Harper to Toronto: You’re Fired

On one of those thick and hot August evenings where you sweat standing still the Conservative candidate for Toronto Centre came to our door. I was a little confused at first, as I’ve only recently moved to the riding and was unsure of who the long-shot party candidates were, and initially thought he was getting a jump on the Ontario election. However, it was Mark Warner, doing some early campaigning for the upcoming (date unspecified as of yet) federal by-election to replace outgoing Bill Graham.

Few moments are as satisfying as having a Conservative candidate on your doorstep, looking for your vote and willing to answer questions. My first was “Why would I vote for a party that hates Toronto?” I don’t recall Mr. Warner’s answer verbatim, but it was along the lines of “if there were more Conservative members in caucus from urban areas, urban issues would be voiced more.” Then I recall asking “Why does Stephen Harper hate cities?” Again Mr. Warner was affable, saying that as both an urban MP, and a visible minority, he is pretty much guaranteed a cabinet position and could get urban issues on the table.

At that point I was a bit of dick and said “What was it Stephen once said about putting up a firewall around Alberta?” “That was a long time ago,” said Mr. Warner, continuing to defend his boss and further explaining why I should vote for him. As he was leaving I told him “good luck winning around these parts.” He rightfully pointed out that Toronto Centre had gone Tory many times in the past and, looking me right in the eyes, said with my help it will do just that again.

Earlier this week Mr. Warner was fired by Stephen Harper. As Royson James in the Star put it yesterday, the conservatives have written off Toronto:

Mark Warner has been campaigning since February and was to go up against well-known NDP-turned Liberal Bob Rae. Warner’s crime? He kept talking about urban issues — things that mattered to the people of Toronto Centre — like housing, poverty, health and social services.

That, apparently, runs counter to the party’s national strategy, which, tellingly, prefers to pretend those issues don’t exist. In fact, the federal Tories seem to figure that if they don’t acknowledge that cities need serious attention and financial assistance, urban problems will go away. At the least, no one can ask them to contribute to the alleviation of a problem they don’t acknowledge.

The Warner case exposes another willful blind spot of the Harper Conservatives — race and diversity.

Warner arrived in Canada from the land of the steel pan and carnival, Trinidad and Tobago, at a young age. He’s well-spoken, well-educated, and described by Rae as a “very fine, public-spirited person.” He obviously understands what makes cities tick. And — glory be — he’s black.

This man was sweating up a storm walking door to door that hot evening, affably defending the man who would later fire him. His was an impossible job, running for a party that treats this — and all — cities with contempt.

None of this is news to anyone, but when Harper starts turning on his friends, the people working their asses off for him in hostile territory — especially a likable guy like Mr. Warner who could appeal to people in the political centre — something seems terribly rotten. There is no place for a Red Tory like Mark Warner in today’s conservative party, and that is a shame. Some of Toronto’s greatest eras of city-building occurred under Red Tory governments (municipally, provincially and federally), indicating an openness to ideas and programs that work. Our current federal government is run only by ideology. Which is why we are extremely wary of politicians like Karen Stintz, who seem driven by ideology rather than good ideas. A David Crombie/Bill Davis/John Tory conservative she is not.

Now being wooed by Dion’s Liberals, it’s likely Mr. Warner will appear on my doorstep again in the future, and even more likely he won’t have to defend a boss that hates my way of life when he does.

30 comments

  1. If Mark Warner was such a good role model for the conservative message in Toronto then WHY did grass roots conservatives complain about him and want him disqualified as their candidate?

    Ask for the candidate to be removed; make your case to the party executive; ask the candidate to make the case against it and then allow a vote amongst the 18 elected party executive.

  2. WHY did grass roots conservatives complain about him and want him disqualified as their candidate?

    Because grass roots conservatives hate the urban agenda and despise Toronto. See also: andrewcoyne.com comment threads, freedominion.ca, pretty much any of our local right-wing bloggers, and the media in general outside the GTA and most of it within.

  3. Sounds like he should have been running provincially against the smug pitbull, George Smitherman, since John Tory would probably be far more appreciative.

  4. Conservatives HATE the “urban agenda”??? What is the “urban agenda”?

    And I note that Toronto, Vancouver and MOntreal are not the only cities in this country – just the only cities that harbour Liberal pockets of support.

