Posts Tagged ‘politics’
Matt Elliott’s column in today’s Metro, about the way in which multiple right-leaning candidates in the upcoming Toronto mayoral elections, outlines Toronto’s situation. The election of left-leaning Olivia Chow is starting to seem like a done deal. (But what else will come?)
With both Karen Stintz and John Tory officially signing up to join Rob Ford and David Soknacki last week, there are now four major right-of-centre candidates in the race for Toronto’s top office. It’s a situation that already has some pundits worrying about vote-splitting, fearful that a fractured electorate will pretty much hand the mayor’s job to Olivia Chow in October.
[. . .]
They’re all taking a different approach. Stintz, for example, is positioning herself as Mayor Mom, talking up her ability to relate with tales of mortgages and her kids’ soccer games. The positive approach is good, but she sure risks coming off as pandering.
Tory, meanwhile, has taken a more business-oriented approach. His platform so far is limited to repeating the words “livable, affordable, functional.” The subtext there isn’t hard to read, especially with his emphasis on the word “functional.” If Ford’s 2010 campaign was about stopping David Miller’s gravy train, Tory’s is all about stopping Ford’s crazy train.
Speaking of Ford, he is — somehow — still in the race, and still talking up his free-wheeling brand of right-wing politics. It’s mostly based on discredited budget numbers, but Ford remains great at telling voters what they want to hear. He’ll promise low property taxes and improved services. He’ll rail against the evils of debt and revenue tools then vote to increase taxes and debt for a subway. For Ford, math is no obstacle.
Which contrasts him nicely with David Soknacki, who leans heavily on math that actually adds up. His approach is policy-heavy, nerdy and, well, boring. But it also harkens back to the days of pragmatic and sensibly efficient governments run by Progressive Conservatives like Bill Davis and David Crombie. They weren’t splashy, but they were effective.
MacLean’s writer Vidya Kauri notes (more data at the site) that while transit use is rising quickly across Canada, so too are user fees. More money to subsidize mass transit–better fundraising generally–would be helpful.
Statistics Canada recently released data on urban transit ridership and revenues for the full year of 2013, and when looking back over the past decade a clear picture emerges: More people in cities are turning to transit to get around, but at the same time, it’s costing them a lot more to do so.
[. . . W]hile ridership is on the rise, passengers are increasingly feeling it in their wallets. Revenues for transit systems (excluding subsidies) have skyrocketed by comparison, a sign of how fast transit fares are rising. Yes, transit systems draw revenue from other sources, like advertising, but it’s minor. Just slightly more than two per cent of the Toronto Transit Commission’s operating revenue comes from ads. This shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise, when you consider Canadian cities have some of the highest transit fares in North America.
For those who like to grumble that people who take transit get a free ride, the data make it clear just how much deeper riders are having to dig. Yes, transit is heavily subsidized, but the cost to riders is rising incredibly fast. At the same time, it raises the question—at what point will soaring fares deter people from taking transit?
After reading Ann Hui and Jill Mahoney’s article in The Globe and Mail, I want the Ford brothers’ bluffs to be called. In spades. Live.
Mayor Rob Ford slammed Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair Thursday, accusing the chief of playing politics and saying “if he’s gonna arrest me, arrest me.”
Mr. Ford’s remarks come after a war of words this week between the police chief and the Ford family. On Wednesday, Chief Blair accused the mayor’s friend, alleged drug dealer Alessandro Lisi, of levelling threats against him, and told reporters he was “deeply offended” by a video that shows the mayor using explicit language to describe him. Mayor Ford’s brother, Councillor Doug Ford, fought back by calling on the chief to step down, after submitting a formal complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.
“He’s embarrassed? How about embarrassing my family, my kids, my community, my friends, following me around for five months, spending millions of dollars using taxpayers’ money, coming into my office trying to politicize things and making announcements,” Mr. Ford said Thursday. “If anyone owes an apology, he owes an apology to the taxpayers for not telling people how much he spent.”
Mr. Ford’s comments are a reference to an ongoing Toronto Police investigation into the mayor, dubbed Project Brazen 2. That investigation has already netted the arrest of Mr. Lisi for drug trafficking and extortion related to a video that shows the mayor smoking crack cocaine. The Fords and Chief Blair have been at odds ever since the chief revealed in a news conference in October that Toronto Police have a copy of that video – telling reporters that he was “disappointed” – and said that police were investigating Mr. Ford.
“If he’s gonna arrest me, arrest me,” Mr. Ford said, before accusing Chief Blair of playing politics.
[. . .]
Councillor Ford, who is Mayor Ford’s election campaign manager and often speaks for his brother, said Chief Blair violated the Police Act by saying Mayor Ford’s friend, alleged drug dealer Alessandro Lisi, warned officers that “your guy is going to get his” after his arrest on an extortion charge last fall. Police interpreted the remark as an apparent threat that foreshadowed a complaint the councillor later filed against the chief.
“He kept saying, ‘I don’t speak on ongoing investigations,’ but when it comes to Rob Ford there’s two rules: ‘I’ll speak all day long.’ And he just keeps breaking the law. And who holds this character accountable?” Councillor Ford said on AM640 radio on Thursday, later saying he has never spoken to Mr. Lisi and calling the chief’s comments “a lie.”