This Toronto Thing

I am not a party person. Although I am a big fan of 24 Hour Party People. But politically speaking, in order to less messily gets things done, I reluctantly and grudgingly 24hourpartypeopleaccept that parties are a necessary evil in a parliamentary system while still maintaining they are also the bastion of highly destructive, poo-flinging partisanship.

So I don’t get all caught up with leadership conventions and the like, choosing instead to maintain a safe distance to watch the parade. An interested observer. A conscientious objector. I’ll examine the entrails when the voting’s done and results announced.

And as a Monday morning quarterback reviewing the outcome of this past weekend’s provincial Liberal leadership race, I will tell you I’m pleasantly surprised. For the first time in about 30 years (nearly my entire voting life), I feel that I’m being offered something to consider from the Liberals. So all you party canvassers out there on vigilant minority government election watch, consider this cowboy in play for a change.

Incoming premier Kathleen Wynne strikes me as frank, funny, down-to-earth, smart as a whip. Obviously, to climb such treacherous career heights, she must possess some political chops but, unlike her predecessor, she does not wear her calculating on her sleeve. courtingcoupleWhat I’ve heard from her so far, I like, and I’m willing to listen to more.

“Can we just get this Toronto thing out of the way…” Kathleen Wynne said during her victory speech on Saturday [at about the 6’40” mark].

This Toronto ‘thing’.

Almost as big an obstacle to winning for Wynne as her sexual orientation.

The provincial Liberals seem to have a thing against electing leaders who call the GTA home. When the only non-GTAer in the field, Sandra Pupatello, raised that warning specter during the campaign, I went back to see when it was a Toronto area based politician led the party. Andy Thompson, way back in the 60s — 1964-66 to be exact — if Wikipedia is to be believed.

That’s a whole lot of non-love toward an area that has provided a strong and vital base of support certainly during the McGuinty era. I mean, what don’t they get about this being the centre of the universe? chocolatetownIt’s almost as if they want to hook up with us every 4 years or so and then pretend like they don’t even know us the rest of the time.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the Liberals are using us for our good looks and money.

To be fair, I’d argue that all the provincial political parties over the course of the last 20 years or so have wished Toronto and environs would just be quiet or go away. Leave your votes and tax dollars on the table. Here’s your hat and coat. There’s the door.

Because it seems to be political advantageous to cater to the long held belief outside of the GTA that we’re simply a drain on the well-being of the province, a suck of money and attention. We demand too much and return very little. The generous residents of Not Toronto, Ontario build our subways and feed our homeless.

That’s ‘this Toronto thing’.

A myth based entirely on perception rather than reality.

Unfortunately, a myth eagerly used to exploit divisions. Rural-urban. Suburban-urban. North-south.

Once premier, Kathleen Wynne will be watched closely for any sort of home team advantage. dominoesWhen she speaks of building transit to meet the growing needs of the GTA, she will need to speak of the transit needs of all Ontario municipalities. She won’t be wrong to do so but it would be nice to hear her push the discussion further. That this region’s needs in things like transit are more pressing than those places less dependent on it to function fully. A Toronto bogged down in congestion, bogs down the GTA, bogs down the GTHA. It then reverberates negatively throughout the province as a whole.

By all means, our premier needs to represent and speak for all of Ontario. But it’s time to start speaking truthfully and not out of fear of some parochial regionalism. If you don’t fix what’s ailing Toronto and the GTA, you can’t fix the problems the rest of the province faces. That’s the conversation we’ve been avoiding for a couple decades now. Hopefully, it’s one our incoming premier is up to having and going to an election battle with if need be.

homerly submitted by Cityslikr

One Response to This Toronto Thing

  1. Simon Says says:

    Toronto Thing? I would say, It’s Nothing but a G-Thang!

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