    Seems to me the billions earmarked for URBAN transit and infrastructure, affordable housing projects, shelters and mental health programs, aboriginal off reserve supports, post secondary institution upgrades, cash transfers to the provinces for per capita equalization payments (where the cities have the most people) etc. etc. are all urban issues. Where do you think 70% of Canadian live? In a barn somewhere?

    The money follows the people at all levels of government. Sheesh. Conservative hate cities has to be one of the most boneheaded political comments I have ever seen. Right up there with Harper hates women or Harper does not love Canada.

    Trite and shallow and NOT in keeping with even the most reasoned political discourse BTW. Mark Warner for all his problems with the grass roots of his won party would not stoop to your level I don’t think. He just made some errors in ethical judgement and got caught…If he was in a farm community his ethics would have been equally questionable.

  5. An aside. The Harper government does not have a good record on cities. But calling Stephen Harper someone who “hates [an urban] way of life” seems to me bombastic, polarising, and unhelpful — and, applied to someone who has never lived anywhere but in Canada’s major cities, probably wrong.

  6. Trite and shallow and NOT in keeping with even the most reasoned political discourse BTW.

    LOL @ “reasoned political discourse” coming from a conservative.

  7. Methinks if you do not like how your city spends federal transfers for various projects and services maybe you should complain to your mayors?

    Just like if you don’t like how your province delivers programs funded by the feds – complain to your Premiers.

    Harper is trying to stop micro managing municipal and provincial jurisdictions.

    Let the feds focus on national issues – that is what has been so badly neglected.

  8. Speaking of trite and shallow. Seriously, can it get more simplistic than “if you do not like how your city spends federal transfers for various projects and services maybe you should complain to your mayors?”

  9. Marie–
    Thanks for the insight into the Warner situation, but as far as your comments defending the Conservative party, you really need to take off those rose coloured glasses for a minute or two and read something other than Conservative party press releases. Seriously. Yes, the federal government still transfers money to both provincial and municipal governments, but you have to look carefully at the quantities of money being transfered and the many strings attached (there are always agreements that dictate where/how/when cities–and other recipients of funding–spend this money), then you have to look at it in context: how this government responsibility has been managed and funded historically, and finally, you have to look at the effect this is having on the ground. That’s when the shiny things political parties say about what they’re doing suddenly start to tarnish. And this goes for all parties, not just the Conservatives.

    A couple of key criticisms of the Conservatives is that the party does not support the idea of Canada as a social welfare state (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_state), and is painstakingly working to dismantle it, and that the party not only ignores the concerns of the poor and the marginalized in this country, but the party’s policies effectively further marginalize and impoverish people.

    It’s easy to see this in action by looking at how Mike Harris’ government handled social issues. Harper is a smarter and more skilled politician, so you have to do more reading and research to be able to dig below the glossy surface and see the implementation of a similar agenda–but it’s definitely there.

    And I’m wondering how can you say, “let the feds focus on national issues” when identifying what constitutes a “national issue” is just as difficult and controversial as identifying what constitutes an “urban issue”! Issues are not inherently tied to a specific level of government. There are very few issues (if any) that do not touch all three levels of government.

  10. Marie – at 3:30 – can you please prove it? This is unfortunately what partisan Conservatives do all the time…report on “rumours run amok” and yet state them as gospell…and then report that Bob Rae Liberals were going to spill beans – apparently ready to go on the record…but you won’t go on the record now will you. It lead people to beleive that it’s just being made up out of thin air.

    If you can’t source it, you can’t be beleived. It’s just hogwash and not credible.

  11. Harper’s Reform block knows what worked for the Republicans will work for them: their hick populism doesn’t have to sell in the city, if it sells enough in ‘fly-over’ districts.

  12. Populists have always railed against cities. Nothing new there. But there is also a strong libertarian bias among the intellectuals of the Conservative party. These intellectuals are hostile to cities, not because they hate the urban lifestyle, but because they hate the social-democratic policy webs that form cities’ support structure. The libertarian perspective is that social services should be replaced with markets, and the one-dollar, one-vote ideology is the best way to ensure prosperity and maintain social control. As an extreme example of this, I have seen arguments that urban transit systems should be disbanded and replaced with competitive, privately run jitney van services for people who are too poor to afford cars. The belief is that traditional mass transit is a natural government monopoly and therefore bad; private cars and jitneys can compete with each other irrespective of any government and are therefore good. Toronto has been having a very public debate about the TTC lately; imagine if the TTC were completely replaced with atomized forms of private transportation and you can see where this idea leads. It’s not just about favouring markets; it’s also about diminishing and ultimately eliminating the public square.

