Sometimes Division Is Easier Than Addition

August 9, 2013

Let’s presume for presumption’s sake that this thing known as Ford Nation actually exists. monolithA monolith of unwavering support for Mayor Rob Ford that will not, cannot be moved regardless of his performance both on and off the political field. Toronto’s 40%ers; my mayor, right or wrong.

Linking to a Toronto Life piece from Philip Preville that informed us Ford Nation might not be what we think it is – spoiler alert: it’s the poors and new Canadians – a discussion sprang up, beginning with the assertion that progressives in this city have lost the ability to speak for the ‘working class’. That sounded a little too pat, if not a little patronizing. Who are we to speak for anyone? Shouldn’t that be ‘speak to’?

Besides, using anything Mr. Preville writes about this city as some sort of springboard to further debate is dubious. As has been written here previously, we aren’t particularly overwhelmed by his take on things here in Toronto. In fact, just this past May, he wrote in Slate of Our Highly Effective Idiot. “Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is crass, offensive, and may smoke crack. He is also a pretty good mayor,” reads the sub-headline. Hey. idon'tknowaboutthatThe guy may be a dim bulb but he got the $60 vehicle registration tax revoked. That oughta count for something, right? Right?

Not surprisingly, the gist of Preville’s take on Ford Nation was put under the microscope and found, if not wanting, at least not entirely sufficient an explanation. Patrick Cain did some of the magic mapwork he does so well and found a very intriguing result.

“It’s complicated (these things always are) but some maps I’ve been working with recently show an eerily precise relationship between the age of a Toronto neighbourhood and its level of support for Ford in 2010, a pattern stronger than anything related to income.”

*  *  *

“The maps tend to support the idea that there is a fundamental difference in civic culture between the walkable neighbourhoods of the prewar period and the car-centred ones that came after, and that in electoral terms the difference can be more important than income.”

It’s complicated… these things always are…

Ford Nation is not just this thing or that thing. If that were the case, it’d be so much simpler to engage with them, complicatedspeak to their single-minded concern of inclusion or security. Just like the mayor does.

Mr. Cain’s analysis points to a much deeper, more complicated pattern for engagement and discourse. We’re talking a sense of place. Of course, that includes elements of income and ethnicity. But there’s far more to it than that. A fundamental difference in civic culture, Cain writes. You know what that sounds like? The War on the Car. Downtown Elites. Don Cherry versus Jane Jacobs.

If Mayor Ford has shown us little else, he’s very ably proven that it’s far easier to exploit the inherent divisions in fundamental differences in civic culture for political gain than it is to attempt to bridge them. Railing against change mainlines directly into our status quo bias. No matter how rough things may be right now, there’s a certain comfort to its familiarity, its being known to us. Any positive aspects to change are purely speculative and don’t tend to happen overnight.urbansuburban

What we in non-Ford Nation need to really appreciate is that we’re demanding much more change to the civic culture from those in the inner suburbs than we are having to face ourselves. As hesitant as I am to give in to broad generalizations, I foray into that territory to suggest many of us living in those higher density, public transit friendly, more walkable neighbourhoods Mr. Cain describes as not part of Ford Nation, have sought those kind of places out. We can either afford them or have made the tough choices necessary in order to live there because that’s the lifestyle we want.

That’s not to say that everyone living in the car-centric, wide lot, single-family developments of the inner suburbs would rather be a downtowner if they could. It’s just that the lifestyle that was promised when these neighbourhoods grew, of unlimited space and resources, is no longer feasible. understandjpgOr at least, no longer feasible at the costs we’re currently paying.

As a city, we are demanding big changes from our inner suburbs, less dependence on private vehicles, higher density. There’s going to be resistance. It’s only natural.

We just have to get better at justifying our reasons, for laying out the benefits that will come with these changes. To show how we’re all in this together and that none of this should be seen as some highly competitive, zero-sum game.

Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. But we do ourselves no favours by pretending there’s a simple solution to our complex situation.

hopefully not condescendingly submitted by Cityslikr


Gardiner Conundrum

December 19, 2012

Deep down in my bones, at the most visceral of visceral levels, I stand opposed to the selling of public assets to private interests. It always seems like some desperate measure and seldom turns out very well at the public end. justnotrightOf course, that may just be the confirmation bias punching its way to the surface.

