Time To Talk Transit Turkey

If Mayor Ford really wanted to turn the page on the nasty car accident that’s been his last year in office or so, he could do worse than to enthusiastically adopt the city CFO’s report on transit funding strategies at Executive Committee meeting today. Instead of spending his time and political capital trying to eradicate any and all evidence that David Miller was ever mayor of Toronto, he could now simply absorb what was his predecessor’s most cherished legacy. Out transit the one time Transit Mayor. You want transit? I’ll give you transit, folks.

Of course, no such thing is going to happen.

The initial response coming from the mayor’s office to Cam Weldon’s report is pretty much par for the course for an administration that’s only viewed the transit file as a potential wedge issue. Private sector this from Councillor Doug Ford, senior levels of government that from the mayor. Any talk of new sources of revenue dedicated to building transit is just a whole lot of tax-and-spending in disguise. Team Ford, no can do.

Instead, Mayor Ford seems intent on keeping to the tried and true path of obsessing and trying to exploit inconsequential matters in the hope of righting the ship. Over on Twitter last Friday, the mayor’s former campaign director and one of his ex-chiefs of staff, Nick Kouvalis suggested 70% of suburban Toronto was unhappy with the plastic bag ban and he predicted Mayor Ford could win re-election on that issue alone. Hyperbole aside (and noting Mr. Kouvalis doesn’t officially speak for the mayor at this juncture), it does point to some skewed priorities from those in the mayor’s corner. They seem unwilling, uninterested and/or unable to cope with the more pressing concerns the city faces.

So what happens when one of those pressing concerns comes before the mayor’s Executive Committee for its consideration?

I imagine Mayor Ford will try to bury the CFO’s report under procedural manoeuvrings. Out of sight, out of mind; defer it in order to keep it from council’s hands for a wider debate. The city’s got bigger fish to fry than contributing to a region wide debate on transit building. Those plastic bags aren’t going to unban themselves, people.

In other words, the mayor’s probably looking to excuse himself from the discussion and hoping to sideline the city along with him. Go on ahead without us. We’ll just stay here and roll up into a ball of irrelevancy.

How many members of his Executive Committee are willing to stick their heads in the sand along with the mayor? This isn’t just some left-right, downtown-suburban issue we’re talking about here. Toronto’s Board of Trade is pushing this discussion. The bigwigs of the region’s post-secondary school institutes are demanding action. John Tory’s Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance group will be rolling out their attempt to kick start the debate this week.

But the mayor of the largest city in the entire GTHA wants to take a pass on participating?

Enabling such a craven approach will not reflect well on those who do so. Transit is too important an item to continue playing politics with it. We’ve avoided having this conversation for at least a generation now. Any elected official once more endeavouring to push it off onto someone else’s plate needs to seriously question why it was they sought public office in the first place. And voters need to question why it was they supported them.

ominously submitted by Cityslikr

4 thoughts on “Time To Talk Transit Turkey

  1. Listen.
    You just don’t get it. Everything the Fordos do can be explained by a relatively simple notion:
    They don’t like government.
    As ironic as it is that the Fordos are actually government officials, they believe less government=better government.

    Want something new in society? Government shouldn’t build it. Taxes should *never* be raised.

    Transit or whatever the heck you are talking about, this is how the Tea Party, of which the Fordos are poster childs, would run society. Hell, even if we had to fight WWIII, “hands off my money!!!!” They say.

    Whatever issue comes up in this city, the answer is ideologically the same: we shouldn’t pay for it.

    When will you start addressing this deeper and darker phenomenon that truly explains how these nutjobs think?

    • Ford is more of a Harrisite that doesn’t like the transit blocking his ability drive/read around in his MiniVan/Cadillac.
      Harris passed on the TTC to the City while cutting funding.
      Sold the 407 to private interests and coincidentally sits on the board of Magna who makes car parts…

    • Unless “it” is a reversible fifth lane on Jarvis. Then it’s no problem for government to build it.

      In other words, there isn’t even any real, consistent ideology. There’s just an angry. dumber-than-a-post populist desperately trying to appear relevant (as long as it doesn’t take too much time away from his football schedule).

  2. Remember John Snobelen, the high school dropout turned Education Minister, who was foolish enough to let the strategy cat out of the bag: bankrupt the education system in order to manufacture a crisis, the answer to which would be radical “reforms”?

    There’s something to the notion that this is the game plan of the Fords, or the money behind them. Render civic government impotent so that it can be “reformed” in the neoliberal image. Declare Toronto “open for business” and collect the graft — er, campaign contributions.

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