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Jordan Glass

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What David Price’s GO station blow-up says about the integrity of the Mayor’s office

If not this, then what?

In the wake of a temper tantrum at a GO Transit station by David Price, Mayor Rob Ford’s director of logistics and operations, the Mayor has done everything in his power to pretend such issues are not occurring on his watch.  However, he may have slipped up when responding to an inquiry from a publication with which he rarely finds himself at odds. I speak; of course, of the Toronto Sun. Veteran Sun City Hall beat journalist Don Peat questioned the Mayor regarding the internal investigation by GO Transit and Metrolinx into Price’s actions. That prompted something of a peculiar response. The Mayor stated, “It’s actually no one’s business what happens in my office. I take care of the people that work for me and they do a great job, as you see.”

That hardly sounds like the candidate I recall demanding “respect for taxpayers” a mere three years ago.

Amid rising property taxes and an ever expanding budget, the Mayor signed David Price, his former high school football coach to handle much of his political outreach to the tune of approximately $125,000 per year at the taxpayers’ expense. As a matter of comparison Norm Kelly, Deputy Mayor of Toronto and elected Councillor from Ward 40, will be paid approximately $102,000 for his service to the City. If this is not the business of Torontonians – those who pay Mayor Ford’s and Mr. Price’s salaries – than I am not sure what else could. To suggest otherwise would be; dare I say, a demonstration of disrespect for the taxpayer.

More to the point; it is comments such as these from the Mayor that harkens back to the scandal-plagued days of the previous federal Liberal government. Mayor Ford and his staff have clearly developed an overwhelming sense of entitlement. It appears as though they truly believe that the rules do not apply to them. It appears as though they have forgotten that they work for the citizens of Toronto and not the other way around.

What will this mean come October 2014?

While I still believe that the Mayor would beat a polarizing candidate on the left in a one-on-one race, it is this sense of entitlement that could challenge the Mayor on the right and encourage conservative councillors such as Karen Stintz and Denzil Minnan Wong to challenge the Mayor. Given the Mayor’s propensity to spending money the City no longer has, perhaps it is challenges such as these he should be worrying most about.

 

Follow Jordan on Twitter at @JordanAGlass.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

 

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Toronto’s troubled transit: The future lies with Council and the time to act is now

Last year, Toronto City Councillors led by Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Chair Karen Stintz reaffirmed a transit plan that allowed the Government of Ontario and Metrolinx to move forward. But lack of action on it has led to mass frustrations amongst Torontonians stuck in traffic on the way to work, packed in subways and buses, or feeling cheated because the transit system does not extend into their neighbourhood or communities. Unfortunately, despite the claims of a number of Councillors and Mayor Rob Ford, change is not happening.

Metrolinx and the TTC have both come out identifying the downtown relief line (DRL) as the next transit priority. It will be a huge relief for TTC commuters from North York and Scarborough, taking pressure off of the Yonge and Bloor-Danforth lines.

Toronto is a great City, envied by many. But success in recent decades has created challenges. Phrases like “world-class” have little meaning when you are stuck in traffic or have no reasonable transit options to mitigate that traffic. Congestion has been identified by the Toronto Board of Trade (TBOT) and renowned think-tanks as Toronto’s single biggest competitive disadvantage, costing the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Region (GTHA) $6 billion annually. Manufacturers have delays in shipping and moving inventory. Companies with valued and valuable staff waste unproductive time in traffic. If the City does nothing it will be the reason employers and their employees will leave or stay away from our City.

Solving transit gridlock is more than just dealing with individuals’ frustrations. It is making sure this and future generations will available job opportunities, careers and establish roots in Toronto. Millennials coming up in this City are making dramatically different choices about how they want to live and work. The City needs to be able to react to this and we need to be able to build a City for the future.

The City’s elected officials must be honest with themselves. Toronto is now paying the price for having done nothing over the past 20 years. That price of “doing nothing” will only increase. How much more is Eglinton going to cost today than if we had not stopped building it almost 20 years ago?

What will the cost of inaction be for all of us?

Whether and individual drives a car, takes the train, rides a bike or walks, a good public transit network is a necessity for a City the size of Toronto. Transit, like health care and education, is a public good. Everyone benefits from a transit system that works.

A sensible government must realize that unlocking our City’s transit mess will not come cheap. There are no magic solutions; there is no transit fairy or money tree.