    There are many problems associated with this ideology, but it does tend to help the rich get richer, so it’s not surprising that it’s popular in certain quarters.

  13. And I note that Toronto, Vancouver and MOntreal are not the only cities in this country – just the only cities that harbour Liberal pockets of support.

    Actually, Toronto harbours a vast Conservative pocket of support that was derailed by the urban-opposed agenda of the right wing at the provincial level. Remember how the NDP was outpolled by the Tories in the last election? Remember how Toronto is a sea of red and orange because of the first-past-the-post system? Remember how the referendum that would have done something about this was shot down with the enthusiastic support of Tories who would have suffered if every vote in the province, whether rural or urban, counted equally?

    Sheesh. Conservative hate cities has to be one of the most boneheaded political comments I have ever seen.

    Certainly we all remember the way that Bob Rae downloaded social services onto the city, including making Toronto shoulder the full operating cost of the TTC. None can forget how it was Paul Martin who, in the face of a multi-billion-dollar surplus, decided he would rather cut the GST (flying in the face of the judgment of every mainstream economist in the nation) than give one red cent to urban causes. It’s an interesting parallel history you propose, and I think my favorite part of it is that Buddy Holly didn’t die in a plane crash, but instead is today mayor of Lubbock.

    I mean, it’s nice that Harper isn’t discontinuing the few federal Liberal programs that support our nation’s cities — in fact, it’s nice that he’s been so good at stealing Liberal ideas and continuing Liberal programs and taking credit for them as Conservative triumphs, though certainly anyone who remembers that this new government once had “five priorities” will have to agree that when the time comes, these programs too will be taken behind the woodshed so they can commune with the hereafter.

    When you look at the bigger picture, Ottawa has steadily laid out its policy positions, and every single one of them is either “steal from Paul and Jean’s playbook” or “tell Toronto to go to hell”. Their cards look just like the ones that were played when Mike Harris’s Queen’s Park laid out its positions so long ago. And it’s a genuine surprise that John Tory, the guy who dared to go against that anti-urban agenda, has not faced a night of the long knives.

    As for any ideas about my “level”, Marie, I chose the particular examples I did for a reason. If you can look me in the eye and say that I’m worse than every single commenter over at Andrew Coyne’s digs, or that I’m worse than even half of Free Dominon’s posters, well… if you do that, really, I’ll know you’re the sort of liar who thinks that “the right wing in this country has it in for Toronto” is exactly the same as “Olivia Chow is Jack Layton’s comfort woman”. The right’s level of discourse in this country is victimological, politically-correct bullying, and it’s tiresome to have to deal with it, and I envy the people who have the energy.

  14. And I’m wondering how can you say, “let the feds focus on national issues” when identifying what constitutes a “national issue” is just as difficult and controversial as identifying what constitutes an “urban issue”! Issues are not inherently tied to a specific level of government.

    Weeell…

  15. The belief is that traditional mass transit is a natural government monopoly and therefore bad; private cars and jitneys can compete with each other irrespective of any government and are therefore good.

    No. The belief is that transit is not a natural monopoly and that constituting transit as such is therefore bad. If one believed that transit were a natural monopoly, one would not advocate competition for it.

    Jitneys themselves are an excellent intermediate step between private taxis and public transit — they allow smaller sets of people to aggregate demand, use less vehicles, and spend less resources (gas, money) to get where they’re going.

    It would be nice if Toronto had them, too.

  16. Then again, it would be nice if, like governments in every other country in the developed world (yes, even in the US), our federal government would make even a basic effort to improve urban transport infrastructure, the state of which in Canada is for the most part shameful.

  17. And, you know, since I have gotten on my high horse about people who rant and rant and rant and offer no solutions, I will now flatter myself to pretend that at least one person has asked “Okay, Anticorium, what would a urban-friendly Harper government do?”

