If we don’t do something to reign in the public sector and their relentless demands, we’ll soon be having to pay for our lattes with drachmas.

It’s all partisan hyperbole, of course. Innuendo and loud repetition to cover for the serious lack of substance, facts or figures. Scaring the children with really large numbers. Three billion dollars in unfunded capital expenditures over the next 10 years! Wherever are we going to get that kind of money?!

Inevitably such questions and assertions, framed under hysterical circumstances, call for drastic answers and demands. Sell assets. Cut programs. Slash staff. There’s no time for discussion. We’re on a runaway train, hurtling dangerously out of control toward a dark and scary tunnel with the only light coming from an oncoming train using the same tracks.

Just like Greece.

Toronto is not Greece.

Anyone claiming it is should not be considered a serious voice in what will be highly contentious budget debates in the next couple months. They aren’t looking to solve our problems. They’re looking to settle a score.

Athenianly submitted by Cityslikr