Our Own Worst Enemy



No wait. I said I wouldn’t get despondent. No travelling down that gloom route. There’s an upside. There has to be an upside.

[hangs his head]

Nope. Just not feeling it right now. Today’s transit information flow could only be more disheartening if representatives of all three levels of government announced they were getting out of the public transit business altogether and, Oprah-like, everybodygetsacarwere giving us all a car to make up for it.

Actually, I’m not sure that wouldn’t be better news than what we heard today.

The Battle of Subway Press Conferences, pitting Premier Kathleen Wynne on one side, Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak on the other. Wow! Two mid-week transit announcements, fighting it out for media supremacy. Must be big news a-coming! Come on, come on. Spill, already!


[hangs head]

The only thing we’re any the wiser about now than we were earlier today is the roster filling out the panel we absolutely don’t fucking need but were told about last week headed by Anne Golden. Now, no disrespect to Ms. Golden or the other members I know of – Paul Bedford, Cherise Burda of the Pembina Institute, Gordon Chong even – I believe you’ll be operating with the best of intentions. But we’ve already heard what you’re going to wind up saying to us. Transit expansion costs money. pissingmatchThat money doesn’t grow on the trees lovingly nurtured by the private sector. The only way to get this done is through taxes, tolls and other sources of revenue that must come straight out of the wallets of us taxpayers.

We know. We know. We’re just hoping somebody has a better idea.

That somebody won’t be PC leader Tim Hudak, if you were wondering.

His press conference was even less necessary than the premier’s. Essentially he strode to the mic to tell us the Liberal’s Scarborough subway was stupid face. The one championed by the TTC chair Karen Stintz and city council back in July was better and that a Queen’s Park ruled by him would fund it through… You all know where this is going right?… finding efficiencies.

How do these people keep a straight face? It’s almost like their sole intention with any of this is to make the public even more cynical and jaded. They know we know they are trying their damndest not to build transit if it means siding with new taxes and tolls. iknowiknowiknowWe know they know we know. But somehow, we keep up this fucking pretense of earnest hope that those we elect as our representatives will actually show some leadership and make the hard choices that need to be taken.

That’s hardly possible, though, when we insist on electing people like Councillor Michelle Berardinetti to city council. It takes some doing to top the bullshit inanity of the provincial transit press conferences but Councillor Berardinetti did her level best to do so.

At issue? High Occupancy Vehicle lanes along Eglinton Avenue East in her ward. Seems they are driving non-HOVers around the bend.

I’ll let the councillor speak for herself. She does wild-eyed, babbling indignation so much better than I do.

“HOV lane’s are designed to drive motorists off the road and all it does is serve to drive motorists insane. It’s not working. You’ve got two lanes that are backed up half a mile and you’ve got one that is completely underused. I think that we should remove them.”

But wait. It gets better.


 “We have one of the worst transit systems in the world.”

“What’s the alternative for drivers right now? To jump on the transit system? The TTC? Are you kidding me? They’re not going to do it because it is a deplorable system.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Michelle Berardinetti. Your councillor for Ward 35, Scarborough Southwest.

Now it would be easy to just lay on the horn and blare away at the quality of our politicians but they are simply doing our bidding. If those we elect are cheap, short-sighted and always on the look out for easy solutions to complex problems, it’s just a sad reflection of ourselves. If our transit is substandard, the system deplorable, there’s nobody to blame for that aside from us. outofmywayYou get what you’re willing to pay for, and recently, well, we haven’t been willing to pay for much.

Aside from one shining moment in our city’s history, from the end of World War II until the 1970s – transit’s greatest generation – it seems Torontonians have always been something of penurious lot, both with our wallets and attitudes toward public transit. It comes natural to us. A 1912 plebiscite to raise funds for a Yonge Street subway was rejected by voters. The late-50s saw court battles over extension of the Bloor-Danforth and University lines.

We want transit that will make Toronto ‘world-class’ (or, a little less grandiosely, make our lives more pleasant) but we don’t want to pay for it, spending inordinate amounts of time bending over backwards trying to figure out ways how not to spend money. No number of expert panels or public consultations will alter that fact. Until we come to grips with our continued cheapness in mind and money, all we’re going to do is what we’ve being doing for the better part of a generation now. Talk about it.



[hangs his head]

sadly submitted by Cityslikr

3 Responses to Our Own Worst Enemy

  1. Suggestion: remove Eglinton bus lanes but only within Ward 35. When the Eglinton bus comes to a juddering halt at a line of traffic there can be a nice sign giving the councillor credit.

  2. Patrick Smyth says:

    I see, everybody is stupid.
    I do believe you are getting closer.
    Keep it up.

  3. James says:

    I can’t figure Berardinetti out–she’s married to a Liberal MPP and at times has acted as if that gives her special clout, but she all too frequently sides with Rob Ford and his inanity. Presumably she counts herself as a “subway champion” but what is her actual contribution to reasoned debate on that topic?

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