Corruption

June 11, 2014

Where does the corruption start?

We have had a provincial election campaign full of corruption talk – rotsome may be legit, some of it shorthand for “We disagree with a decision that was made”. It is a word tossed around easily. Nothing hangs heavier on a public figure than the accusation of corruption.

An all-encompassing smear, corruption is. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean cash-stuffed envelopes exchanging hands in some hotel room although that’s kind of the image it evokes. No. Corruption can and often does simply mean putting politics, personal or party, before principle.

So the Liberal government at Queen’s Park faces the voters in tomorrow’s election, trying to run from the shadows of eHealth, Ornge, the gas plants. Rightfully so, too. I’ve heard very few, if any, defenders. corruptAt the only leaders’ debate of this campaign, the Liberal premier, Kathleen Wynne, spent the first 15 minutes apologizing for her involvement in the billion dollar gas plant boondoggle, to use the parlance of our corrupt times.

Clearly, it is time for the Liberals to go. Clean house. Renew and regenerate.

“We endorse Tim Hudak, for Onatrio,” states the Toronto Sun. “A Conservative government for Ontario,” declares the National Post. “The Globe’s editorial board endorses Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives,” proclaims the Globe and Mail.

There you have it. Three out of the four Toronto daily newspapers offer up their choice of alternatives to the Liberal government. endorsementTim Hudak and the Progressive Conservatives. Hardly surprising, for the most part, given that all three sit on the right side of the political spectrum. It takes some doing for a conservative politician or party not to secure their endorsement. Remember Rob Ford back in 2010?

It makes perfect sense. Except for just one small, niggling thing. The Progressive Conservative platform is built on a foundation of lies. Its signature set piece, the Million Jobs Plan, is total fabrication, debunked by everyone and anyone regardless of political stripe. Even the endorsements acknowledge it.

“We disagree with Hudak’s declaration he can guarantee one million jobs,” confesses the Sun. “Governments don’t create jobs.”

“But Mr. Hudak is also running on a platform of simplistic slogans,” admits the Globe and Mail. “The Million Jobs Plan has been rightly mocked for failures of basic arithmetic.”

“Notwithstanding some of the glitches in Mr. Hudak’s campaign materials,” shrugs the National Post. ‘Glitches’ in his campaign materials? Are you fucking kidding me?

Essentially, what these newspapers are suggesting to us is, get rid of this lying, corrupt, incompetent government and replace it with a lying, mathematically suspect party. Why? looktheotherwayWell, because politics.

Is that not the very definition of, if not corruption, corrupt thinking? We abhor that kind of double-dealing and chicanery. This kind of double-dealing and chicanery though.. ?

I might even be able to forgive them their partisanship if Tim Hudak had stepped up and admitted to the accounting errors at the heart of his campaign centrepiece. But he didn’t. He brushed them aside with an easy, breezy ‘everybody’s got a theory’ nonchalance. All the glitchy campaign materials had been printed up. The TV ads shot.

What kind of government does the Toronto Sun, the Globe and Mail, the National Post expect Tim Hudak to form if he gets elected on the basis of deceit and a dodging of responsibility? rottentothecoreIsn’t this exactly what we’re angry at the Liberals about? That’s not what you might consider cleaning house. It’s more like changing tenants while ignoring the red flags in their letters of reference.

How can we demand that our politicians stop lying to us, stop putting politics before good governance, cease and desist with their corrupt practices when our very own opinion-makers so blatantly skirt around open and honest debate? At the heart of each of these editorial endorsements sits the uncomfortable truth. Some lies are preferable to other lies. When our side does it, that’s just playing the game, yo. When they do it? Scandalous and corrupt.

We can hardly expect ethics from our politicians when it’s a practice we don’t adhere to ourselves.

rottingly submitted by Cityslikr


Hudakery: Not A New Cocktail

June 3, 2014

Leading up to tonight’s provincial election debate, Progressive Conservative and Opposition leader Tim Hudak laid bare his empty(and presumably his party’s) approach to governing and government in an interview with Metro newspapers. And it ain’t pretty, folks. In fact, I’d call it completely and utterly devoid of substance, intelligence and imagination.

