Thursday, May 19, 2011

The War on Whatever isn't a Car

I have refrained, for the most part, from commenting on local politics, be they civic, provincial or federal, in part because my early experience as a blogger was in a political way, and I found most of these conversations to be time-consuming and pointless.

There were other reasons, mainly that I was in a job that prevented me from speaking about a lot of these things, and even though I'm out of that job, old habits die hard, and maybe I enjoy the troll-free (and I suppose, comment-free) solitude of this blog's current state.

That all being said, I would like to note to all the eternally red-faced members of "Ford Nation", the erstwhile, yet strangely anonymous supporters of our current right-wing millionaire mayor Rob Ford, that insofar as you are happy that the war on the car is over, you must be delighted to see that the war on any other mode of transportation is fully on.

I guess my own opinion on this matter is this - basically, if there are 60 people in a streetcar, and one person in a car, I believe that the car should have as difficult a time as possible to get to wherever they need to go in downtown Toronto. Rob Ford believes the opposite - he really does seem to think that if you got rid of all the streetcars and other things that get in the way of that lone driver, that magically the roads will clear up.

Except, obviously, the opposite will happen. More (unless gas prices keep rising) people will simply take their cars, and so instead of 60 people in a streetcar, you'll have 60 people in cars.
Here's some simple math for the citizens of Ford Nation - you think a single streetcar is a pain in the ass to get around as you gulp down your double double on the way to your soul-sucking job? How about 60 more cars on the road? That's like what, the length of 30 streetcars? Does this make any sense?

Now I'm sorry if this sounds patronizing, but I can't help it, it's just that this seems so obvious to me - if you take people out of public transit they still have to get to work, and they are left with two options - they either move closer to work or they drive. My guess is that many will, for lots of good reasons, choose the latter.

And what is really strange about this is that, as much as people dislike the TTC, what with all the crazy people and the jostling for a seat and the general rudeness, driving into downtown is a terrible, soul-sucking experience.

But such is the paradoxical world that we live in that, instead of many Torontonians looking at this and saying "how do we make this better for everyone", no, instead they decide that the best route is to pull everyone down with them.

All those angry, alienated people who voted for Ford, and his vaunted "respect" for taxpayers (not citizens of course), must have all peed their pants with joy finding out that, instead of using our precious, no sacred tax dollars on paying the people who pick up our garbage a good wage and good benefits, we are instead going to give our sacred tax money to the private sector, so they can turn those decently paid garbage workers into members of Ford Nation, that is, angry and alienated.

Then they too can direct their anger at their fellow workers and not at the people who actually profit off of them. All so that we don't have to worry about naughty labour getting all uppity and going on strike.

When it turns out that whatever company we give this money to ends up shafting its workers, or asking for more money, and it all winds up costing more (as it always does), Rob Ford, like his brethren, will just shrug his shoulders and remind people about how it somehow saved tax dollars, even if what saving dollars meant was really sacrificing the people who clean up your mess, day in, day out.

But our city has decided that these people aren't worth it, and so we have sold them off, just as we will now dismantle what little progress was made toward making downtown as uncomfortable for motorists as possible, because this would have meant the many were being served at the expense of the few, and not as it now stands, which is the other way around.

Monday, May 02, 2011

An Open Question

So in the bizarro world of Canadian politics, does Osama bin Laden's death mean that the Conservatives will get more seats today?

My guess is yes, or at least people will discuss it as a factor. You heard it here fist!