Saturday, July 21, 2007

ON TORONTO

Is it just me, but has the city of Toronto completely gone to hell ever since I left?!

Think about it. You had Sassafraz burn to the ground. You had Sam the Record Man close down. The Leafs are in the tank. Now, word is leaking out that Mayor David Miller and the gang at City Hall are going mad looking for ways to sock it to the people of Toronto. The ones still living there, that is.

As you may have heard in the national press, Toronto is in deep financial trouble from all the wild spending that city had done the last several years. On Monday, Mayor Miller had gone to City Hall looking to bring in some big tax increases. He wanted a 2% land-transfer tax and a $60 vehicle registration fee. A real sock-it-to-'em type of proposal!! But city council voted 23-22 to shelve that whole plan, at least until after the provincial election. Good, that'll give Toronto residents plenty of time to sell their houses and leave for Peel Region, York Region and Durham before any new taxes come in. Some of these councillors still have hopes of wringing more money out of the province during this provincial election campaign coming up. Others on council are against tax hikes, period, and were voting against the plan no matter what. I notice this article in the National Post mentions how Denzil Minnan-Wong, Toronto city councillor, had put together a campaign to put a kibosh to these hikes.

Then Miller decided that if he couldn't hike taxes, maybe he could sock it to the people taking the TTC. The talk this week has been about closing the brand-new Sheppard subway line and socking it to the commuters. I think this shut-down plan is total madness. That subway line is really efficient and a big help to commuters living all along Sheppard Avenue. Besides, everyone in Toronto is complaining about the gridlock and about the need to expand the transit service, not cut it back. Among other things, what Miller is now proposing flies in the face of the line of spin he's been spouting about how important it is to improve the transit system. Taking the TTC is supposed to be good for the environment and cuts down on car usage, and cuts down on smog, etcetera, etcetera!

Anyway, yesterday the TTC decided to defer a decision on THAT, too. You get the impression that maybe they are hoping for a big announcement from Dalton McGuinty about new spending on Toronto?! But Ontario is supposed to be cash-strapped, too. And if McGuinty announces new spending measures on Toronto, John Tory and the gang on the opposition benches will just be able to say that McGuinty will go ahead and pay for a bailout of Toronto by socking it to the province with new taxes of their own. In fact, knowing the Liberal record on promises, people will suspect that the Liberals will promise to not raise taxes one moment, and then sock it to people the next. You can bet that people outside Toronto will not be pleased at all about the prospect of their tax dollars going to a Toronto bailout.

I don't think McGuinty is planning a bailout, though. Finance minister Greg Sorbara says these proposed TTC cuts are poorly thought out and a political ploy. He's right!!

I truly think Mayor David Miller has lost his marbles. Cutting the Sheppard subway line is crazy!!! I get the impression Miller is starting to alienate many members of city council. Read this Star article with councillor Karen Stintz complaining about the mayor's leadership style.

Talk about a city in crisis, ladies and gentlemen. This mayor has taken leave of his political senses with what he is doing. What he's proposing, what's he's been up to, is nuts.

No comments: