Is This Private Sector Transit Funding Councillor Ford Sees Before Him?

Is there a point of time when we can declare one of our elected officials clinically delusional? (Is there even an actual medical condition called ‘clinically delusional?) If so, what would we need to do to have them examined for their malady? A doctor’s note? Some sort of panel sign off?

Because here we are, a growing number, getting ready to begin an adult discussion on transit, what we need, how we need to fund it. You know. Something that should’ve been happening 30 years ago. 15 years ago. Just some number of years ago. In the past tense.

But wait. Into the debate strolls city council’s own Foghorn Leghorn, Councillor-Brother Doug Ford. Now, now just hold on there, just hold on a second, there folks. Hold on a cotton-pickin’ second. (That’s not racist. It couldn’t be. No one’s done more for black youth in this city than the councillor’s brother, the mayor. Why, some of his best football players are black.)

“Unless you go out and get expressions of interest worldwide and see what the private sector can do,” Councillor Ford said, “then you don’t raise taxes. It’s very simple.”

“We’ve got to keep trying, because it’s the right thing to do. There’s billions of dollars worldwide that want a safe haven for investment. Canada is that safe haven and Toronto is the best place in the world to invest.”

I say, I say.

We’ve got to keep trying, because it’s the right thing to do. It doesn’t matter that the mayor and his brother had over a year to harness the awesomeness of the private sector to build their Sheppard subway and came up empty. Because it’s the right thing to do, you’ve got to go out and root and dig for ‘expressions of interest and see what  the private sector can do’ regardless of the negligible evidence out there showing the private sector rushing in anywhere to fund public transit. No new taxes. The private sector will take care of all our needs.

We’ve. Got to. Keep. Trying. Because. It’s. The. Right. Thing. To. Do. Because. It’s. The. Right. Thing. To. Do. Billions of dollars out there. Safe havens. Billions. Canada’s the greatest investment opportunity in the world.

Does Councillor Ford actually believe in this magical pot of transit gold at the end of the private sector rainbow or does he just hate taxes so much, feels so strongly deep down in his heart of hearts all taxes are so evil, that he will say anything, regardless of how quantifiably disprovable it may be to discredit a conversation about revenue generation before it even gets off the ground?

If he’s just being some cynical circus barker, hell bent on not wanting to pay his share of the city’s infrastructure needs, that’s one thing. There’s an agenda at work. It’s concrete. You can contend with it.

You can point out, as TTC Chair Karen Stintz did at a Scarborough Town Hall meeting back during the LRT-subway debates that the private sector doesn’t just pay for public transit out of the goodness of its heart. Someone has to pay them to do it and that someone is always going to be us, the taxpayers.

We either do it through direct government subsidies or down the road through the farebox. There’s no other miraculous way it works. Those who wave off their obligations to pay for the building and operating of public transit, citing the marvel of the private sector as the panacea to our infrastructure needs, are merely kicking the proverbial can down the road. They’re trading the concept of passing along a fiscal deficit to the next generation to one of an infrastructure deficit. And that number is already staggeringly high.

And if Councillor Ford and his ilk don’t recognize that, if they truly see necessary capital infrastructure plans as little more than ‘unfunded liabilities’, then they clearly don’t understand their role as elected representatives and keepers of the public purse. Saying ‘no’ to big ticket items is fucking easy. You can shrug it off with empty sloganeering. It’s figuring out how to do the things a city needs done that’s the tough slog.

That’s if you’re actually having a rational discussion.

It could be that Councillor Ford has absolute faith in his meaningless private sector cant. A true believer in the perfection of the free market and fully paid member of the Six Sigma cult. He huffs and puffs beyond the realm of reality. Not a participant but a spectre that just spooks the proceedings, distracting everyone from the work and discussion that needs to be done.

Just another ghost from our past, haunting us with previous decisions deferred and similar failures of political will.

figmently submitted by Cityslikr

5 thoughts on “Is This Private Sector Transit Funding Councillor Ford Sees Before Him?

  1. No biz person would rely on getting something for nothing in the course of their commercial transactions… Delusion is expecting something for nothing from government. Motherhood is not for free.

    If biz ROI depends on driveably maintained roads, transit, healthy educated employees, potable running water, flushing toilets and landfill space for garbage…. let biz support support these underpinning infrastructure assets with public taxes. Taxes work like sustainable reforestation policies, for people.

    • Yes, but businesses already do pay taxes, Catherine. As recently pointed out by the Toronto Standard, Toronto is the 5th most tax-friendly city in the world. They’d like to print up t-shirts with the slogan “I paid the fifth lowest tax burden in the world but all I got was this lousy infrastructure.” Given the fact that there’s not buckets of gravy nor efficiencies to be found, one might be tempted to say that we all need to pay more to get better transportation infrastructure.

      • Ombudsman’s office seems to be reluctant to supply budget info to the budget chief. Sounds like someone doesn’t want their gravy taken away.

      • You mean Ford/Del Grande cutting that budget as punishment for doing a job.

  2. Oct31 deadline for submissions to “IDEAS Campaign – There’s Got To Be a Better Way”

    It’s a shot for as-yet-unheard voices to amp up the transit issue, and suggest solutions.

    AMO (Association for Municipalities of Ontario) is ASKing for input on municipal issues requiring provincial vetting for provincial / federal funding.

    At the August AGM held in Ottawa, call to action on infrastructure was at high volume. Presentations on solutions to Infrastructure funding here:

    Outgoing prez Gary McNamara provides historical overview of success to strengthen municipal voice for sustainable funding generally and infrastructure specifically w/Ontario govt and feds…. but there is still far to go…

    Hon. Kathleen Wynne emphasizes urgent is attention required as 2014 provincial arrangements with feds for housing and infrastructure expire in 2014, from T-13:00 …

    2014 is a perfect storm for cities. Municipal / regional / school board campaigns commence in January, effectively shutting down any but already-established operations.

    By 2014, the 7 years since a 2007 study benchmark by Inst of Public Administrators of Canada will find some 35% of “Boomer cohort” politicians and bureaucrats — and their institutional knowledge — will have left the building.

    Longitudinal StatCan surveys have discontinued, the current census is corrupted. There is no reliable centralized data source to know who is where, what services are needed to underpin their well-being to participate fully in the market.

    The measured, seasoned negotiators who cobbled the 2004 social and Canada Health transfers are unavailable to inform the 2014 “take it or leave it” preamble tossed by the feds onto the table to premiers this summer 2012. That was a mere toe-dipping to check for pushback… there was not much.

    Local Government Week October 14-20 has no venues slated for City of Toronto, or City of Mississauga, when I checked with respective Offices of the City Clerk in September.

    Sign me off,
    sleepless in ‘Ssauga

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