City Council recently voted to reject revenue tools. It is time to put this in perspective.

First of all, that phrase fools no one. This is a conversation about taxes and tolls.

I have long considered myself a fiscal conservative. I generally support keeping budgets slim, regulations limited, and taxes low. I disagreed with the previous Mayor’s wasteful spending. I believe Mayor Ford’s agenda of cutting costs and engaging the private sector in outsourcing initiatives to be in the best interest of the City of Toronto. However, when it comes to spending money on unjustified and unfunded transit projects, a self-identified fiscal conservative has to say, “No.”

So when it comes to calling for new taxes, not a single advocate is doing it lightly. I believe in frugality when it comes to government spending, however I know that transit and subways are not built for free. A revolution of common sense at City Hall would allow the current administration’s power brokers to realize that they must find a way to pay for the transit infrastructure we need.

As Chair Stintz proclaimed on Twitter following Council’s decision to reject dedicated revenue, ‘Saying something and doing nothing is still “doing nothing”.’

The City still has a chance to be innovators. Now is City Councillors’ chance to be city builders and help restore pride in a city that works. The only question is; will they have the political will, or won’t they?

 

Follow Jordan on Twitter: @JordanAGlass

City Council debates new revenue tools

It should have been a simple discussion. Toronto City Councillors were asked to debate the validity of looking at implementing new revenue tools as a means to generate dedicated funding toward the expansion of Toronto’s transit system. However, councillors took the long road there. A three-day debate that required multiple votes is what ensued.

Let us be clear. Councillors were not debating whether or not to implement new taxes, or specific taxes, or what exactly would be built using this newly generated revenue. This debate was to settle a matter as to whether or not examining the use of transit tools would be advisable going forward. In the interest of democracy and public discourse this should have been a short debate. But the lack of leadership from Mayor Rob Ford (who did not attend the entire duration of the debate) and his inner circle took the debate in a direction that could only be described as school yard antics. However, it should be acknowledged that the lowest point of the marathon debate came from outside the Mayor’s circle when Adam Vaughan, Councillor for Ward 20 (Trinity-Spadina), put forward a childish motion proposing a new tax on vinyl labels to personally attack the Ford’s private business Deco Labels and Tags.

Childishness aside, this debate comes down one fact: Torontonians want subways. A longstanding refrain from the Mayor, his promises of new subways during the previous municipal general election has yet to be realized. Councillors from across the political spectrum must come around to the understanding that transit expansion requires funding.

Central to the debate was the rhetoric of ‘revenue tools’. The Mayor’s inner circle felt this was a misleading statement. To be fair, they are correct. These are taxes. That word has a tendency to scare some. But this is a discussion of either-or. Either the City accepts new methods of taxation or it sits on the status quo: the best transportation system 1980 can buy.

There are a number of options to fund the expansion of the subway system of which the City is in desperate need. However, I want to delve into the option that I believe is most appropriate. That would be the proposal of Sarah Thomson, publisher of Women’s Post and Chair of the Toronto Transit Authority, that Toronto implement a 1% regional sales tax. For what it is worth, Councillor Vaughan put forward his own motion that outlined the implementation of a similar province-wide sales tax of 1%.

Small regional sales taxes are widely used to fund regional transportation plans. For example, Seattle, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles County and Denver have dedicated regional sales taxes. Many of these taxes were brought in by ballot referenda that clearly communicated the funds would be dedicated to build transit, including majority public support for these measures. Recent polling demonstrates there is public support in the GTA. A referendum in conjunction with the 2014 general election could settle this matter once and for all.

Transit-dedicated sales taxes in many United States cities of note had significant negative impact on local retail. Given that the 2008 GST reduction dropped total sales tax levels in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Region, there is certainly room for an increase of as little as 1%. Such a low rate minimizes the impact on retailers and consumers.

When voting on the matter was decided, Councillor Vaughan’s motion was amended to include the following:

  • “That City Council support the extension of the Bloor Danforth Subway Line from Kennedy Station to the Scarborough Town Centre and north to Sheppard Avenue.” (Proposed by Councillor Glenn De Baermaeker, Ward 36 – Scarborough Centre.)
  • “That City Council request that the North York Relief Line (unfinished subway construction between Sheppard Avenue and Allen Road, and Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue) be recognized as substantive project priority for Phase 2 Metrolinx funding. (Proposed by Councillor James Pasternak, Ward 10 – York Centre.)