    First off, it’d have a national transit strategy, just like every other western democracy, including the one run by George W. Bush. At every opportunity, Ottawa would be poking its nose into transit discussions at the provincial and municipal levels, listening for what the lower levels of government want to build, giving advice on how these things best fit into the national strategy, and making agreements left, right, and center. The urban-friendly Harper government would be doing photo ops in front of the future site of Edmonton’s first subway station, next to the first of a hundred new buses for Winnipeg Transit, at the groundbreaking for Toronto’s Transit City. The Harper government would make it clear that Ottawa’s job is to sign a lot more cheques than the do-nothing Liberals ever did, but do it wisely, consulting at every level of the process.

    Second, it’d listen to the mayors who signed off on the One Cent Now campaign. Municipalities across the country are strapped for cash. That’s why Sudbury, Penticton, and Halifax are on David Miller’s bandwagon. (You’ll notice that none of these cities are called Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver.) The federal government has the most efficient tax-gathering mechanism in the country and the cities have the most pressing need. Let Ottawa do what it’s good at so that the cities have the funds to do what they’re good at. Oh, and hand over that money with no strings attached. If David Miller decides to spend the One Cent Now cash on beer and popcorn (just to make up a phrase out of nowhere), that’s not his problem, that’s Karen Stintz’s opportunity.

    Third, in a glorious fireball of righteousness, it’d start the process going to redistrict the nation and add another 20 or 30 MPs to Parliament designated for the ten largest cities in the country. Urban votes are undercounted right now, and it shows. Yes, Toronto would get more MPs, but right now any random GTA riding matters less than the entire province of Prince Edward Island. Reopening the constitution to fix that would be a fool’s errand even if it was a good idea (I’m unconvinced either way), but redistricting shouldn’t be too much of an issue. If you think that Harper would need a partisan hook for the issue, well, those four PEI ridings are pretty solidly Liberal. Wouldn’t it be great to cancel them out with another four MPs in Calgary, and maybe break the Liberal hold on the GTA? (Rosedale and St. James-Cabbagetown as two ridings would produce different results from Toronto Centre as one.)

    There’s a few other things jockeying for fourth place, some of which are truly convoluted, like my cockamamie fever dream that the best thing Ottawa could do for the domestic television industry is ending simultaneous substitution, and some of which seem sort of obvious, like rebuilding our passenger rail system (though really that one’s more of a rural thing, because us MTV rats can just go to these new-fangled “airport” structures). But you know, this is long enough already.

  18. You know, this thread has got me thinking more about the federal and provincial roles in all this, respectively.

    Anticorium, your vision places all responsibility on the federal government, and no responsibility on the provincial government. Yet it is quite clear that municipalities are exclusively under provincial jurisdiction.

    It would be interesting to see the federal government, champion, for instance, a high-speed interprovincial train system in Ontario and Quebec. But as for Edmonton subways and Winnipeg buses and Toronto transit, why is that not exactly the role of the Alberta and Manitoba and Ontario governments? The federal government can’t exactly hand over money to municipalities — it has to give them to provinces and “encourage” them to use it for municipalities (hello, constitutional catfight), or else develop subterfuges to lever itself in (hello, federal waterfronts and parks). So why not go to the source?

    In other words, now that the federal government has lowered the GST by a penny and Toronto wants a penny of sales tax, why is the provincial government off the hook for not giving it to Toronto?

  19. Disparishun, there is no section of the constitution that prevents agreements between federal and municipal orders of government. In fact, under the Harper government Toronto signed an agreement with the feds on immigration.

    Although I also see a significant role for provincial governments to play in this regard, the Harper government’s refusal to do its part to support Canada’s cities is entirely about political will.

  20. Disparishun, there is no section of the constitution that prevents agreements between federal and municipal orders of government.

    Adam, I would suggest you revisit the constitution and do a find on the string “municipal”. You will learn that section 92 of the 1867 constitution, which is entitled “Exclusive Powers of Provincial Legislatures” and of which subsection 8 reads “Municipal Institutions in the Province”, prevents the federal and municipal orders of government from easily entering into agreements — particularly to the exclusion of the provinces of which municipalities are merely a branch.

    In fact, under the Harper government Toronto signed an agreement with the feds on immigration.

    Well, yes. Immigration is a federal matter. But what are you talking about? Is this the Canada-Ontario-Toronto Memorandum of Understanding on Immigration and Settlement? If so, it is an excellent example of subterfuges to lever itself in.

