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Driving The Porcelain Bus: Rob Ford Attempts To Keep Toronto From Having Input On Transit Funding

Rob Ford and his council lackeys want to differ discussing transit funding until AFTER Metrolinx’ deadline to agree on what they will present to the province – in other words, until after it is too late to have their input considered by Metrolinx in their recommendations to the province.

Typical Rob Ford/Ford Nation idiocy. . . . → Read More: Driving The Porcelain Bus: Rob Ford Attempts To Keep Toronto From Having Input On Transit Funding

Driving The Porcelain Bus: Rob Ford Attempts To Keep Toronto From Having Input On Transit Funding

Rob Ford and his council lackeys want to differ discussing transit funding until AFTER Metrolinx’ deadline to agree on what they will present to the province – in other words, until after it is too late to have their input considered by Metrolinx in th… . . . → Read More: Driving The Porcelain Bus: Rob Ford Attempts To Keep Toronto From Having Input On Transit Funding

OPSEU Diablogue: Expensive systems — privatization in other public sectors should be a warning for health care

Health care is not the only public service to experience reckless ventures into private delivery of key components. The Auditor General of Ontario (AG) raises numerous questions about costly private delivery of public services in his recent review of Metrolinx, the … Continue reading →

Railroaded by Metrolinx: Getting to Work on Transit City

This is the deputation I gave in City Hall on February 2nd regarding bus service cuts. Meeting Room #2 was overflowing — 160 constituents, 30 above fire code — waited their turn for over 5 hours for 5 minutes of time to speak to Toronto Transit Commissioners, and City Councillors. Run by Councillor Stintz, the new TTC Chair, the deputations were tightly constrained to five minutes. To her credit, she was unfailingly polite to the deputants, although she showed visible irritation when Transit City was defended.
The diverse face of Toronto was out in full force. York University students asked for late buses so they could attend basketball practice and night classes, the Roller Derby chicks pleaded for safe access to their arena to practice their moves, and a 90 year-old man spoke eloquently about his need to have access to a pharmacy for his medication, and visit his wife in a chronic care facility. His neighbourhood would have bus service cut in half, and isolate even him further. The TV reporters fled with his heartfelt testimony, but I have yet to find it on CTV news.
With no further ado, here is my deputation.
TTC Deputation: Proposed Transit Cuts on Bus Schedules for the Davenport Riding in relation to Lower Income Residents and Support for Transit City
Dear TTC, Mayor Ford and Toronto City Councillors,
I am a constituent of Ward 18, part of the Davenport Riding. I am also a member of the Clean Train Coalition, and have spent the last two years advocating for all-encompassing, sustainable transit policy in Ontario.
I am here today to speak of the correlation between low-income wage earners, transit, and the right of citizens to public transit – transit which should be egalitarian, surface level, consistent and frequent. This right for accessible transit should be a democratic right, not a privilege, which can be revoked or suspended by City Council, to implicitly prioritize cars over public transit. By cutting bus frequency, and routes, the City Council will force people back into cars, or in the case of the Davenport Riding, to take taxis, which they can ill afford.
Cutting bus service in the Davenport Riding flies against equitable treatment of those who provide services upon which we are dependent- the invisible glue of our society. These constituents are night shift workers- nurses, office cleaners, factory employees, minimum wage earners – all of the most vulnerable members of society to transit cuts. And who are these workers? Single mothers, new immigrants, those just entering the workforce, night school students, and the elderly- all of whom need off rush hour transit to go to work, school and church safely.
It is well-known in transit system planning that once bus service is cut back, or becomes intermittent, passenger numbers drop throughout the route, so cutting back on bus frequency at any point in the schedule will reduce passenger numbers on that route. Eventually, the route will be avoided altogether if service frequency is cut back to the bone. In addition, low income constituents also have the least access to ‘just in time’ information for online information regarding schedule changes due to the high cost of Internet service, and are affected most by erratic schedules because they cannot access transit updates.
The residents of Davenport are particularly dependent on transit, as many cannot afford cars. As new immigrants, and service sector employees, they often have the least control over the hours of their employment, thus are the most vulnerable to service cuts during the evening and weekends. Traffic cannot shift into rush hour schedules; these constituents cannot determine the time and need for bus service. Those who work minimum wage jobs cannot afford to take taxis, and often require transit to ensure that they get home safely at night in at risk neighbourhoods. Minimum wage in Ontario is $10.25 an hour, and the cost of a cab from downtown Toronto to west-end Toronto can cost up to $40, more than half the daily rate of a minimum wage employee. Is this fair?
Davenport Riding has twice the number of racial minorities in Canada at 33%, a higher percentage of single people at 41% (as opposed to 33%), and 43% who are completely dependent upon public transit, a statistic much higher than the national average of 10%. Will cutting back services mean that riders will not be able to afford to go to work because of the cost of transit, if they are forced to take taxis at night?
In addition, many immigrants – Portuguese, Italian and Asian – have communities which centre around church. Cutting back Sunday service will restrict their access to their place of worship and right to congregation- cornerstones of society building- and which benefit the multinational city I am proud to call home.
The same principles of consistency and access to transit service apply to the proposed expansion of light rail transit for Transit City. This expansion of service level transit will revitalize and benefit entire neighbourhoods along its 75 km route, enable over three times this same demographic of rider to access and support businesses in their community, and build businesses within a far greater area than the area directly above subway stations. The air rights directly above the few subway stations proposed by Mayor Ford’s ‘Transportation City’ are not his unilateral right to sell to highrise developers. Transit City’s LRT is being implemented in dozens of cities internationally, and is proven to improve the quality of life within neighbourhoods, and provide interconnections to subway stations. Why wait seven years for a few subway stations, when Transit City can be built in three to serve almost four times as many riders, and provide facelifts and multiple transit stops for entire districts?
In summary, by cutting back bus service to Davenport Riding, one of the poorest in Canada, the Toronto City Council will make this community poorer, and may force riders to choose between being able to go to work, or not, based upon transit costs. Those who can afford cars are fortunate, and expect society to pay the cost of road maintenance, traffic control, and highway expansion, why are any cuts even considered in public transit, and car drivers prioritized over citizens’ rights to go to work on public transit? Taxpayers subsidize cars, and I have not heard of any cuts to any services required to maintain the highway system proposed by the current Mayor or City Council.
We need to support current bus routes, and get to work on building Transit City immediately, so that Torontonians in the GTA can go to work- safely, equitably and quickly.
Photo Credit Warren McPherson: Image of Transit Guru Steve Munro, and others, crowded into Meeting Room #2, waiting to deputize with great patience.
Research:

. . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Getting to Work on Transit City

Railroaded by Metrolinx: Getting to Work on Transit City

This is the deputation I gave in City Hall on February 2nd regarding bus service cuts. Meeting Room #2 was overflowing — 160 constituents, 30 above fire code — waited their turn for over 5 hours for 5 minutes of time to speak to Toronto Transit Commissioners, and City Councillors. Run by Councillor Stintz, . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Getting to Work on Transit City

Railroaded by Metrolinx: Stuck in Traffic in Transportation City

“Send in the clowns
Don’t bother they are here.”
– Stephen Sondheim from the 1973 musical ‘A Little Night Music’

As a transit rider and taxpayer, I write of our right to moral outrage. The events since the October 25th municipal election have left me reeling- from the Ringling Brothers pomp and circumstance of Don Cherry’s inauguration of Rob Ford as mayor of our once progressive city, to the new regime’s attempted transit fee hike and service cuts, and to the higher personal income tax garnered to subsidize corporate tax cuts, our political arena has become a three-ring circus.

PM Harper, Premier McGuinty, Mayor Ford — each have become ringleaders in their own right. Each promotes obstructionist duplicity, deflecting questions about who really holds the reins on our right to dissent without censure, discounting, or ridicule, while cutting tax revenues needed to support essential public services, such as transit, which enable us to get to work efficiently. Once service becomes intermittent, such as the recently proposed scaling back of the nighttime schedule of 48 bus routes, riders will no longer use these unpredictable routes. Who rides the later buses? Shift workers, recent immigrants, service sector employees, teenagers – those who cannot afford cars, and are the most vulnerable to being stranded within a system. With this plan, and the construction of 18 km of subway with 11 stops, rather than Transit City, Mayor Ford has announced his ‘Transportation City’, thus his ‘War on the Transit Rider’. Cars are machines; we cannot have a war on them.