It should be noted, however, that City Council quickly chose to not support the 1% sales tax on the very next vote on a motion by Josh Colle, Councillor for Ward 15 (Eglinton-Lawrence). That motion carried to reject seven different revenue tools, including a sales tax.

At the end of the day, this council dropped the proverbial ball. Torontonians have been waiting far too long for the transit system we so desperately need and deserve. For the time being it appears we will continue to wait.

Toronto Transit Alliance host symposium on the Big Move

Think big. That was the message being put forward by the Toronto Transit Alliance (TTA), their panel of guests and a room full of self-professed transit geeks. On the panel were Bruce McQuaig, President and Chief Executive Officer of Metrolinx, Richard Joy of the Toronto Board of Trade, Mitsy Hunter of Civic Action and Cherise Borda of the Pembina Institute. The Big Move is a transportation plan for the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area (GTHA) being put forward by the provincial government agency Metrolinx. At 25 years and $50 billion, the Big Move is the first plan of its kind. The potential is here to have a drastically positive impact on the GTHA. Everything from community connection to employment could be impacted. There is only one problem: How are we going to pay for it?

Sarah Thomson, Chair of the TTA and Publisher of Women’s Post, has been adamant about pushing for a 1% regional sales tax. Such a method would get those living and working in the region to share in the cost while raising more than $800 million per year toward municipal revenue. Is this the answer? Possibly.

There are a number of other tools that cannot be discounted. A recent report from Metrolinx advised the region look at a number of option revenue options; chief among them connecting expansion to property tax and tolling roads.

Whatever revenue tool the region chooses to utilize, this is an issue that needs to be resolved. As things stand currently, the region is losing $6 billion annually to gridlock. That number is only expecting to balloon to $15 billion by 2031. But Richard Joy made it clear that we have an opportunity if an early provincial election is called. He is calling on Ontarians to make this the ‘transportation election.’ Put transportation on the map during the coming election cycle. Transportation consistently ranks among health and education as the most important issues to Ontarians. It is time we responded to it as such by calling on the government to create a dedicated stream of funding specific to transportation.

One thing is certain: if governments and citizens do not address this now, the issue will get away from them. Transportation has already become a generational issue. If we act now we can make sure the next generation is not saying the same thing to us. So, as Thomson said to close the symposium, “Tell everyone you know about the need for revenue tools.”

 

For more information on the TTA’s proposals to ‘unlock gridlock,’ take a look at their website and follow them on Twitter at @TransitAlly and #UnlockGridlock.

Ontario Government demonstrates belief in science, research and innovation

The Government of Ontario has stepped in to help preserve the freshwater research station controversially closed by the federal government.

The scientific and research communities have proven to be a vital part of the Ontario economy, industry, academic excellence and international reputation. It is under this premise at the University of Toronto, alongside several of her ministers, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced her government will be stepping in to support the Experimental Lakes Area in northwest Ontario.

Going forward, the Governments of Ontario, Manitoba and Canada and the International Institute for Sustainable Development will work collaboratively to keep the area operational. For the time being, it is unknown what each party’s portion of the $2 million required to keep the facility open will be.

While it would have been preferable to see the federal government maintain funding, the Premier’s decision to pick up the ball is welcome news. The research done in the northwestern Ontario lakes gives Canadians a better understanding of pollution, climate change and other environmental changes that impact us all.

This announcement comes on the heels of announcements by Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation, which include $100 million in funding for the Ontario Brain Institute, $50 million towards the creation of a new Ontario Venture Capital Fund and $36 million for the Ontario Research Fund for research infrastructure. Support like this from the government will ensure discoveries being made in Ontario today will lead to the products and services that create the jobs of tomorrow.

This news was welcomed by Sarah Campbell, the NDP MPP from Kenora who represents the area, Mike Schreiner, leader of the Ontario Green Party, and Keith Ashfield, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Ontario’s Budget Set to Arrive May 2nd

Charles Sousa, Ontario’s Finance Minister, has announced his first budget will be delivered on Thursday, May 2 at 4:00 pm.

It is expected this budget will include new funding to expand public transit in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area (GTHA).

Minister Sousa has promised the coming budget will show what new taxes, tolls or levies the province will use to pay for public transit expansion.