But then, Councillor Adam Vaughan, whom I nearly always agree with, floats the notion of selling off or leasing out the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway. What?! Yesterday on Metro Morning, the councillor went full on Ford and touted mysterious ‘telephone calls’ he’d been getting from ‘major investment firms’ and ‘consortiums’, apparently drooling over the prospect of gobbling up some crumbling infrastructure. What next, Adam? Folks in line at Timmies, telling you to go for it?

During the interview, Councillor Shelley Carroll, whom I nearly always agree with, calls Vaughan’s idea an ‘insane fantasy’. Exactly, Shelley. If we’re going to start tolling the roads, why not keep the profits instead of handing them to the private sector to make off with like bandits. An insane fantasy indeed.waitwhat

Which is probably why Councillor Doug Ford agrees with Councillor Vaughan about it. Wait. What?! Get out of town! Those two guys?

“I’m glad that Councillor Vaughan is taking a page out of my playbook that I’ve been preaching for the last two years,” said the councillor and Mayor-brother, “maybe he got hit over the head over the weekend.”

For that reason alone, I now want to sell the roads to the private sector and watch as Councillor Ford slowly and inevitably realizes to his horror exactly how P3s work in the real world. Nothing comes for free. One way or another we will pay for the use of the Gardiner. I’m not sure the councillor fully understands that concept yet.

Of course, that’s not really all that constructive and might simply be cutting off my nose to spite my face. And when it comes to being spiteful, let’s leave that up to the master on the matter, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong. From Robyn Doolittle of the Toronto Star:

Public works and infrastructure chair Denzil Minnan-Wong said [Chief Planner Jennifer] Keesmaat needs to get on board with a staff recommendation to carry about $505 million of rehabilitation work over the next decade on two sections of the Gardiner.

darkhelmet“She’s in favour of spending the tens of millions that’s required to keep the Gardiner up while we could wait for six, seven, eight years to get an environmental assessment done, then flushing all that money down the toilet and maybe tearing the Gardiner down,” he said.

Ms. Keesmaat’s transgression? Suggesting before throwing a half billion dollars blindly at the problem of the Gardiner, how be we go back to that Environmental Assessment that we were already $3 million into before Mayor Ford came to power and Councillor Minnan-Wong took over at Public Works. You know, that one that got mysteriously shelved. The one that might’ve already been completed and on the table to give us some educated direction going forward.

If you could indict someone for disingenuous douchery, the Public Works and Infrastructure chair would be up to his eyes in legal paperwork. Unfortunately, that’s not illegal behaviour. Just terrible, destructive politics.

Not only was Ms. Keesmaat being quite reasonable in her suggestion that we think before we spend but she said out loud what road warriors like councillors Ford and Minnan-Wong refuse to accept and those like Vaughan and Carroll can only nibble around the edges of. According to Robyn Doolittle again, Toronto’s chief planner said she is opposed to spending massive sums on infrastructure focused on “moving more cars.”completelynuts

That’s what this all comes down to.

The future of transportation services in this city.

Single rider, private vehicle use is the least efficient, most expensive way of moving the biggest number of people. We’ve been heavily subsidizing it for over half a century now. Now’s the time to pay the piper. That bill’s come due.

The best way to go about achieving that? I guess that’s what this current tussle is about, at least among the politicians who are looking ahead and not back. Councillor Minnan-Wong is fighting yesterday’s war and should be treated accordingly.

It’s all well and good to think that if tolls are the way to go, why don’t we just start tolling and reap the profits. But in governments’ hands, it’s always political and subject to the whim of the day.nowisthetime Just like Rob Ford came to power vowing to kill the Vehicle Registration Tax, it’s easy to imagine another candidate pledging to kill tolls.

So sell it smartly to the private sector and be done with it. Let those who want to drive, bitch and moan at the major investment firms and consortiums not City Hall. And if you think you’re going to avoid paying by taking another, ‘free’ route? We’ll keep that congestion fee option tucked in our back pocket.

And hey, if Councillor Vaughan is right and engaging in a P3 will kick in federal infrastructure funds and ‘regionalize the cost’ of maintenance, why not? Cities should not be solely responsible for roads that serve the greater area.

Still… there’s that nagging feeling, deep in my bones. Lost revenue. Loss of control. Enriching the private sector while draining the public purse.