Oh yeah. Let’s not overlook a fundamental lack of understanding of how exactly our democratic society operates.

“Look, why do we pay taxes in the first place?” Hudak told interviewer Jessica Smith Cross. “We pay taxes because we’re generous Ontarians and we want to make sure it helps the most vulnerable populations. People who may be sick, people with disabilities, seniors.”

Taxation as a charitable donation.

Look, my heart bleeds for the unfortunates in our society. The sick. The disabled. The elderly. pleasesirWhat taxpayer wouldn’t give up a little bit of their hard-earned money to help out the needy?

Everything and everyone else, apparently, goes about their business, fueled by the absence of government and magic beans.

“Leadership is about setting priorities,” says Hudak. “And I think we’re going to be looking for a politician who’s going to be straight-up and say, we can’t fund every project with this amount of money.”

You want transit improvements or full day kindergarten? Tell that to your ill, wheelchair bound grandmother. Government is a zero sum game. There’s no room to help the disadvantaged and build a healthier, more equitable society. How do we continue to cut taxes and deliver more services? The answer is, you can’t. Tim Hudak knows that. He’s an honest broker and a trained economist. Facts and figures are his forte.

And about that 1,000,000 Jobs Plan, Tim?

“I stand behind our numbers and I think that it’s been justified by other economists [or not] who say that’s the ballpark of what this will create.”

gullible

Ahhh, ballpark numbers. The stuff master’s degrees in economics are made of, evidently. When his claim of creating 120,000 new jobs with further corporate tax cuts was called into question by the Conference Board of Canada – the Conference Board of Canada, people – Hudak blithely responds, “Whether it’s 80, 112, 120 or 150 thousand, [the CBB says 15-20 thousand, but whatevs] I think we agree it’s going to create jobs.”

When you’re also pledging to cut 100,000 public sector jobs, the actual number of jobs you’re promising to create does matter. badmath3Twenty thousand minus one hundred thousand equals minus eighty thousand jobs. Kinda puts you in a hole as you build toward that million jobs mark you’ve set for yourself.

Tim Hudak’s hidebound attachment to questionable economic theories seems to be matched by his dubious grasp of democracy.

Like many of his federal conservative brethren, Hudak has an abhorrence of the idea of a governing coalition in a minority government scenario. “I think that’s cheating voters…” Hudak said. “My position is clear — no coalitions. We will follow whatever the voters tell us they want.”

And if the voters tell you they want a minority government again on June 12th, Mr. Hudak? Regardless of plenty of parliamentary precedent being in place for coalitions, in fact, there’s one operating right now over there in Westminster, I do believe, it’s still cheating in your mind? “I say no to coalitions, let the voters decide.”

You might think that, given his inability to come to terms with traditional aspects of democracy, Hudak might be open to opportunities for it to evolve with the changing times. Like ranked ballots and proportional representation. playthecardsyouredealtYou might think. You’d be wrong, of course.

“I think that voters should decide who they want to be elected, whoever gets the most votes wins.”

But Tim, voters would still decide who they wanted to elect under a different form of ballots, it’d just be…

*sigh*

Never mind.

Look, I’m not stumping here for either of the other two parties currently occupying space at Queen’s Park. The ruling Liberals don’t appear to have learned anything during their transition from Dalton McGuinty to Kathleen Wynne, and seem determined to continue putting politics before policy. And the NDP, I’m at a loss to explain anything they’re doing at the moment.

But Tim Hudak and the Progressive Conservatives have a fundamental disconnect to what I believe is the role of government in our lives. texaschainsawmassacreThey see it as alien and an imposition. A beast to be tamed and shrivelled down to irrelevance. A lonely outpost for the destitute in a world governed by laissez faire free markets. Collaboration and co-operation take a back seat to competition.

Tim Hudak refuses to make the distinction between bad governance and government. It’s one and the same for him. He’s not someone we should put anywhere near the levers of power.

submitted by Cityslikr


Crazy Like A Crazy Person Or Just Crazy?

May 19, 2014

There’s that old aphorism, credited variously to Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw howsthatgoagainor Winston Churchill, that goes something to the effect: If you’re not a socialist when you’re twenty, there’s something wrong with your heart; if you’re still a socialist when you’re forty, there’s something wrong with your head.