In a speech to the Economic Club today (Monday, April 22), Sousa revealed that the Liberal Party has cut $5 billion off the deficit in the last year; revising the provincial deficit to $9.8 billion, down from the projected $14.8 billion.

Minister Sousa also went on to give Ontario a bit of insight into what Thursday will bring. He promised the government will hold program spending to just 1% growth, maintain current level of corporate taxes, and possibly introduce income walls to the clean energy benefit.

However, it was transit that will be front and centre when the budget is tabled later this week.

Sousa reiterated Premier Kathleen Wynne’s promise that any taxes or tolls to fund transit in the GTHA would only apply to the applicable region.

“This budget is going to be just. This budget is going to be fair. This budget is going to be right,” Sousa said.

It is with that in mind that Sousa has pledged to incorporate the ideas of the other parties. Given the minority standing of the provincial legislature, Wynne and Sousa will have to secure the support of at least two additional votes to ensure passage of the budget.

The Progressive Conservative (PC) Party has already stated they will vote against the budget regardless of what it contains. This leaves the government dependent on the votes of the New Democratic Party (NDP). The NDP has given the government a list of five demands, with a cut to auto insurance rates and additional funding for home care being first and foremost.

“This won’t be a budget that reflects only our government’s priorities,” Sousa announced.

Will this proverbial olive branch be enough to maintain this government in the wake of rumours the PC Party is hankering for an election?

Only time will tell.

Both the PC Party and the NDP have come out against the creation of new revenue tolls for transit. Sarah Thomson, CEO and Publisher of the Women’s Post and previous candidate for Mayor of Toronto, has been leading the Toronto Transit Alliance in its call for a 1% regional sales tax.

A Liberal Defence of Mark Warawa

Debate recently broke out in Ottawa over a motion pet forward by Mark Warawa, Member of Parliament for Langley (BC), that would have the Government of Canada take an official position on gender selection termination of pregnancy. This piece is not an attempt to endorse his motion. Frankly, I’m not sure how much this is an issue in a country like Canada, nor do I ever think it is advisable for a government to open doors to legislating on question of morality such as abortion. That said, Warawa has never made a secret of his perspective. He has long identified as ‘pro-life’. Where I will attempt to defend him is under the notion of free speech.

Warawa has been driven underground by a government that has embraced partisan interests over that of Canadians’ and that of democracy. First, his motion was denied at the subcommittee level, thus denying him the right to bring his motion before Parliament despite parliamentary experts testifying that there was no reason to prevent the action.

When Warawa attempted to protest in Parliament or petition the Speaker, he has been prevented and denounced as “rogue” by officials within his own party. The situation surrounding Warawa is not new. Parties of all stripes have long held the divisive opinions of back benchers down in the name of party unity. Earlier this year Bruce Hyer, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North (ON), was ejected by the New Democratic Party after choosing to vote in favour of ending the long-gun registry. However, in both the cases of Warawa and Hyer, their constituents were fully aware they held these positions. They were expected to take this message to Ottawa. The heavy-handed leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Leader of the Official Opposition Thomas Mulcair was not what the electorate voted for their individual ridings.

For the Liberal Party this has not been a great problem during the course of this sitting. That has more to do with the ability of Bob Rae than it does a lack of internal division. This previous weekend Bob Rae’s tenure as interim leader came to an end. Taking over is Justin Trudeau, who has signaled a similar position to that of the Harper and Mulcair. However, during the leadership contest, fellow candidate Martha Hall Findlay took a decidedly different approach. While she declared her opposition to Warawa’s motion, she said she would allow it to come before the house, because that is the job of an MP. As an individual who has always believed that the first job of a politician is to represent those that elect them directly, I welcomed Hall Findlay’s far more ‘liberal’ approach to back bench opinions. Closing up government further will only serve to alienate more and more Canadians. I sincerely hope that Trudeau heeds Hall Findlay’s advice. It could go a long way in helping re-unite a party coming off a contested leadership race.

Who is he? Rumours continue of a gay NFL player coming out

Who is he? That is the question that many in the National Football League (NFL) community are asking themselves.

This past week rumours surfaced of a current NFL player coming out as homosexual. As a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and lifelong fan of North American football I welcome this news. However, something must be made clear: this man will not be a “gay Jackie Robinson.” His choice will make him a different figure all together.