    That MoU was adopted under the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement. In that bilateral agreement, the federal government secured the provincial government’s agreement to carve out a role for municipalities. That grant of authority, by the provincial government, within the boundaries set out in the bilateral federal-provincial agreement, is the authority under which the federal government was able to act in concert with municipal bodies.

    Or were you talking about a different agreement? It is hard to tell.

    Although I also see a significant role for provincial governments to play in this regard, the Harper government’s refusal to do its part to support Canada’s cities is entirely about political will.

    Erm, yes, politics is about political will. However, the significant actors in municipal affairs are provinces. The federal government could do much to help municipalities. As, for that matter, could the other parties to NAFTA, the United Nations, and a great many individuals.

    Maybe it is because I am new to Toronto from Quebec, where federal attempts to intervene in provincial matters are controversial things indeed.

    But the province of Ontario, which — unlike the federal government — is Toronto’s master and the only actor with constitutional authority over Toronto and the other municipalities created under provincial law, has a newly-elected government which promised to do more on municipal issues. Municipalities want one cent of sales tax. Federal sales tax just went down a penny. The province has the power to raise its sales tax and do whatever it wants — within its constitutional sphere of jurisdiction — with the proceeds. You do the math.

    And in the meantime, folks like Anticorium put all of the responsibility on the federal level of government, and give the provinces — the only levels of government directly responsible for municipalities — a free pass?

    It makes very little sense to me.

  21. Section 92 of the 1867 constitution.

    That is exactly what is wrong with this country. We are being ruled by a 19th century constitution in a modern global urban world. Toronto is pretty much fucked… lol

    Reasons not to vote Harper:

    1) The GST cut. Did anybody notice a difference with that 2% cut? If I buy something that costs me 20 bucks (which is, as a common Joe, how much I usually spend in a day) I will be saving 40 cents. Wow, that was worth it! But the dude in Forest Hill buying the Audi R8 is bound to save at least $3000. I wonder who really gained from such a tax cut…

    2) Pampering Quebec. It always comes down to Quebec. Harper is so convinced that he needs their votes to get a majority that he is throwing even more goodies at them. I guess the more you have the more you want. Money buys everything, even a progressive society like Quebec will vote for a neo-con if they can get more than they are entitled.

    3) The war in Iraq. Harper wanted Canada to support the illegal invasion of Iraq by the Bush. Enough said…

    4) Political arrogance. You have Flaherty coming to Toronto to announce a 14 billion dollar surplus paid mostly by Alberta and the GTA. Speaking about shoving it…

    5) This guys is unable to think long term. This can be seen by their lack of intelligence to implement policies that would boost our productivity, research and development and the creation of added value goods while the Canadian dollar is high. Instead he decides to buy votes by giving away usless tax cuts. Of course implementing such policies would benefit mostly urban centers…

    6) Their hate for cities, especially Toronto. I don’t have to go into details here, if you live in Toronto you know exactly what I am talking about..

    7) Their Mickey Mouse environmental policies. To me this is a proof of Conservative selfishness. To them we have the right to plunder our planet to produce crap we really don’t need. They can’t follow the rule that we didn’t inherit the earth from our parents, we are lending it from our kids.

    I could list more (such as their anti gun control ideology, their social conservatism, their desire to make Canada more like the US, their hate for our public health care, the belief that the more money you have the more rights you should get, etc). But I am running out of time and the previous 7 are a good indication of why a PM like Harper does not belong in our progressive society.

  22. Sorry, I meant we are borrowing the earth from our kids. lol

  23. Section 92 of the 1867 constitution.

    That is exactly what is wrong with this country. We are being ruled by a 19th century constitution in a modern global urban world. Toronto is pretty much fucked… lol

    Well, to be fair, we are also being ruled by folks who would rather rail against the federal political parties they hate, than lobby the provincial governments that really matter to do something about it.

    Why in the heck is this all about Harper? I mean, exactly how narrow-focussed does one have to be? Were you even aware that we just elected a government? Did you know that it is the one which decides how much money to give Toronto?

    The GST cut. Did anybody notice a difference with that 2% cut?

    Then why does the provincial government not reinstate it and give the money to municipalities, Carlos?

    It always comes down to Quebec. Harper is so convinced that he needs their votes to get a majority that he is throwing even more goodies at them. I guess the more you have the more you want. Money buys everything, even a progressive society like Quebec will vote for a neo-con if they can get more than they are entitled.

    Take a deep breath, Carlos.