I’d like to riff on that, thinking about modern day conservatives. If you’re a conservative these days, regardless of age, eighteen to eighty, there’s something wrong with both your ticker and noggin.

I mean, how else to explain that a good 30% of the Ontario electorate are still telling pollsters they are willing to vote for Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives in next month’s provincial election. This, a week+ into his campaign of the axing our way back to prosperity plan. 100,000 public sector jobs gone. Corporate taxes slashed to the lowest in North America. LRT plans for Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton and Brampton? texaschainsawmassacreGone, gone, gone and gone.

Never mind that none of this is good or sound policy. His 1, 000, 000 Jobs Plan is laughable even by some of his strongest supporters. While his threats appear to be real, his promises are empty.

Now, there are all sorts of reasons to want to see the governing Liberals chased from office. But Tim Hudak isn’t offering a better alternative. He’s merely being spiteful. It’s vengeance, he wants, not better governance.

What do his supporters think this would accomplish? Zero economic benefits, at best, and there’s a lot of wishful thinking and blind faith going into even seeing that as a possibility. His transit plans for the GTHA won’t make a dent in the region’s congestion woes. He’s even admitted there are going to be bigger class sizes in schools if he has his way.

defiantTo what end?

The eradication of the province’s deficit and any semblance of the last decade of Liberal rule, it seems.

Neither of which, by almost every count, will contribute in any positive way to the daily lives of average Ontarians.

That’s kind of the very definition of cutting off your nose to spite your face, isn’t it?

Even while his policy announcements raised more eyebrows than they did serious consideration, Mr. Hudak has been applauded in some circles for his forthrightness, his no pulling of punches, his boldness in laying out his plans.

“But its value is mostly for what it signals of his resolve,” writes Andrew Coyne in the National Post, referring to the pledge to cut 100,000 jobs for the public sector.

The resolve is the thing, you see. Not its effectiveness or necessity. Who cares about the economic results as long as you do what you say you’re going to do, ridiculous or not.determined

Now, let me state right here that I’m in no way comparing Tim Hudak to Adolph Hitler aside from a stylistic similarity. Whatever else his faults might’ve been, Hitler was a politician of certain resolve too. He offered up a few solutions of his own, back in the day. So what if one in particular was a little genocide-y? He said he was going to do it. He did it. You can’t fault the guy for a lack of resolve.

What is the appeal of a politician full of bad ideas, unflinchingly out there promoting them? Bad ideas are bad ideas whether you yell them to the mountain tops or keep them to a parlour whisper.

What exactly has the conservative voter become that this is now seen as a constructive attribute? Loudly, proudly pronouncing nonsense. Has it really come down to a case of my guy, right or wrong? burntheplacedownPositive change isn’t their goal so much as any change, good or bad, is better than no change.

I get why nearly 3/4s of us want to see a new government at Queen’s Park. The stench of scandal, misspending and cover up hangs over the Liberal government. But frankly, I’d take that over the smell of scorched earth which I feel is what’s being offered to us by Tim Hudak. It isn’t an alternative. It’s a vendetta.

fearfully submitted by Cityslikr


Play It Again Tim

May 12, 2014

Who still believes that wildly slashing jobs in the public sector will result in a tenfold increase in the private sector work force? truebelieversWho still believes in a direct correlation between more and deeper corporate tax cuts and bigger business investments in the economy? Who still believes that an extensive subway system can be built using found money from simple belt tightening and finding efficiencies?

Progressive Conservative voters in Ontario, apparently. And their party leader, Tim Hudak, is making sure they hear him loud and clear early on in this election campaign with his shock and awe, slash and burn announcements. He most certainly isn’t attempting to broaden his base. Just the opposite, in fact. Cement it in place, rock solid.

The reason for that approach is pretty obvious. According to a recent Ipsos Reid poll, Progressive Conservative support is what I’d refer to as intransigent, intractable. seenoevilPollsters more diplomatically call it ‘committed’ or ‘loyal’. 54% of PC voters express an absolute certainty of casting a ballot that way on election day. Only 37% of Liberal supporters think that way. 34% of NDP.