Make no mistake: no one should be coerced to come out before they are ready. Perhaps this individual is not ready. Perhaps they have wanted to come out since they put on their first helmet back in high school. It is difficult to say. What I do know is reports of his impending decision are already having a positive impact. A day ago Kwame Harris (pictured), a former offensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, chose to publicly reveal his homosexuality. He stated in an interview with an American media outlet, “I want people, whether gay athletes, athletes still in the closet, or youths who are not sure what sexuality is to know those are common feelings. Don’t feel alone in having them.”

Harris retired in 2008. He joins the likes of John Amaechi, the former National Basketball Association forward, and Billy Bean, the former Major League Baseball outfielder, as athletes who understandably could not muster the courage to publicly come out during their playing days.

I want to make a fact clear: I do not believe LGBT athletes have some kind of inherent responsibility to come out for the good of the community. However, I do believe they are providing a service for the greater good of their community. They are providing a service and should be commended for their selflessness.

That said, my opinion is not the only in existence. Chris Clemons, the Seattle Seahawks defensive end, has offered a sign of things to come should the athlete in question choose to come forward. Clemons took to Twitter to air his concerns. With statements such as, “Who on Gods [sic] earth is this person saying he’s coming out of the closet in the NFL?” and “If you didn’t do it when you were in high school or college then why wait til your [sic] in the NFL? Whoever he is he didn’t just start”, it is not difficult to understand why this man has most likely spent a lifetime concealing his true identity.

I have little doubt this man is fully aware of what awaits him as the first openly gay athlete to play in a major professional league. But he will not go it alone. A number of current NFL players have become leaders in fighting for equal rights. Brendon Ayanbadejo, former linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, and Chris Kluwe, punter for the Minnesota Vikings, have proven to be leaders in the area. Whoever this man is, he will have allies.

I truly do hope he feels he can come forward. His coming out will be a landmark victory for those that believe in equality and for those athletes still in high school who are afraid to enter their team locker room for fear of some ill thought action revealing who they really are.

More than that, however, it will be a message to the United States of America. At a time when Americans are anxiously awaiting a decision by their Supreme Court on marriage equality, the coming out of a major athlete could swing public support in the direction of those Americans supporting marriage equality. Coming out will always be a personal decision, but for a high profile individual there is an onus to take a role of leadership. He, whoever he is, will have to stand before the world and let fellow LGBT athletes know that, while he is the first, he will not be the last.

Hopefully this serves as merely the first in a long-line of political and societal victories.

So, who is he?

I don’t know. But I welcome his appearance.

Keeping the Internet open

It is time Canadian politicians engaged in an open discussion about citizens’ rights when they go online. To date there seems to be only one high profile Canadian willing to entertain the idea. I am referring to George Takach, a Toronto lawyer and candidate for leadership of the federal Liberal Party.

Takach is calling on the government to create a ‘digital bill of rights’. The notion comes from two American politicians, Representative Darrell Issa and Senator Ron Wyden, key figures in the battle against censorship of the internet.

Issa and Wyden in the United States, and Takach in Canada, are calling for the creation of a ‘digital, or internet, bill of rights,’ because of concerns about what some may describe as a legal oxymoron. Lawmakers and legislators are attempting to regulate the internet without an understanding of how individuals use it.

“Government is flying blind, interfering and regulating without even understanding the basics,” declares Issa on KeepTheWebOpen.com. “Where can a digital citizen turn for protection against the powerful?”

Wyden likens this project to a digital version of the United States’ Constitutional convention. The 10 key provisions in Issa’s and Wyden’s Bill are:

1. The right to a free and uncensored Internet.
2. The right to an open, unobstructed Internet.
3. The right to equality on the Internet.
4. The right to gather and participate in online activities.
5. The right to create and collaborate on the Internet.
6. The right to freely share their ideas.
7. The right to access the Internet equally, regardless of who they are or where they are.
8. The right to freely associate on the Internet.
9. The right to privacy on the Internet.
10. The right to benefit from what they create.

George Takach comes at things from a similar angle. “Our digital world is quickly becoming as important as our physical world,” he proclaims on his website. “We’re doing everything from shopping to sending out resumes to searching for information – and we’re doing more and more of that every day.”

