Ok, ok... I know it's been a year-ish since I last posted. I'll do a 'catch-up' very soon, I swear! But in the meantime, a new rant/ramble...
An excerpt from an article on the Toronto Star's website today regarding Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto, and his recent (as in, yesterday) attempt to approach the Provincial Government for transit project funding includes these paragraphs:
Now, Ford’s Sheppard tunnel is stuck between a rock and a hard place that he negotiated himself into. The mayor ripped up the previous Transit City plan that put the province on the hook for a Sheppard LRT. The new deal gave Ford sole responsibility for a Sheppard subway extension built mostly with private money, in exchange for Queen’s Park tunnelling the Eglinton LRT.
City hall is worried it will lose promised federal funding of $330 million unless it gets seed money from Queen’s Park, and matching funds down the road. Ford asked McGuinty for $2.5 million to develop a business plan — not a large enough sum to fight over, though it’s worth asking why the mayor can’t find the money himself.
The bigger ask is a so-called “advance” on $650 million that Ford is counting on from Queen’s Park as a top-up on the Sheppard line. But under the new transit deal Ford made with McGuinty last March, the Sheppard top-up only flows if there is any leftover money from the Eglinton line that Queen’s Park is bankrolling. And until Eglinton is built, it’s hard to know if there will be money to spare.
So why doesn’t Ford simply ask Ottawa for a workaround under its Building Canada Fund? After all, the 2014 deadline that Ford claims must be met applies to an outdated deal for a Sheppard LRT that is itself dead.
Ford keeps trumpeting his alliances with the federal Tories. Why so reluctant to pressure them, publicly, into helping him out of a bind — rather than demanding that Queen’s Park twist itself into a pretzel to accommodate his own political contortions?
Now, those who know me well know that I'm no particular fan of our dear mayor. But even if I was, I would likely posit this response to the question posed in that last paragraph...
Mr. Ford may be UNABLE to tap his Conservative contacts (like his "fishing buddy" Mr. S. Harper) on this matter because he has received a LOT of bad press recently and the Federal Conservatives would like nothing better than to see Toronto flip from Red to Blue in the upcoming Provincial elections as well. Mr. Ford will not help that cause, methinks, and so there is a certain amount of 'distancing' going on.
Mr. Ford got himself elected, it seems, on a platform that started to crumble shortly after the election and has recently picked up speed in its collapse. He swore services would not be cut, but is proposing precisely that course of action. He championed privatized garbage collection theoretically to save money, ignoring that the one component area of Toronto that previous had privatized garbage collection actually paid far more for that collection due to charges for extra services not included in the base contract. Also ignoring that privatizing garbage collection will only avoid future garbage strikes if the company involved is not unionized (and I'm not sure anyone checked that info during the bidding process). And ignoring in public statements that the city of Toronto actually continues for 5 or 10 km East of Markham Rd. ;) He and his brother have put their proverbial feet in the proverbial - it numerous times over recent months. Tim Horton's and Margaret Atwood are, no doubt, both running jokes and ire-inducing terms in City Hall, depending on whose camp you fall into ;) Then there's the "misunderstanding" of flipping off a woman and her young daughter when they took him to task for using his cell-phone (hand held) while driving... which is technically illegal, unless it was specifically related to his role as a 'Peace Officer', and even if not illegal, poorly advised while driving in downtown Toronto, home of some of the more unpredictable traffic situations in North America (psycho cyclists, cabbies with a questionable understanding of the Highway Traffic Act, drivers who paid far too much for their vehicles and consequently believe they own the road beneath and around it as well...).
Poor Mr. Ford has become a bit of a liability for the conservative parties in the past few weeks. They can't afford to come riding to his rescue if they hope to win more seats in Toronto and the GTA at the beginning of October... and it would not surprise me in the least to hear that they've given the good ol' "don't call us, we'll call you" ;)