Hey Rain Man!

“Once the government gets involved, 9 times out of 10 it’s a disaster.”


This from Mayor Ford at yesterday’s Executive Committee meeting during a debate over recommended increases in development charges. Development charges are fees the city receives for development that increases demand on necessary infrastructure like roads, public transit, sewage and water delivery. Fees this city charges are significantly less than many in the surrounding regions and as anybody who tries to get from point A to point B or who’s had their basement flooded knows, our infrastructure needs have not really kept up to all the new growth.

Councillor Paul Ainslie put forward a motion asking for a staff report on “… mechanisms for development charge discounts along main avenues in our Strong Neighbourhoods, and adjacent neighbourhoods.” A Scarborough councillor, Ainslie pointed out that with development charges the same throughout the city, developers tended to go where they would get the biggest and quickest return on their investment which is almost always downtown. bullhornAs with most things planning related, the city is constrained by provincial law in its ability to manipulate development charges in order to spur growth in areas needing growth. The councillor was just looking for possible ways to work within such restrictions.

But the mayor was having none of it.

“I’m a huge believer in the market determines the cost.”

“We shouldn’t be dictating what these people pay, let the market dictate.”

“This will turn into a complete mess.”

Have conservatives always been this dumb? Are those of us of a certain vintage deluded when we talk about the halcyon days of the red Tory – Joe Clarke, Hugh Segal, Bill Davis, David Crombie – when conservatism was entirely reasonable?

Development charges, by their very nature, are the government getting involved. It takes money from the private sector in order to help offset the costs of growth which, in turn, makes the development more attractive, therefore increases the value of the development. notlistening2Higher value, higher tax base. A win-win for all involved.

In voting in favour of the staff’s report to phase in development charge increases over the next couple years, Mayor Ford voted in favour of government involvement.  But somehow, in an effort to figure out ways to encourage growth in areas of the city in need of it, that was just too much meddling for the mayor’s taste. It would surely precipitate a complete disaster.

The irony (and I believe I’m using the word correctly) is that this anti-government outburst from the mayor came a day after he declared victory in securing federal funding and sealing the deal for a Scarborough subway. An infrastructure project exclusively funded by the government which, in the mayor’s very own words, would stimulate growth and development in Scarborough.

But when Councillor Ainslie and another Scarborough councillor, Gary Crawford, request a report to propose ways to help stimulate growth and development along Kingston Road in their neck of the Scarborough woods? No way. People shouldn’t be dictating. Let the market decide!

It’s like this iteration of conservatism has taken all the easy, self-serving, short term aspects from the ideology while jettisoning its more complicated features. multiplicityThey’re like the third clone in Michael Keaton’s Multiplicity, the ones who eat toothpaste. Pale shadows of their forbearers who can’t or conveniently don’t remember the fuller version of their political philosophy.

There’s no pattern or logic. It’s just partisan addled sloganeering outbursts at words or ideas that don’t sit well with them. Like single-celled organisms reacting to the light. Single-minded entities reacting to things they don’t understand. No thought. Just visceral, opportunistic grandstanding.

Modern conservatism is nothing more than an empty brand masking its one true operating principle: blind, anti-government reactionism. Openly adopting such a stance, however, doesn’t play well with the voting public. So you try and smooth out the rough electoral edges by maintaining a soothing name that reeks of tradition.

A tradition that I now call into question if Mayor Ford and his ilk represent its legacy.

sins-of-the-fatherly submitted by Cityslikr

7 Responses to Hey Rain Man!

  1. Sonny says:

    Populist Nenshi looks to be re-elected in Conservative Calgary because he performed well during the flood. Meanwhile Ford spent his time in his SUV during the July 8 monsoon rain claiming to “help” neighbours.
    So Ford’s blustering and bullying has gotten the City more congestion therefore less productivity

  2. Patrick Smyth says:

    Hey Rain Man – Ford’s questionable understanding of the principles of conservatism reminds me of the so-called socialist and lefties on Council. The ones who routinely pass laws that protect developers’ profits and who vote to eliminate affordable housing.

    Hey, Ford is stupid but don’t let that stop the folks at AFUITBS from getting a good education on what goes on down there beyond his shadow.

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Mr Smyth,

      We here at all Fired Up in the Big Smoke wonder if you ever get even the slightest bit embarrassed about constantly harping on with accusations you never, ever back up despite being given plenty of opportunity to do so.

      Prove it and we’ll post it.

      Otherwise, you’re just another crank in the wilderness.


      This is Patrick Smyth getting involved.


      • Patrick Smyth says:

        I come here to observe and comment with never a notion that the folks at AFUITBS would take up a cause that exposes their “socialist” heroes.

        If you’re serious about learning for the good of the whole city, drop the ideology and things will be clearer.

        Some better manners will help too.

      • Ron Wheeler says:

        “….better manners will help too”…spoken by the one who requires security removal from city hall.

      • Ron Wheeler says:

        Patrick Smyth has it in his head that everyone is out to get him and that he is the one true activist fighting the system. The reality is Smyth merely echoes the worst of Ford’s populism while berating the reporting of facts.

        He has a disconnect between what is actually occurring vs what is allowed through the tinfoill mind-paper of his continued self-victimization.

        And yes…that was a 2 wine glass lunch and thank you very much.


  3. glenn storey says:

    two quotes by john kenneth galbraith come to mind.

    Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

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