We’re a bunch of querulous idiots. One of the reasons [Vancouver] Mayor Gregor Robertson and friends are having such a tough time ramping up bicycle infrastructure is because we’re terrified of progress. We have 12 km of protected bike lanes in Vancouver and every metre was a controversy. Vienna has 1,200 km. Chicago is building 140 km of protected lanes in a single mayoral term.
2 July 2012
Greenpeace spells out Climatefail at Parliament Hill, in protest of the government’s retrograde stance on climate change and emissions mitigation at Durban. Elizabeth May goes as far to say that Canada will play the role of saboteur. Although I’d call it “obstructivist,” I basically agree.
Check out the full-res shots here.
30 November 2011
Transport Canada has written off the need for truck sideguards again.
I’ve been talking about this simple, no-nonsense improvementfor years, but The Globe & Mail has again highlighted the need for truck sideguards in the wake of another cyclist death in Toronto this week.
Right-hand-turn deaths tend to be the most common for cyclists, and a simple, absorbable, one-time expense for the trucking industry would prevent needless fatalities across Canada (there were 65 cyclist fatalities in Canada in 2007, many of them in large, busy, truck-lined cities).
Transport Canada doesn’t need to study this. The City of Toronto found that sideguards would be effective in its 1998 Coroners’ Report, and the provincial coroner in Ontario will most likely recommend the same measure in the upcoming report on cyclist fatalities.
While we wait years and years (and years) for on-road cyclist safety measures, like barrier-separated lanes, the federal government has a one-off opportunity to make things better now.
The trucking industry has a powerful lobby and will fight any efforts to impose new safety costs on fleet owners. Please articulate your thoughts to your local MP and, most importantly:
Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews - email@example.com
Minister of Transport, Denis Lebel - firstname.lastname@example.org
10 November 2011
It costs about 47¢ a day, per citizen, to run the TTC. Despite public skepticism about value per dollar, [TTC Commissioner Karen] Stintz says the TTC’s annual $429m subsidy works out to a cost of approximately 47¢ per person to ferry Toronto’s 2.5 million residents around the city every day. Not bad, she said, considering the city’s subsidy for the TTC is less than half of what it is for the Toronto Police Service.
24 June 2011
In cancelling, modifying, or delaying projects—some already funded and ready to go— [Rob] Ford has begun to pick at this city, pulling the ends of what he deems to be small, useless threads. The thing about the city, though, is that what may seem like small, expendable threads turn out to be woven and connected to so many other things, that when you tug on them hard enough something you didn’t expect begins to unravel too.
8 June 2011
I think at certain times [road tolls are unmentionable] but presented in a different form, under different circumstances, I think an adult conversation could be had about them. And, later on there may be that possibility.
~ Ford-selected transit advisor Gordon Chong to the CBC, in reply to the recent back-and-forth about whether the City is considering using road tolls to help pay for the Sheppard subway. (NO KIDDING.)
2 June 2011
A recent bulletin from the Conservative war office warns: “We have seen what the NDP can do. In Ontario, we remember what happened when the NDP got hold of the reins of power: tens of thousands of jobs lost, an economy totally mismanaged, and skyrocketing taxes.”
I know. Bob Rae is a Liberal now. It was Ontario, not Canada. It was 1990. North America was experiencing its worst recession since the Great Depression and governments of all stripes, including Brian Mulroney’s federal Conservatives, were struggling with deficits and high interest rates.
Doesn’t matter. Rae’s short-lived experience as premier has long been a truncheon in the Conservative armour — a handy way of shifting focus from today’s reality to ancient history of questionable relevance. Even if an inexperienced Rae did make costly mistakes — and, at the same time, save jobs at Algoma Steel with a bailout not unlike Harper’s rescue package for the auto industry — what does that have to do with Layton, a different politician in a different era?
If the common link is party label, why choose Rae’s government? Why not compare a notional Layton-led coalition to Roy Romanow’s stable and successful regime in Saskatchewan, or Gary Doer’s equally popular NDP government in Manitoba? If New Democrats are genetically irresponsible, as Harper seems to imply, why did he send Doer to Washington as Canada’s ambassador? Why did “socialist” provinces consistently run surpluses and spend frugally?
~ from the astute Susan Riley of the Ottawa Citizen. This is a must-read article for those wondering about the potentials and perils of NDP leadership.
29 April 2011
The G&M endorsement cobbled together some of the more important reasons why the Harper government is regressing many of our democratic mechanisms and processes, and then proceeded to recommend the party?
I’m going to hazard a guess that any federal government, left, centre or right, would’ve handled the economic crisis in more or less the same way the Conservatives (and most other industrialized nations) did. So I really think the G&M is stretching it on Tory economic credibility, and conveniently ignores pre-recession patterns. Harper had the luxury of governing at the peak of a boom, and so the government’s “good times” economic mettle has not yet been tested. The G&M also ignores that no federal party, if elected, is likely to make markedly different changes to our economic policy (in my humble opinion).
The campaign of 2011 – so vicious and often vapid – should not be remembered fondly. But that will soon be behind us. If the result is a confident new Parliament, it could help propel Canada into a fresh period of innovation, government reform and global ambition. Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are best positioned to guide Canada there.
Like the fucking Titanic.
I can (sort of) understand the myriad reasons why the Globe would endorse the Conservatives and Stephen Harper to lead another government, but this is a collection of the weakest arguments for staying the course I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading. A hungover 18-year-old Intro to Poli Sci student could rip this set of logic to shreds.
28 April 2011