We Don’t All Hate Rocco Rossi

February 1, 2010

I need to set the record straight before this goes on any longer.

After nearly a month on board the good ship All Fired Up in the Big Smoke, I fear that it might be listing a little too much toward left wing screed. My very first post here stated up front that I’d been a tepid John Tory supporter back in `03. Nothing that has occurred since then tells me that my instinct was incorrect. Except for, perhaps, Mr. Tory’s subsequent flaccid performance in the political arena.

Still, what the man stood for at the time made me think he’d do right by this city. Fiscal sanity, political probity, a good working relationship with the behind-the-scenes power brokers; hardly characteristics one should sneeze (into your sleeve) at. So maybe Tory didn’t know how to campaign vibrantly. Is this how we should take the measure of a man in office? He’s a good campaigner? Well, that’s what we went for and, behold, look at what’s become of us.

That is not to say that I was immune to the appeal of David Miller. He clearly had something going on or maybe it just seemed that way in the light of his predecessor. Miller possessed solid credentials. As an Ivy Leagued, one time Bay Street lawyer, he was no idiot. The problem as I saw it, which is even more glaringly apparent now with perfect hindsight, is that David Miller thought too big.

He got us to believe that we actually had any say in how things got done around here. Yes, he vowed to kill the bridge to the island airport, and did, but that made the airport somehow more viable. Now 6+ years on, it’s been renamed the Billy Bishop Airport in a brilliant sleight of hand, suggesting a twee little airfield where biplanes and crop dusters go about their quaint business rather than the incessant stream of luxury aircraft that is Porter Airline’s stock in trade. Why just this past Friday, the federally run Toronto Port Authority announced that it was going ahead with plans to dig a pedestrian tunnel to the airport. Wrapping it all up in an environmentally conscious bow, it was simply the latest flipping off of the city by a senior level of government and providing perfect imagery for how things get done.

Like it or not, Canadian cities have no constitutional standing. We are, as they say, ‘creatures of the province’ and the playthings of senior levels of government. As my colleague Acaphlegmic said in his post Saturday, “municipalities are vehicles for decentralized provincial service delivery”. Nothing more, nothing less. To think otherwise is political lunacy. David Miller never accepted this fact. That was his undoing. Perhaps someone like Rocco Rossi sees things more practically.

If the feds and/or the province want to strangle off progressive, grassroots, local movements or nip some social services in the bud, they do so indirectly. By not handing over the money owed and forcing municipalities do it for them. By confiscating land they don’t own and running it as if it exists in a bubble.

So disagree with Rocco Rossi’s politics all you want but the man appears to be a realist who knows which side his bread’s buttered on. No Don Quixote he but like the good Dr. Carrasco, he sees life as it truly is. Dream time’s over, Toronto. We need to wake up and look into the mirror and see what’s become of us. Just like fat Elvis we’re bloated, lazy and dysfunctional with a taste for fried bologna sandwiches. It is not sustainable. Rocco Rossi realizes that. He shouldn’t be mocked for saying so out loud.

realistically submitted by Urban Sophisticat