But this is a conversation and decision we need to have right now and not some time after we’ve thrown half a billion dollars at a problem that will do nothing more than handcuff another generation.

discombobulatedly submitted by Cityslikr


Ford-V-Vaughan

July 9, 2012

Nothing it seems is capable of stirring the somnolent, summer-dazed state of the Ford Administration like a broadside delivered its way by Councillor Adam Vaughan. Like a dopey, grumpy bear kicked in the slats while still in hibernation mode – wait for it, I’m going for a seasonal grand slam here – Team Ford wakes with a roar of indignation whenever it sniffs a slight emanating from the direction of Ward 20. Springing into fight mode and shedding its leaves of inaction (Nailed it!), Ford Nation dons the magical Cloak of Victimhood and goes full on DefCon 2 when alerted to a Vaughanian attack.

From the mayor’s standpoint, it’s entirely understandable. Hoping to re-channel the spirit of 2010, suburban-versus-urban mojo into another winning campaign, nobody better summons the loathing of downtown elitism more than Adam Vaughan except maybe Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. Whip smart, smart-alecky and familiar with basic concepts of city building, Vaughan is everything Mayor Ford isn’t. And the mayor and his most ardent supporters despise him for that. Since anger serves as fuel for Ford Nation, an object for their ire is what primes the pump.

Thus, the Toronto Sun columnist and former Ford PR flack, Adrienne Batra, had to engage in some pretzelling of logic to refer to Councillor Vaughan’s latest criticism of the mayor as a personal attack. The point of the councillor’s comments as I read them, Ms. Batra, was that because of Mayor Ford’s absence in doing anything, well, mayoral, the space is filled with his off-the-field antics. Or, involvement “…in an inordinate amount of unusual situations”, as you refer to them.

So the story then becomes all about Councillor Vaughan instead of the underperformance of Mayor Ford. The councillor’s angry, still seething about Ford’s victory. He’s a spotlight seeker, constructing a platform for a run at the mayor’s office in 2014. It’s just personal, just politics. There’s nothing of substance to his criticisms. The mayor’s performance is beyond reproach except maybe of the friendliest type from the likes of Adrienne Batra. All else is simply cheap politicking.

The curious thing for me, though, in this on-going saga is the councillor’s motives in all this. As a former journalist, he must be well aware of the optics at work. He’s the bête noire of this administration and with each critical utterance toward it only becomes bête-er noire-er. It has to be an intentional stance he’s taking, this outspoken gadfly who receives as much enmity as accolades every time he takes aim at the mayor.

Any publicity is good publicity as they say. Keeping visible while in opposition. Grooming himself to be the most logical opponent to Mayor Ford in 2014.

It’d be foolish or naïve to rule the possibility out. As Matt Elliott wrote last week, Toronto’s downtown core and East York didn’t play an insignificant role in Rob Ford’s successful mayoral bid. Any major shift against him there could further dampen his re-election chances. So perhaps Councillor Vaughan believes that relentless, merciless slagging of the mayor will so diminish him in the eyes of urban voters that the inner suburbs will have to swing even harder toward the mayor in order for him to have a hope in hell for a second term. A trend which is not yet materializing.

It’s a strategy that comes with considerable risk for the councillor. For every downtown vote he swings away from Mayor Ford, there could be a suburban vote that hardens in the mayor’s favour. The numbers still favour the politician who can swing a majority of suburban votes their way. Besides—

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE FUCKING 2014 ELECTION, FOLKS!

Why can’t we extend the same, I don’t know, courtesy toward Councillor Vaughan as we did then councillor Rob Ford, and assume not everything he says and does is about running for mayor? Maybe he’s just another straight shooting, telling it like is, Johnny that we all viewed Rob Ford to be back in the day. Maybe, like Rob Ford circa 2009, Adam Vaughan is just fucking angry with the current direction the mayor is trying to take the city and has trouble keeping a lid on it. Folks loved Rob Ford’s frankness. But somehow Adam Vaughan’s is smug, self-serving, angry vitriol?

But before I take the Rob-is-Adam, Adam-is-Rob, I Am the Walrus comparison too far, it’s worth pointing out that Rob Ford’s angry tirades have proven to be largely illusory which is the source of the doldrums the mayor currently finds himself in. The out of control, tax-and-spending Gravy Train was little more than the figment of his blinkered small government mindset. It was what we would crudely refer to as pissing into the wind.

