Musings —04.10.2019 01:49 PM—
We live in an era when governments have a greatly-diminished ability to do big things. That’s why Doug Ford’s multi-billion-dollar transit announcements today are so unusual – and even shocking. You just don’t see governments thinking big anymore.
So, what does it all mean for Toronto – and the guy I support, John Tory?
- Well, I think it’s the first time the government of Ontario agreed with – and committed to support! – Tory’s transit priorities. (Which, coincidentally, were endorsed just yesterday by the Mayor’s Executive Committee, and which help Tory secure nearly $5 billion in federal funding, right now, for transit expansion.)
- It’s a honking’ big win for the city – and it’s a direct result of the Mayor’s ongoing talks with the Premier. And I can tell you their relationship, too, is better than it has ever been.
- So, I can heretofore reveal that the Mayor met with the Premier a couple weeks ago. He was pretty clear with Doug that, on transit, the city can’t get, er, off track again. (Smart Track, off track, geddit?)
- John told Doug that he wanted the province to continue moving forward on big parts of the funding for the relief line, John’s SmartTrack, the Scarborough Subway, and the Bloor-Yonge Subway Station Expansion.
- So, to today. Today’s big announcement I think showed that John has Doug’s support for his priority projects. And, clearly, a commitment to working together. No John-bashing was to be heard at Doug’s big announcement.
- We’re not in the promised land in Toronto, yet, of course. There’s a bunch of questions that need to be asked. Such as: Doug’s proposed changes to plans currently in place for the Relief Line, the Scarborough Subway and the Eglinton West LRT, and how those changes will impact progress and timelines. Good change is good – but not if it means yet more delays, as John has told Doug. Delays = bad.
- Anyway. The only place the city will get answers is at the table, working together with Doug to build as much transit as possible, as quickly as possible. Which makes sense – because the only times Toronto has historically made any progress on building transit is when all three levels of government are working together. No Mayor, Premier or Prime Minister can do it all alone.
That’s where I think John Tory’s personality helps out. Doug doesn’t like Justin; Justin clearly doesn’t like Doug. There’s only one guy with the skills to bring them together to get the big announcements to happen.
And that’s John Tory.