Perhaps even more important to electoral fortunes, of the just over half of people who say that nothing short of a natural disaster or personal emergency will stop them from voting, 42% plan on voting Conservative, 14 and 15% ahead of the Liberals and NDP respectively.

So, get out that conservative vote by stirring up fond memories of the Mike Harris era. Tap into that deep well of anti-government, anti-tax sentiment. Bang the drum of outrage and resentment.

texaschainsawmassacreNow look, I get it.

There’s every sort of reason that nearly 73% of those responding to the poll think there needs to be a change of government at Queen’s Park. The Liberals are tired. After 11 years in office, the age spots are showing. There are the scandals, oh my, are there the scandals, and the cover-ups of scandals. There are the half-measures, half-taken, on issues like public transit and the environment. Despite the new leadership, a general sense of entropy permeates the Liberal Party of Ontario.

Kick the bums out!

Still…

We’ve seen this movie before.

Hell, it’s playing out right now at a theatre near you. proofisinthepuddingWe don’t have to harken back to darker days of yore.

The attack on the civil service at the federal level is already bearing rotten fruit. A loss of vital statistical information, from household data to climate change, stemming from departmental cuts to overt muzzling of government scientists. A lack of oversight allowing the transportation of dangerous materials in unsafe vehicles resulting in a catastrophic turn of events like Lac Megantic.

In all likelihood, the federal Conservatives will go into next year’s election campaign boasting a budget surplus as proof of how austerity works. This will be a claim made in the face of a less than robust economy with much of the country suffering from severe infrastructure disrepair. Bridges, roads, public transit networks, all underfunded and substandard. And don’t even get me started on our social infrastructure deficit.

Here in Toronto, since 2010 we’ve been living with the results of many of the ‘tough choices’ Tim Hudak insists we have to make. Across the board budget cuts, service reductions, increased state of good repair back log. emptypromiseAll in the name of keeping taxes low and curbing so-called out of control spending.

So this isn’t about some bold leap of faith into the unknown or a change for change’s sake because how much worse could it possibly be? We know how much worse. We’re living it.

Yet, potential Conservative voters are most dogmatic in their attachment to party and intention to go out and vote for them. So either they’re A-OK with the inevitable outcome of Tim Hudak’s austerity measures which is pretty much the opposite of what he claims will happen. Jobs will not be created. Business investment will not increase. Public transit will not be built. These voters don’t care about any of that as long as the Liberals are tossed from office.

Or they believe in the continued fairy tale politicians like Tim Hudak continue to spin. If we only cut the public sector. If we only reduced taxes a little bit more. If we just allow the free market more freedom and less government constraint, flowers of prosperity. Yaddie, yaddie, yaddie. A rising tide will lift all boats. Yaddie, yaddie, yaddie.

Vicious and deluded are the only ways you could describe Conservative supporters at this point. abadonallhopeCombined with the fact that more than 4 out of 5 of them seem to have little intention of questioning that support, they are an immoveable bloc that operates beyond engagement or discourse. An army of obstinacy, offering nothing new or even remotely realistic to the conversation.

The party of spite, less convinced of the worthiness of its own cause than it is the absolute wrongness of the others. Even when they may be right about the latter, the repugnancy at its core offers little to outsiders as a viable alternative. It’s the mathematics of disenchantment and lowered expectations. “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here” has become the Conservative mantra. Our worst is better than their worst.

submitted by Cityslikr


One Step Forward…

April 15, 2014

Listening to veteran transportation planner Ed Levy on Metro Morning today talk about the province’s latest foray sighinto the choppy political waters of transit building in the GTA, I felt for the guy. He and the likes of Steve Munro, and all the others who’ve been following this sorry tale for much longer than I have. How else do you respond to the question, Well, what do you think? A shrug. A sigh. A sad, slow shake of the head.

The equation is remarkably easy.

This region is in desperate need of transit and transportation infrastructure upgrades. It has been woefully neglected for at least 3 decades. We are now paying the economic and social costs for this lack of investment.

Pretty much everyone is in agreement on this. Time to get busy. The clock is ticking. We must roll up our sleeves and get down to transit building business.