So far, nobody’s been able to prove Councillor Vaughan wrong on his anti-Ford administration screeds. There has been an appalling lack of leadership from the mayor’s office. Mayor Ford’s needed no help from Councillor Vaughan in having his antics overshadow his accomplishments in governance.  The mayor has only himself to blame for being sidelined and perhaps the only motivations in Councillor Vaughan’s continued verbal assault on him is to keep it that way. It’s just better for everyone concerned.

wonderingly submitted by Cityslikr


The Death of Toronto in Toronto Life

August 21, 2011

I’m sneaking this one while Cityslikr is distracted watching Caddyshack. Again. (“So what? So let’s dance!” Cue Journey.)

He wanted no part of the brief brouhaha caused by Philip Preville’s ‘The New Surburbanites’ article in the September issue of Toronto Life. “Doesn’t deserve any more attention,” he told me. “Been suitably slapped upside the head and tossed to the curb far better than any of us could do here. Now shut up. I’m watching Caddyshack.” (“You got a pool up there, right?” “A pool.. pond. The pond would be good for you.”)

He’s right. Edward Keenan wrote a standalone piece at The Grid that is so good, you don’t even have to read the article he takes to task. Same can be said for Bert Archer over at the Toronto Standard. There’s really no need to sully such terrific writing by wasting your time with the source material.

But I did. And all I can say is: Who the fuck are these people?

Not the ones who packed up and headed out of town. To each his own, I say. The lure of small towns may be great for some. Nothing wrong with that although I couldn’t keep the whistling tune to the Andy Griffith Show from my head when reading Mr. Preville’s glowing, there’s-only-a-lack-of-a-critical-mass-of-good-restaurants-that-keeps-us-from-pure-perfection description of places like Peterborough, Cobourg, Dundas and Creemore. Not too boastful there, Philip and Toronto Life, or they won’t be small towns very much longer.

No, what I didn’t recognize was the version of Toronto the article presented (yes, congestion is bad) and the residents dwelling within. The ones who find children an imposition. The cocktail party goers, partaking in genteel adult conversation. All so ‘…busy and overwhelmed…with six o’clock meetings and pinging Black Berrys’ that they forget to pick up their kids at daycare.

Maybe Philip Preville didn’t need to get out of the city. Maybe he just needed to find himself a better circle of friends.

I’m always leery of any argument put forward that relies almost exclusively on vilifying the opposing view. We didn’t want to leave Toronto. Toronto forced us to leave. Toronto left us. We didn’t leave Toronto. I gave you my heart, Toronto. My blood, sweat and tears. And what did you give me in return? Love, marriage, children, a well-paying profession that enabled me to make enough money to go tell you to fuck yourself. (Cue Monty Python’s The Life of Brian. “What have the Romans ever done for us?”)

It’s all about justifying a decision made by presenting it as something foisted upon you. There was no alternative. Rather, the choice to stay put became untenable because the Toronto I once knew and loved was no more. Sure, I could’ve stayed and tried to change that but what about the kids? Think of the children. And apparently, according to one ex-Torontonian, for a kid to truly be a kid, he needs to throw rocks not hang around libraries and restaurants. Another did not know? The only people who will continue ‘living the downtown life’ are educated, well-off ‘arts professionals and university proofs’. Yeah, Preville really needed to get out more.

It all seems a little self-fulfilling if you read Toronto Life regularly and look back at previous articles Mr. Preville’s written for it. Especially good is his Hall of Shame in the January 2008 issue (h/t @goldsbie), a fine example of the mindless screeds that greased the rails for former Mayor Miller’s exit and paved the way into office for Rob Ford. There it was. David Miller should stop squawking for more money from other levels of government and start standing up to the greedy unions who take every last penny we do have. It’s that easy.

Such political simple-mindedness seems to have taken root at Toronto Life if the Editor’s Letters from Sarah Fulford are any indication. We talked about that here last September. A month or so before the municipal election, Ms. Fulford summed up what had gone wrong with Toronto: in 2003 we elected an Ivy League educated mayor. End stop.

She’s back at it again in the Exodus To The Burbs issue. “Not that I’m in favour of bulldozing neighbourhoods to make room for highways. But it would have been nice if at some point in the last 40 years we had implemented a workable transportation plan for Southern Ontario. In my view, the legacy of the Stop the Spadina Expressway movement is this: grand municipal plans are not welcome here.”

Not welcome here by whom, Sarah? Is the city of Toronto now responsible for coming up with a transportation plan for Southern Ontario? Without a strong regional level of government, that’s really the job for Queen’s Park, isn’t it? And once upon a time, we were all ready to go with an Eglinton subway but the kibosh was put on that, not by the vestiges of the Stop the Spadina Expressway movement, but by, that’s right, Queen’s Park. I’d say Waterfront Toronto is quietly going about their business of devising, if not a grand, a pretty darn good municipal plan.