Takach takes aim at the current federal government. He asserts that the Harper Government – one that proclaims liberty to be a concern – has failed to ensure that Canadians’ rights and privacy are protected on the internet. Takach is committed to changing that by championing the establishment of a Canadian Digital Bill of Rights. He is so committed to this he is making it a centrepiece of his campaign to become the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

This stems from a belief that Canadians need a balanced approach to internet security, one that will ensure that we have better safeguards in place to protect the fundamental civil rights and privacy of Canadians when they are online, while also ensuring that law enforcement officials have adequate tools to address online crime and security. This is in contrast to the “Big Government / Big Brother” surveillance solutions of United States President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Takach proposes a somewhat slimmer Bill of Rights than his American counterparts, but his goal is the same. His proposed Bill would guarantee:

1. The right to be free from surveillance not authorized by a court of law.
2. The right to be free from abuse of personal information.
3. The right to enjoy an open, uncensored, unobstructed internet.
4. The right to enjoy network neutrality and be free from traffic shaping and bandwidth throttling.
5. The right to enjoy anonymity, as long as they act responsibly.
6. The right to enjoy access to the Internet no matter where they live.

The work of these three brave individuals should be commended. In a time when so many governments are engaging in more and more invasive solutions, these politicians are calling to keep government out of our internet. Time will tell how receptive North Americans are to internet freedom. If they are, Issa, Wyden, and Takach will have bright careers ahead of them.

 

Canadian Urban Institute calls for strategic regional research

Yesterday afternoon the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) unveiled its latest report, entitled “Strategic Regional Research: A Region in Transition.” The report comes as a result of Strategic Regional Research’s (SRR) belief that governments in the Greater Toronto Region are planning to follow an old industrial model that cannot respond to the ever-changing needs of developers, employers or employees.

The report says that the key to solving the Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA) transportations problems is a comprehensive planning vision that links transportation and employment. It found that the GTA’s serious levels of congestion can largely be explained by complex commuting patterns.

As of the release of this report more than 500, 000 jobs in the GTA are located in isolated offices parks beyond the Region’s transit networks. Many of these office parks are built on former industrial sites, set aside in the post war era, that were never designed to accommodate such a large workforce. As these clusters continue to thrive and their workforce expands, even greater stress is placed on already congested employment areas and the transportation areas the serve them.

Over the next 30 years, SSR believes the GTA can create another 500, 000 jobs, many of which will be housed in buildings that have not yet been built. The quality of life for those workers will be dramatically impacted by where those buildings are built and the transportation and infrastructure policies implemented today. If the GTA continues to see jobs concentrated in locations that do not have adequate transit service these areas could become less attractive to potential investment and employment opportunity.

The report recommends bringing together planning, economic development and infrastructure investment. SSR asserts that this is critical to preserving the competitiveness of the GTA and quality of life for commuters. It details potential policy solutions and describes what can occur to avoid making the mistakes of the past.

Three critical issues:

•Provincial policy promotes a comprehensive vision for intensification and connectivity; however, there currently exists a disconnect between regional and municipal policies affecting the location of distribution of employment.

•SSR believes that approximately 100 million square feet of office space, accounting for approximately 500, 000 jobs, is not connected to the GTA’s network of high order transit. There is currently no planning to address this issue.

•The next 30 years will see the creation of 500, 000 new jobs. There is currently a lack of coherent strategy for where the 100 million square feet of office space needed to house the jobs will be located.

“At present, there are two starkly different choices for the region’s workforce with dramatically different expectations for the quality of working life,” says Iain Dobson, a founding partner of Real Estate Search Corporation (RESC) and one of the report’s authors. “One is for jobs located in mixed use, pedestrian friendly, well connected areas like downtown Toronto and in locations adjacent to the subway; the other is for jobs located in isolated, low amenity office clusters beyond the reach of higher order public transit. Ways must be found to bring the positive attributes of both areas to the other.”

Dobson makes it clear: governments, developers and the private sector must work together to build transit and develop the economy in GTA. Further, this must be done in a non-partisan and non-bordered manner. Glenn Miller, a vice president with the CUI and co-author of the SSR report, makes the point that years ago Swiss politicians on the left and the right concluded that the environment was too important an issue to be divided among partisan lines. He believes transit and employment fall into the same category. All it would take is for local councils and governments of all levels to put aside their differences.

But do they have the political will to do so?

Only time will tell.