Here we are again at this blog’s anniversary. Looking back over the past year, let alone ahead to the next one, I regret that I am not in an up-beat, optimistic mood.
A year ago, I wrote:
In Ontario, there is hope that opposition will coalesce to drive the Premier and his band of incompetent fools from office. Whether we will get a new band of fools remains to be seen, but a Toronto, an Ontario in which nobody named “Ford” has any power is long overdue. Simplistic, populist slogans and dogma are no replacement for competent, dare I say, inspiring government.
This year I really do want to look forward, even with some misgivings on the social and political landscape.
The NDP and Liberal opposition did not manage to seize power, and won’t even have a shot at this until 2026. Meanwhile, we are stuck with Doug Ford and his gang of rogues who will sell off the province to their pals. Between rhetoric for the cameras, and legislation working against any interest that does not contribute to his party, Ford’s reign brings fresh disasters at every turn.
If there were a credible alternate view at the municipal level, I might hope at least for some balance, an alternate voice, but Mayor Tory continues to focus on doing whatever he can to cheapen Toronto. Some effects are not immediately visible, but they are cumulative. The City’s ability to be great, to inspire citizens to hope for more, drifts further and further out of reach.
Both “leaders” share a common problem: their egos and their dislike of criticism or opposition. They are right and everyone else is wrong, part of a rabble opposition who can be dismissed, if need be by legislative fiat.
On the transit front, their respective agencies echo this stance. Metrolinx and the TTC are run by CEOs who want things their way, and who answer, if that is the word, to boards utterly unwilling to challenge their rule (or under marching orders to shut up and vote the right way).
Without question, three years of the pandemic have stretched every agency thin. The lights stay on, flickering, only by infusion of special subsidies that already wane and could disappear within one fiscal year. That environment gave management a chance to take more power from their boards who, especially at the TTC, had many other problems as Councillors. That power will not likely be clawed back and delegated authority will be the “new normal”.Continue reading