Toronto City Council – Transit

Posted on May 10, 2013



Toronto Council let you down this week. The Province of Ontario is considering a substantial transit expansion program. The Province invited us to tell them what kind of taxes we felt would be appropriate. This was an important opportunity, but we missed it.

While Council voted to support expanding transit we did not support any specific way to pay for that transit. Council also voted to ask the province to add new transit projects to the planned expansion (again without supporting any way to pay for them).

Worse still, Council voted to give the Province contradictory advice on how to replace the aging Scarborough Rapid Transit (SRT). Council told the province that it should be replaced with a Subway and we also asked the province to stick to our previous agreement to replace the SRT with light rail transit. Obviously, we don’t want a light rail system and a subway at the same time. We do have rules in our procedures by-law to prevent us taking contradictory positions. In fact, Council was warned by the City Manager about this. However, the Speaker permitted it anyway.

There were other mistakes, miscues and miscalculations. It was the worst Council meeting in my six years on Council.

There were some of us who fought for a sane, consistent, pro-transit policy. I was very proud of about a dozen of my colleagues who fought the majority, spoke with reason and passion about transit and the need to pay for it. I was proud to vote with them. I also fought for progressive taxation – that is taxes whereby wealthier people pay more than people who are struggling to make ends meet.

I’m sad to say that both the Mayor and the Chair of the TTC voted against naming specific taxes, and supported sending contradictory advice about what to do in Scarborough. You and the City deserve better leadership than that.

I’ve said often on this blog that we need a more robust conversation about the kind of City we want and how to govern it. I have to tell you that this month that conversation did not take place at City Hall. I urge you again to spend some time talking to neighbours, friends, family and co-workers about our City. And, I’ll make this offer again, if you want to talk with me about the City please be in touch.




Coucillor Gord Perks

Ward 14

May 2013