If Sarah Fulford is so despondent about the direction Toronto has been heading and is singularly incapable of discovering the real root causes of our present malaise, maybe it’s time she followed Philip Preville’s lead and buy herself a nice house in a small town somewhere. Jettison her high-flying life as a magazine editor and open up a quaint coffee shop or second-hand bookstore. She certainly doesn’t seem prepared to help pitch in and help out here in any meaningful way.

Evidently, a common trait in some folks over at Toronto Life. When Preville describes himself and his ‘inner asshole’ in the article, he admits to being part of the problem that he now decries. “All my life I’ve been an upbeat person, but when I navigate the city I do it with a frown. I cut people off in my car, and on foot as I go through the TTC turnstile. I jaywalk. I litter.”

He litters? Really?! Who does that?

But you have to understand. It’s not really him littering or cutting people off or jaywalking — as we all know, no one jaywalks in great, livable cities. The city makes him do it. Maybe if we work really hard to fix things around here, smooth out the rough edges and return Toronto to its glory days of Philip Preville’s youth, we could entice him back to the downtown fold, a better man, a better citzen.

Until such time, and with Philip Preville and his ‘inner asshole’ now gone, making things right here in Toronto is one less asshole easier. (Cue ‘I’m Alright’.)

Logginsly submitted by Urban Sophisticat


Toronto Life. Toronto The Bad.

September 21, 2010

Rob Ford’s Powers of Persuasion. Persuade (tr.v.): To induce to undertake a course of action or embrace a point of view by means of argument, reasoning, or entreaty. Entreaty: (n.): An earnest request or petition; a plea.

In her Editor’s Letter in the October issue of Toronto Life, Sarah Fulford tries to unlock the key to Rob Ford’s mayoral appeal that now has 46% of committed voters on board. For someone who assures her readers that not only wouldn’t she vote for the guy but she wouldn’t even be his friend, Fulford certainly carries a lot of water for TeamRobFord in a few short paragraphs. With enemies like this, who needs friends?

From the get-go, Fulford paints Toronto in the dystopian hues that Ford (and Smitherman and Rossi and Thomson) want you to believe it’s become. Outrageous taxation, infrastructure crumbling, civic strikes and hellacious transit are portrayed as the norm. And, dear reader, do you want to know whose fault it is? Current mayor, David Miller, and current mayor David Miller’s alone. That’s who. In Sarah Fulford’s view, all was well and good in the fair city of Toronto before we went and got goofy and elected that completely inept and ‘ineffectual’ Miller as our mayor.

Exactly how old is Sarah Fulford anyway?! Can she remember as far back as 2003? Hey, Ms. Fulford. Remember Mel Lastman? Everything wasn’t all roses and sunshine back then either.

Are there problems the city faces? Yes, of course there are. Some that David Miller didn’t deal with and may well have exacerbated? Yes, very likely. But when Fulford suggests that “the union pretty much got what it wanted” as a result of last summer’s strike, she is truly blowing smoke up her readers’ collective asses. It’s nothing short of campaign rhetoric and a patented fantasy recasting of the scenario. Not a supporter of Rob Ford? If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

It bears repeating every time someone tries painting the bleakest picture of Toronto under the mayoralty of David Miller that not everyone sees Toronto in such unflattering light. From The Telegraph UK: “Toronto nowadays is a progressive and welcoming city with a thriving economy, flourishing arts scene and renowned cuisine. Its education and healthcare provision are among the best in the world.” A tale of two cities?

I know the article’s author, Saundra Satterlee, a ‘property expert’ writes ‘a buyer’s guide, ostensibly to promote Toronto. She is an outsider who wasn’t subject to the indignity of having to deal with her garbage for a whole 6 weeks and probably didn’t spend a lot of her time in our city’s less desirable neighbourhoods. But has Sarah Fulford? Call me skeptical.

Now, I’m guessing Ms. Fulford was trying to bring balance to the representation of this election’s front runner since the issue has an article about ‘The Messy, Angry Life of Rob Ford’ written by Gerald Hannon. Heaven forbid that she and the magazine be seen as downtown, liberal elitist, just trying to deliver a hatchet job. Fair enough, I guess, but does that mean it has to come at the expense of a balanced portrayal of the state of the city and the performance of the current mayor?

Sarah Fulford ends her Editor’s Letter with the following paragraph: It was enough to make this voter wish at least one of the candidates was hyper-articulate, someone who wouldn’t embarrass us on the world stage, maybe someone with a law degree from Harvard. Oh, wait. We voted for that guy twice already, and look where it got us.

Where exactly is that, Ms. Fulford? In a city that made it through what was the biggest global economic downturn in nearly 80 years in relatively good shape albeit with numerous problems to deal with? A city still suffering under the weight of an ill-advised and ill-thought out amalgamation while attempting to make it as fair, equitable and livable a place for all its citizens? Or the mean, nasty, out of control, bureaucratic heavy city of our nightmares, hitched to a down bound train heading straight to Pottersville?

Endeavouring to be fair-minded and even-handed is admirable. How about applying that journalistic rigour to both sides of the story, Ms Fulford? It would be a good place to start as we draw nearer to electing our next mayor.

persuasively submitted by Cityslikr


Someone Should Stick To Food Reviewing

April 15, 2010

Maybe it was because I was awaiting major dental work that the article in last month’s Toronto Life got right up in and under my craw. “The case for privatizing the TTC” declarative on the front page under a tasty looking plate of pasta most certainly caught my eye as I was sitting in the reception area. Bold, I thought. I will attempt to set aside my reservations about the idea and listen to a well thought out argument on the subject. Go ahead, impress me, convince me, sway me, Mr. Chris Nuttall-Smith.

It did not take long for that openness on my part to dissipate. Never trust an argument that begins its journey with a long preamble full to bursting with aspersion casting and name calling of those that would be against said argument. It takes me back a quarter century or so to the 1988 federal election that was fought primarily over the proposed free trade deal with the United States. The anti voices expressed concern about the flight of capital southward to lower cost regions, taking good paying manufacturing jobs with it. Lily-livered, knee jerk, head in the sand, backward looking, parochial, old time nationalists came the studied response. Don’t be ridic-uuu-lous, to borrow a TV catch phrase of the time.

Cue irony machine and Homer Simpson D’oh! What’s that you say? Good paying manufacturing jobs? Never heard such crazy talk.

So goes Nuttall-Smith’s argument in favour of TTC privatization. Those who are against it are well-meaning but ill-informed, ill-equipped, fearful of the future and, worse yet, engineers. Why engineers have been bad for the TTC Nuttall-Smith never bothers taking the time to explain. He even calls TTC chair, Adam Giambrone, ‘Chairman Himbo’. That’s early on in the article and Nuttall-Smith’s argument never really rises much higher than that.

He quotes Giambrone’s response to calls for privatization of the TTC back in 2008 after it was subject to yet another unionized workers strike: “Aside from London, England, he [Giambrone] said, ‘There are no major centres that run privatized operations – there’s a reason.’” Nuttall-Smith quickly swats that claim aside, telling us, in fact, there are dozens of them and, after some more name calling, eventually gets around to listing a few although aside from a couple of exceptions, he reels off countries who have gone the privatization route rather than cities which doesn’t really refute Giambrone’s assertion about ‘major centres’. That’s called comparing apples to oranges, Mr. Nuttall-Smith.

He does have a couple examples of ‘major centres’ in his back pocket, though. Copenhagen and Stockholm have privatized aspects of their transit systems. And they’re both great! Although, strictly speaking, transit operations in the Swedish capital are only partially privatized. If I understand the gist of Nuttall-Smith’s argument, the buses and subway are public owned while the maintenance of them and actual moving of people has been contracted out to private firms. The whole operation is overseen and regulated by a public body.

An operation that is heavily subsidized, Nuttall-Smith quietly admits in a quick paragraph after all his ejaculatory swooning over Stockholm’s “private” transit system.  “Granted,” he states, “Stockholm does this with an annual operating subsidy of $900 million – more than double what we drop on the TTC every year…” Hello. What? More than double the TTC funding?! And didn’t you tell us earlier on in your article, Mr. Nuttall-Smith, that the Stockholm transit handles half the daily traffic of Toronto? So they get double the money to move half the people.

“But great transit systems cost money.” Chris Nuttall-Smith informs us.

Well then, how about this, Mr. Nuttall-Smith. Why don’t we first start funding this city’s transit system properly and see what happens. If things don’t pick up and turnaround after that, then we can begin to have the privatization conversation. With someone who can put forward a coherent case in favour of it instead of just ideologically driven drivel.

hungrily submitted by Cityslikr