If it wasn’t abundantly clear to everyone before the McGuinty Liberals handed down their latest budget last week, it certainly should be now. Their interest in the future welfare of Toronto is fleeting and politically mercurial. They do what is expedient not what is right. Continuing to hope and depend on the good graces of the province to look out for our best interests should now be considered pathologically negligent.
So… So… To paraphrase the words of some olde scribes:
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume…the powers… entitle[d] them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
It has become increasingly apparent that since 1995, successive provincial governments have proven themselves incapable of properly governing this we call Ontario, as it has evolved since its conception some one hundred and forty-three years ago. Now over 13 million people strong with nearly half of those living in what is known as the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and more than 2.5 million in the city of Toronto itself, this is no longer the Upper Canada of Confederation. We are now a territory of two solitudes; predominantly urban where once we were rural. Ancient rules of rule cannot stand.
As Jesus was quoted saying in Luke 5:37-39: And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’
Even battered and bruised as it has been with the economic turmoil of the last 18 months, Toronto and the GTA remains the economic engine that drives the province. More money is extracted from it then is returned in goods or services, and while equity throughout the province is a laudable goal, it cannot be achieved to Toronto’s detriment. This has been the situation for the past 15 years but now has become untenable.
When the Liberals swept to power in 2003, they did so with the promise of undoing the fiscal damage inflicted on this city by the Harris-Eves Tories. Over the course of their 7 year reign, they have been slow to imperceptible in doing so. The latest example came with the budget declaration of deferring $4-billion of previously announced support for transit construction. This was the biggest budget cut in what was a lower than expected deficit and amounted to nothing more than one big Fuck You to Toronto and environs.
An already starved transit system is now being further deprived. Despite all sensible advice and opinion, the Liberals are displaying a shameful neglect of a much needed necessity if this region is to continue to grow in a manner that benefits all and compete successfully at an international level. By reneging on their previous commitment to build a better transit system in this city, the provincial government has once more abdicated their authority to govern us.
And what did the major contenders for Toronto’s top job say about this matter when they gathered together last night for the first official mayoral debate? Rob Ford wants to save the city a few thousand dollars by eliminating free rides on the TTC for councillors. George Smitherman demanded the resignation of TTC chair, Adam Giambrone.
These people are campaigning to be nothing more than mere window dressers. Errand boys and girl Friday bidding to do the dirty work of cutting, burning and slashing as demanded by their provincial evil overlords. Rather than pushing back, they are meekly bending over.
We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke are now looking for candidates who recognize the lay of the land and know what needs to be done. The process of separation must now begin. Pure and simply Toronto, and any of the contiguous region that wants to be a part of it, should demand provincial status. Those who now occupy Queen’s Park on a part time basis, representing an electorate outside of the 416/905 area codes are to be rejected and replaced by a legislative body who’s primary concern is Toronto. There is no other way to properly ensure our interests.
When our elected officials refuse to listen and willfully ignore our requests, what alternative do we have? Sitting on our hands and only speaking when spoken to is no longer an option.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the a united States of America Toronto…do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these this Colonies city, solemnly publish and declare, That these this United Colonies are city is, and of Right ought to be Free and an Independent States province; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown Ontario government, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain province of Ontario, is and ought to be totally dissolved… blah, blah, blah.
Part 1 – “You’re not from around these parts, are you.”
So I’m gliding home after a nice cozy meal with some good company and a little vino. Yes, I am literally gliding. On the bike (helmet affixed to the head, lights flashing), it’s all downhill from Bloor Street to my place. It is a startlingly warm spring night on this late, late winter’s eve. Zooming around the city doesn’t get much better than this.
I hang a right into an alleyway for half a block and then a left onto another alley for the home stretch to the back of the house. Suddenly, boom. I’m on the brakes, skidding to a stop on loose stones, broken glass and used condoms in order to avoid colliding with two young bucks who are milling about in the semi-darkness. A waft of the Mary Jane, I think the kids are calling it these days, hangs in the air around us.
“Are you a cop?” one of the kids in baggy pants and an ill (and I mean that in its original sense)-fitting baseball cap asks. It is a question that startles me even more than I already am due to its complete and utter lack of artifice. I am, momentarily and unusually, at a loss for words.
“If I were, son,” I respond, re-gathering my wits about me, “you’d either already be face down on the ground, my knee digging into your back, in the process of being detained for possessing an illegal substance or… or…”, and I’m just getting going now, “I’d tell you no, I’m not a cop, in order to buy me some time to figure out if you’re up to something else back here other than smoking a doob. Either way, that was an unnecessary question you just asked.”
Needless to say, the kids are now stymied, not in the least bit sure how to proceed. I figure it’s as good a time as any to take my leave of the situation in case either catches on that they’re having the piss taken out of them and feels the need to lash out. Although it has been my experience that those on the pot don’t tend to lash out for any reason whatsoever. At least not very effectively.
“Have a good night boys,” I bid them as I start to peddle my bicycle once more down the alley toward home. Not a peep comes from them and as I pull up outside the garage, waiting for the door to open, I look back in their direction. They haven’t moved an inch, looking very much like statues in the shadows, still trying to process our exchange, I imagine. I wheel my bike into the garage and close the door behind me.