Almost a month after Ontario’s provincial election, the political landscape in Toronto is shifting away from the Ford Brothers and “Ford Nation”. The Brothers Ford’s hoped-for Conservative ally, a Premier who would support any of their mad schemes, remains in opposition. The Tories didn’t even manage to girdle Toronto with a sea of blue ridings, and the Liberals remain in power in much of the GTA with the NDP taking several urban seats. Between them, the Liberals and NDP count for a large block of “not Tory” votes, and Ford’s effect on the election was at best neutral.
The Liberals, content to re-announce past commitments, proposed little on transit during the election. Queen’s Park remains silent on any transit initiatives. This might be a sign of consistency if only we did not hear daily about “congestion” and the need for much better transit in the GTA.
Bob Chiarelli, formerly Mayor of Ottawa, replaces Kathleen Wynne as Minister of Transportation (also as Minister of Infrastructure). The Ministry’s website describes Chiarelli as “a champion of public transit, including clean light-rail expansion”, and for once we have a transition between Ministers that might not wreck a pattern of support for transit within the government.
There is much to do. Simple recitations of committed projects must give way to discussions of a future, much improved world for transit in the GTA and other major Ontario centres.
Herewith, a few suggestions about what the “major minority” (Premier McGuinty’s term for a not-quite majority) of our new government might do on this file.