    What does Quebec have to do with, for instance, the inability of municipalities to secure a penny of sales tax? McGuinty is, like, five minutes away.

  24. Anticorium, your vision places all responsibility on the federal government, and no responsibility on the provincial government.

    1. Federal money will be spent on transit no matter what, as has been the case in every transit development in the country in recent history and jkust about every transit development in the developed world in recent history. Since that’s the case, Ottawa should be an active partner, up front. Carbon dioxide isn’t different in New Brunswick and Ontario; a traffic jam in British Columbia isn’t made up of radically different vehicles than a traffic jam in Manitoba. The current system treats Ottawa as a piggy bank, and as a result nothing happens without negotiations at the end. If we negotiate at the beginning, less horse-trading happens and more, better projects get funded.

    2. The federal taxing apparatus is the most efficient in the country. Let Ottawa do what it’s good at, picking pockets and cutting cheques. Let the cities do what they’re good at, providing municipal services. Why do the provinces get “let off the hook”? Because the phrase “cities need funding” doesn’t contain qualifiers like “Ontario” or “Nova Scotian”. If we have a government for the whole country, let it bloody well act like it’s a government for the whole country. The money that could solve problems in Rimouski and Kelowna and Fredericton can be moved there now, not when the governments of Quebec and British Columbia and New Brunswick decide to get around to it.

    If you want to be a staunch federalist about it, fine: let’s take Harper at his word in the most recent throne speech, and demand all of these things start happening because Ottawa will use their trade and commerce powers to get things done. Let them be as activist with those powers as the Washington has been about interstate commerce.

    Because frankly, if I’m sitting in a brand new, uncrowded Transit City streetcar that came on a regular schedule and offers speedy service on newly-reconstructed tracks all the way across Eglinton Avenue and yet Dalton McGuinty paid nowhere near enough a political price to satisfy Disparishun’s requirements for proper federal-provincial relations… well, you know what? I’ll cope.

  25. Dear Disparishun,

    You are absolutely right, the Provincial government is actually the one to blame the most for such terrible state of affairs the city of Toronto finds itself into. But it was the neo-con agenda that put us in this sad state of affairs in the first place, the Liberals under McGuinty are guilty of inaction and stupidity for not fixing Harris’ blunders.

    I personally do not care about the provinces in this country, if it were up to me they wouldn’t exist, or at least have much less power than they do now. I see my self first as a Canadian, then a Torontonian, the Ontario part is just something that doesn’t mean much to me, a simple after thought.

    You want to know what Quebec has to do with the sad affairs of this country and by default cities? I could list many, but I here is one: the reason the Feds are able to neglect their responsibility to 80% of Canadians who live in urban areas is by using Quebec as an excuse, we have the only central government in the West that shrugs its duties to municipalities. The Federal government constantly transferred money and responsibilities to the Provinces because of Quebec’s threat of separation (which wouldn’t be so bad for the country in the first place, but that is another story), instead of transferring more powers and responsibilities to municipalities which are our closest form of government. We still have a retarded 19th century constitution because of Quebec and the overwhelming powers provinces have over this country, a constitution that slows us down while the world zooms ahead (most European constitutions are 20 year or younger). So there, now you basically know what Quebec has to do with the reason municipalities in this country are in a straight jacket (I could also mention that they suck up too much of our resources, but I agree we should help the less fortunate and needy, so I will leave it at that).

    I also totally agree with you that the province should raise the PST by one or two percent, but the Liberals will not do it because they know the Conservatives will jump right into rhetoric and populist speeches (which people are dumb enough to swallow) on how the Liberals are squeezing the tax payers, how they are money grabbers, how they love to raise taxes after the health care premium, etc, etc, and so they will not raise that extra 1%. It would have been so easy for Flaherty to say “You know what? This 1% is for the provinces to use it or not for their municipalities while we harmonize the sales tax”. But that would have been seen by those who hate this city as a Miller victory, and the conservatives know they can’t be seen as being friendly to this city, people outside of Toronto would make them pay (especially in Quebec). There is a rule about politics in this country, the further away you go from Toronto the hate for it grows exponentially, and there is a lot to gain politically by hurting Toronto and nothing to gain by making it a better place to live. That is a consequence of the stupid 1867 Constitution.

