Superfluous Matter

I find the current mayoral race in Toronto fairly depressing and I think the problem has more to do with the state of municipal politics in general than with the current crop of less than inspiring candidates.

For me, the largest issue is transportation of all forms. People (who don't actually live in Toronto) complain an awful lot about how terrible it is to drive here. The reason of course is that there is limited space for roads in the downtown core of any city and that the only way to alleviate the problem is to decrease the number of cars using those roads. The obvious way to solve this problem is through promotion of alternative means of transportation such as walking, biking and most importantly public transit.

But that's where it all falls apart. City council has enough power and funds to tackle bike lanes and neighbourhood walk-ability issues but they honestly don't have much hope on public transit.

The whole "Transit City" program, while better than nothing, isn't anywhere close to sufficient in addressing the current and future needs of Toronto. As a city we really need several new subway lines in addition to extensions and upgrades to the existing lines. Such projects are expensive and challenging and require long term plans that extend beyond the average term of any particular mayor. Most importantly, they are not financially feasible without significant guaranteed investment from the federal and provincial governments.

Such investment will never come though (despite the fact that cities all over the world get transit funding from higher levels of government), as it is political suicide to spend large amounts of money on things that only help Toronto. Over 10% of all Canadians live in the GTA but the national sport of Toronto-hating forver holds the city back from reaching its goal of becoming "world-class."

And so, since none of the candidates can really do anything to properly solve the issue that I feel is most important to the city, I find the whole election to be rather redundant. It would suck if Rob Ford won since he'd probably do a bunch of embarrassing and stupid things, but if someone else wins it's not like they'll be able to create new subways out of nothing (and yes I know Rob Ford likes subways, but his plans are ludicrously unrealistic in that regard).

Thus, I'm seriously tempted to ditch the strategic voting thing and vote for Joe "Pants" Pantalone as he is the only candidate who seems to say positive things about the city as it is now. George and Rob can only seem to talk about how terrible it is and it makes me think they don't actually like being here. In particular, Joe acknowledges that the city budgets are actually in fairly decent shape, especially compared to other cities around the world. All the "gravy train" business is mostly populist nonsense meant to stir up people who don't normally pay attention except when they see their tax bill (which is actually lower in Toronto than all the suburbs around, but whatever, facts are meaningless).

Previous post | Next post