That’s where the consensus all goes to shit. agreetodisagreeThe perpetual sticking point. How do we pay for it?

Nothing about this is going to come cheap. If it did, public transit would be everywhere. We wouldn’t be having this ongoing conversation. Parse it any way you want, it is an expensive proposition, a pricey necessity for the proper functioning of any sizeable city.

It’s going to cost us. All worthwhile investments do. So, pony up, shut up and let’s get on with it.

On the other hand…

Yesterday’s Liberal government announcement of $29 billion in money directed toward transit and transportation building throughout the province, $15 billion of that in the GTA, over the next 10 years is not nothing. It only seems like that because there’s been a long, deliberate build up to this point. There’s something anti-climactic to the announcement. holdonaminuteI’m sorry, what? That’s it?

Part of the problem is that the money’s not new. What did the Minister of Transportation call it? Repurposed revenue. If these guys spent half as much time coming up with smart ways to convince the public to buy into the need to pay for transit as they did polishing up weasel words and phrases to mask their continued ambivalence in confronting this issue head on, we’d already have the Yonge Street relief line built and paid for.

This is $29 billion already coming into the province through gas taxes and the HST paid on gas. The government is simply dedicating that amount in this particular direction. Which is fine and good, a start at least. Where it’s being pulled from is anybody’s guess at this point. We’ll cross that bridge (after it’s been retrofitted) when we get to it.

The other glitch in the announcement is that the $1.5 billion coming the GTA’s way annually over the next 10 years is still below the goal of $2 billion a year Metrolinx has said would be needed to fund the capital side of its Big Move build. All in good time, we were assured by the premier and minister of transportation. willywonka1More will be revealed with the upcoming budget.

This is where the politics comes in to play. Unfortunately, politics always comes in to play. The $29 billion was the opening gambit (after what? A 6 year overture?) by the government. How would the opposition parties react? Were they going to sign on or in any other way show their hand on this?

The trouble for the Liberals right now is two-fold. One, they have no spending credibility, lost amidst the scandals plaguing them. Ehealth. Ornge. Gas plants. Trust us to get it right this time, folks.

It’s a scenario that could be easily dealt with if there was a serious alternative being put up on offer. But this is the second problem. Out there on the extreme is the official opposition pretending like building transit is free and easy. You want subways? We’ll give you subways. And it won’t cost you a thing. Just a nip and tuck there. Bob’s your uncle. Remember the last time the Progressive Conservatives were in power and all those subways they buil—No, wait. Strike that.

We have proof negative of exactly higotnothingow this approach to building transit works here in Toronto. It doesn’t. Remember when our current mayor was running for office back in 2010 and he guaranteed us he could deliver subways here, there and everywhere without any additional revenues? Uh huh. That’s the exact bill of goods Tim Hudak’s trying to sell us again.

Unfortunately, the third party at Queen’s Park, the NDP, are tilting heavily toward similar populist pandering. Corporate taxes is their mantra. Rolling back a decade’s worth of corporate tax cuts will pay for everything we want while eliminating the deficit apparently. A different angle on the too good to be true pitch.

And then we all flip the table and walk away from the discussion. Politicians, we bellow! Where have the true leaders gone, we ask? If only Bill Davis. If only… If only.

Until we start punishing those elected representatives who believe that in concocting fairy tales of no money down, whome1no interest until forever as the surest way to secure office, this song will play on repeat. We will still be bitching about the state of our public transit 10 years, 20 years from now. We will still be reading posts like this. We will be explaining to our grandchildren how it was our politicians let us down, how they failed to tackle the most pressing issues of our time.

We will still be absolving ourselves of any responsibility for the gridlock that has continued to worsen and the deplorable state of ill-repair our trains and streetcars and buses operate in. Like the generation before us, we will wipe our hands clean and successfully pass the buck to the next to deal with.

repeatedly submitted by Cityslikr


Committed To Talking About Transit

March 17, 2014

What can we do in the face of an overwhelming lack of leadership?powervacuum1

I was thinking that, listening to Premier Kathleen Wynne explain to Matt Galloway on Metro Morning today why she’d announced pulling some possible revenue tools last week to help fund transit building. You could actually hear the political calculus at work. Or maybe it was the sound of transit planning coming to a grinding halt.