    I stated why I think Harper and his buddies are bad for Toronto, I still have to figure out why you think the Conservatives are so good for this city…

  26. Anticorium: If you want to be a staunch federalist about it, fine: let’s take Harper at his word in the most recent throne speech, and demand all of these things start happening because Ottawa will use their trade and commerce powers to get things done.

    You make absolutely no sense. We need better transit. The province needs to provide it. That is its job, but it will do it only if we hold its feet to the fire. You prefer to obsess about evil Conservatives, apparently because you would rather grind an axe than deal with actually-existing governance.

    That’s your problem. But to the extent it becomes generalized, it’s all of our problem — because transit still sucks.

    Because frankly, if I’m sitting in a brand new, uncrowded Transit City streetcar that came on a regular schedule and offers speedy service on newly-reconstructed tracks all the way across Eglinton Avenue and yet Dalton McGuinty paid nowhere near enough a political price to satisfy Disparishun’s requirements for proper federal-provincial relations… well, you know what? I’ll cope.

    Wow. Talk about putting words in other people’s mouths.

    I couldn’t care less about proper federal-provincial relations, any more than I care much about the inner workings of a carburetor.

    But I don’t expect my car to fly. Nor do I expect the federal government to swoop down and cut through some very touchy politics in order to do the job that the government we just elected is supposed to be doing in the first place.

    Carlos: I personally do not care about the provinces in this country, if it were up to me they wouldn’t exist, or at least have much less power than they do now. I see my self first as a Canadian, then a Torontonian, the Ontario part is just something that doesn’t mean much to me, a simple after thought.

    Uh, that’s nice. Perhaps, one do, you will convince everyone else to buy into your ultra-centralist vision, and then you can totally waste the provincial legislatures and start a whole new Canada.

    In the meantime, it is probably not helpful for you to confuse your fantasy of a provinceless Canada for the actually-existing one. You want to know what Quebec has to do with the sad affairs of this country and by default cities? No. In fact, no part of your bizarre anti-Quebec rant interests me at all. Move on.

    I still have to figure out why you think the Conservatives are so good for this city…

    I guess it’s folks’ weird fixation on the Tories that leads them to put words in other people’s mouths. Still — when you do, don’t expect those people to leap enthusiastically to explain the words you’ve put there. How did you come to the conclusion that I “think the Conservatives are so good for this city”, Carlos? Honestly — I’m curious.

    The federal government, whose job is not to run the cities, are doing little that is very good for cities.

    Neither is the provincial government. The difference: that’s the province’s job.

  27. Disparishun,

    You were the one who asked what Quebec had to do with the problems of this city (and the rest of the country), I didn’t bring it up; you did. Everything is connected and intertwined, when Quebec gets its unfair share of the pie at the expense of the GTA and Alberta (due to their constant threat of separation), that has an effect on my city and on my community. Maybe you are dyslexic and unable to read properly otherwise you would realize that my list is “why I don’t like Harper and will not vote conservative”, not “why conservative love fucking up Toronto through Quebec” (I can make that list if you wish). The Quebec part I wrote actually had nothing to do with cities, you were the one who asked me what Quebec had to do with municipalities’ inability to raise money, and I just answered your question. Dude, don’t ask questions if you do not want them answered…

    Nowhere did I say I am for centralization, quite the opposite, I actually think that more powers should be given to local governments, instead of provinces, again you just showed you inability to read and interpret.. Maybe it turns out you are the expert in putting words in other people’s mouths.

    Ok, I admit that I just made the wrong assumption that you love the Conservatives and Harper is the best PM we ever had… Correct me if I am wrong (maybe I am dyslexic as well), but what I am getting from you is that unlike most civilized countries in the world, our central government has no place in contributing into making cities better places to live, work, play and innovate. That the Provinces have the sole responsibility to deal with their municipalities and the Feds have no responsibility in funding needs where 80% of Canadians live. If that is the case then what good is the Federal Government? To govern the remaining 20% in rural areas? To send soldiers to Afghanistan? To run surpluses with our own money and gloat about it? To me that is just strange… This is not an anti-Tory rant (although I dislike them), the Liberals did basically the same. I guess Harper’s promise for an open accountable different government didn’t materialize after all.

  28. I just heard the Godfrey has announced he’s not running in DVW… For Warner??
    Maybe – rather than busting his chops against Layton.

  29. Toronto is not Canada … it’s a multiculti mess … so obvious ..!!!

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