Here’s my latest op-ed, about how we can build financial support for transit expansion, by celebrating the shovels (and machines) that are already in the ground.
(Cross-posted from the Star, March 1)
(Also, here’s a great follow-up from TTC Chair Karen Stintz, March 5)
Toronto STAR: Building support for Toronto transit expansion
After years of political bickering and setbacks, there seems to be a renewed sense of optimism about public transit in Toronto. Major outreach campaigns have been launched across the region. Metrolinx recently hosted public roundtable discussions, Toronto City Hall has announced a transit consultation process and Civic Action is running a campaign asking commuters how they would spend an extra 32 minutes a day – if transit was more efficient. Each project has similar goals: to seek input on future transit planning and help build public support for new revenue sources required to implement the province’s regional transit plan, The Big Move.
The campaigns are clever and effective, but if we want to get people really excited about building transit perhaps there are lessons we can learn from an entirely different Big Move.
This is an op-ed I wrote for the Toronto Star. Read the original version here.
As a teenager, I would occasionally become enthralled by televised sports. I wasn’t particularly interested in wrestling matches or hockey playoffs, but my eyes would be glued to the screen for hours as I watched a true blood sport: elections.
I remember watching poll results late into the evening with my father and I recall being particularly fascinated by leadership conventions. It was amazing to me that political control was decided not in a backroom, but live on TV.
During one of those conventions I became so impressed with a particular candidate that I pinned his election sign to my bedroom wall, hanging between posters of Pink Floyd and Def Leppard.
I tend to lean to the left side of the political spectrum but this election sign did not belong to Broadbent, Clinton or Rae. My political hero was Garth Turner, a leadership candidate for the Tories in 1993 – my last year of high school.
This op-ed appeared in the Toronto Star on July 11th. I’ve included the amazing illustration by Lola Landekic, which was not included in the Star’s online version of the piece. I’ve also included a short update at the bottom.
One year ago, a slow summer afternoon was interrupted by a stream of unexpected phone calls. New signs had been installed in Scarborough’s Milliken Park stating “No kite flying allowed” and as the official spokesperson of the Toronto Kite Fliers Association, journalists were calling me for a quote.
The kite ban was an exaggerated response to genuine safety concerns that had been raised about the growing sport of “kite fighting” and the abrasive strings used by competitors. Most kite flying is completely harmless and the ban unfairly punished the majority who were flying safely. My initial comments were not positive in tone. Continue reading