No one doubts the premier is in something of a bind here. You could make the argument she’s looking down the wrong end of history’s barrel, with twenty years of anti-tax and small government sensibilities having taken solid root in the political soil, dating back to the rise of the Reform Party in the early 90s. The Chretien/Martin deficit cutting and downloading frenzy. Mike Harris. Mel Lastman. Stephen Harper. Rob Ford.

Taxation not even seen as a necessary evil but simply evil.

Of course, her own party’s recklessness with public funds doesn’t help her cause any. taxesareevilWe all know the names by heart. Ehealth. Ornge. Gas plants. It’s a bit tough at this point for Premier Wynne to step up and ask for more money from Ontario’s residents. Trust us. We’ll spend it all very, very wisely.

And the politicking doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The opposition parties at Queen’s Park have constructed their own anti-reality bubbles in terms of revenue sources to dedicate to transit. Everybody’s got some magic beans they’re shilling, ways to get the transit needed at a cost that will come from almost nobody’s pockets. Don’t worry, folks. This won’t hurt a bit.

My guess is, as we head into the provincial budget process, the government has just handed concessions over to the NDP by vowing not to increase the gas tax, the HST or income tax on middle-class families in order to fund the Big Move. Your move now, Andrew Horwath. What does your party suggest? Using exact figures, if you don’t mind.

Who’s going to step forward first and sign their name to a tax increase or new user fee?

Because everybody knows this can’t continue. Public transit in the GTHA has to be built. That fact, at least, cuts across political lines. checkersOnly the supremely delusional Tim Hudak-led Tories are insisting it can be done without raising more revenue.

Yet, here we are, gridlocked and deadlocked.

The Liberal government has been provided with plenty of cover to take the important next step in this debate. From the non-politically realigned Metrolinx and the premier’s very own appointed Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel, to organization as disparate as the Toronto Region Board of Trade, CivicAction Alliance, the Pembina Institute, right down to grassroots groups like Code Red TO, all have talked up revenue tools. The pump has been primed, the ground broken.

Yet, here we are, gridlocked and deadlocked. Still.

The ugly truth about this, unfortunately, is that the well being of the party takes precedence over the strength of the idea. We’ve all been told that if party X runs with this and takes a beating in the election because of it, well, we’re right back to square one or so. partyloyaltyThe fate of transit in the GTHA hinges on the party that best touts the least amount of pain necessary to voters in order to build it.

No one’s gutsy or astute enough (both integral components of actual leadership) to step forward and challenge the conventional wisdom that voters summarily oppose taxation and are unwilling to pay more for improved service. Instead it’s just more nibbling around the edges, reframing the debate in the exact same dimensions we’ve heard for the past 20 years. Empty, empty pledges of new stuff free of charge. Promises to deliver the undeliverable.

All of which serves only to make us more cynical, more apathetic and less likely to take anything any of our politicians say seriously. Who wants to go to bat for somebody ducking from the first inside pitch they face? Why waste your time and effort?

At this point, there can be little doubt that the 3 parties representing us at Queen’s Park have failed miserably at displaying anything close to resembling leadership on the transit file. Each have wilfully disregarded the hard work and dedication put in by groups and individuals, goitalonefighting to ensure that we have a robust debate and positive outcome in dealing with an issue that threatens nothing short of our well-being and way of life in this region. We’ve been abandoned by our elected leaders.

If our provincial politicians are unwilling to provide the appropriate leadership for us, we really should start talking about why we continue to finance them and subject ourselves to their inaction and indecisiveness.

dim viewly submitted by Cityslikr


No, You First

March 14, 2014

(A heads up: this one’s going to be particularly swear-y. Those with delicate sensibilities may want to take a pass.)

strutsandfrets

I’m trying to re-jig that old axiom.

We get the politicians the strategists, consultants and pollsters they pay give us.

Yesterday, Premier Kathleen Wynne bravely stood down in the face of opposition intransigence toward new taxes to fund regional transit in the GTA, waving the white flag of political opportunism. After two reports came back, one from the provincial transit body, Metolinx, and another from the premier’s own appointed Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel, recommending ways to pay for the ambitious (on paper) Big Move, justsaynoPremier Wynne brushed aside two of the more substantive suggestions, the gas tax and HST.

“We are taking those potential revenue tools off the table,” she told the press. But “make no mistake”, she’s going to get this shit built. She’s just not going to tell anybody how yet.

Well, Premier Wynne, join the party. Behind every other fucking politician who cavalierly promises to tackle the pressing issue of transit in the region but deftly avoids the conversation about how exactly to pay for it. This is the line for the magic beans, right?

This is political brinksmanship at its most loathsome. Mutual assured do-nothingness. Both opposition parties at Queen’s Park have dug into their trenches and refused to so much as engage, really only popping their heads up to take the odd pot shot at the government.

brinksmanshipThe Tories have moved beyond the realm of reprehensible, promising the most expensive option of transit, the subway, with the least likely way to pay for it, finding efficiencies. They might as well just admit that they couldn’t give a flying fuck about public transit. The only reason they really addressed the issue was in order to look busy writing up white papers.

And the NDP? My political home? They’ve carved out some fucking bullshit form of populism that is trying to convince us that this can all be done through corporate taxes and a higher income tax on some miles wide interpretation of the middle class. It’s the flip side of the Conservative’s we can do all this and you won’t feel it a bit mantra.

This seems to be the avenue the government has left open to themselves. They haven’t ruled out more in corporate taxes or from high income earners. Don’t worry, people. Other people will pay for all this.whopaysforlunch

Now look, I have absolutely no problem with a renewed interest in harkening back to the olden days of using a truly progressive form of taxation via income to start addressing our social needs. It’s decades overdue. But why would I believe our politicians are prepared to have that discussion when merely saying the word ‘tax’ makes them blanch and wet themselves?

When one of these parties actually steps forward and stops referring to the middle-class as everybody who makes less than $500k/year, maybe I’ll start to think they’re serious. It’s been a long time since many of us, corporations, individuals, families, have being what we should be paying. It’s why we’re in the transit-infrastructure mess we find ourselves. We all believe somebody else should be paying for it.

But this is a game of who’s going to blink first. Nobody’s willing to take the lead on this for fear of everybody else screeching and pointing their fingers at them. hediditLook! Tax-and-spenders!! Burn them!!!

The situation is so abysmally preposterous that also yesterday, the big name left wing, NDP flavoured candidate for mayor, Olivia Chow, would only commit to property tax increases at the rate of inflation. That’s great, Olivia. That’ll maintain services at the current level. What about all the other stuff you’re going to pledge to do?

When Chow didn’t enthusiastically jump on board the DRL express, the subway build everyone has acknowledged is a priority to relieve pressure from the current lines, citing cost concerns, she was immediately jumped all over by some of the other candidates, led by the John Tory team. Hey, tax-and-spender! Why aren’t you promising to tax-and-spend some?

Now, follow me on this.

On its staff, the John Tory campaign has one Nick Kouvalis. You may remember Mr. Kouvalis from other mayoral campaigns like 2010’s Rob Ford. If you recall, there’s was much talk then of stopping a gravy train and the city government having a spending problem not a revenue problem.

Even this iteration, Kouvalis 2.0, Tory has pledged to keep taxes low. Yet building an expensive subway is priority #1. How? Not to worry. Somebody else will pay for it. You won’t feel a thing.whome1

“The only way you’re going to break this vicious cycle of waiting for public opinion that won’t come,” the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s Carol Wilding told Matt Galloway today on Metro Morning, “is to insert leadership.”

Setting aside for the time being the TRBoT’s own contribution to anti-tax fever back in 2010, Ms. Wilding isn’t off the mark. We’ve stopped demanding leadership from our politicians, letting them off the hook, content only to hear them tell us what we want to hear. Yes, things aren’t perfect. Yes, there are ways we can start fixing them. No, you don’t have to do a thing about, though. Carry on. Somebody else will sort it out.

The phrase for that is probably left as is, only slightly modified.

We get the politicians we deserve.

spitting nailsly submitted by Cityslikr