Mayor Ford’s reign was kicked off on December 7th, when Don Cherry, the host of ‘Coach’s Corner’ on the CBC, placed the chain of office around Mayor Ford’s neck at City Hall, and said “Actually I’m wearing pink for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything.”

With that speech, the municipal gloves were off, and my bicycle helmet was on. The tone was set for the new City Hall, which was to be run by an executive council queried, hand-selected, and confirmed by his staff that their allegiance to Mayor Ford was absolute. Adam Vaughan, the councilor that everyone wanted to run for mayor, turned his back on the proceedings.

Within days of his election, Mayor Ford was granted the ear of Premier McGuinty, and convinced him to abandon seven years of Transit City planning. In those same few days, Spacing, the new urban magazine, designed bicycle-riding leftwing pinko buttons to fight this inaugural costume drama with humour, and a signifier of moral outrage. 10,000 buttons were sold in the first two days by Spacing, with 10 per cent of the proceeds going to the Toronto Cyclists’ Union.

For 25 years at the CBC, a pinko-kook institution, Mississauga resident Don Cherry has earned up to $700,000 a year for 5 minutes per game of Yogi Berra commentary on hockey, and now his ‘bite the hand that feeds him’ malapropisms have been immortalized on a button, and banded together downtown Toronto pinko-kooks. I wear my button everywhere with amused and exasperated pride, and often point to it as a mutual badge of honour to fellow pinkos– on the streets, in the subway, and in cafes — to build solidarity.

Those who conjecture about why Transit City is being dismantled also believe the mayoral modus operandi of Mayor Ford is calculated. Ford wants to return the favour of his election to property developers who bankrolled his campaign, and by doing so, undermine the egalitarian, urban planning begun by ex-Mayor Miller, which would integrate communities into the subway corridor by continuing to build 75 km of priority lines of Light Rail Transit. This project has already been whittled down 47 km by budget cuts by Premier McGuinty; ex-Mayor Miller’s original plan included 122 km of LRT.

In addition, they believe Mayor Ford wants to sell off valuable air rights for high rise development above subway stops to his developer friends. This plan is in direct contrast to ex-Mayor Miller, who wanted his legacy to be Transit City. This LRT system includes multiple transit stops to encourage business and street level development within neighbourhoods, supports mom and pop businesses along its route, and enables those who are disabled and elderly access to surface level transit. The vision of Mayor Ford is elitist– massive high rises will mark the spot of subway stations, which will take 7 years to build, serve 122,000 people, and are difficult to access, whereas the plan of Transit City is to enable transit-oriented development to serve 400,000 people, revitalize entire communities, and can be built within three years to relieve the gridlock, and a portion of healthcare expenses, which cost Ontario $6 billion a year.

And the three-ring circus continues. Premier McGuinty allowed Mayor Ford’s fireside chat for significant reasons– Ontario views the HST as a corporate tax grab, he is culpable for enacting 233/10, the 5-meter fence rule, which permitted the suspension of civil liberties during the G20, and he has made a series of exceptionally poor decisions in the last year, including outsourcing $6 billion of wind turbines to Samsung. Who is advising him?

Yet even as Premier McGuinty exclaims from the center of his ring “Ontarians understand the need for corporate tax cuts”, provincial corporate tax rates are cut from 14 to 12 per cent so that $2.4 billion in public revenues will be lost for Transit City. No, I don’t understand why I am paying much more for fewer services, any more than I understand why the new City Council recently attempted to raise transit fees by 10 cents to $3.10 for each token when I buy a set of ten to offset the $60 lost from the vehicle registration fee, and federally, why my taxes have increased between $144 (income $44,000) to $447 per annum (income $100,000) so that $14 billion in tax revenues are lost to the public purse, and why Canadian corporations will pay the lowest taxes in the industrialized world at 12.2 per cent, when American corporations pay 28.3 per cent.

As a Liberal premier, Premier McGuinty has added to my tax burden given to me by the federal Conservatives, thereby supporting PM Harper’s corporate agenda. I thought they were opposing parties. As a result, I am getting far fewer services for far higher transit fees, increased taxation from all sides, and a possible public sector wage freeze — a triple whammy. And watch — this federal tax loss in tax revenue will be used to justify even more downloading of transit infrastructure costs to the provinces by forcing them to finance overruns. PM Harper and Premier McGuinty could have allocated some of these revenues to fund sustainable transportation infrastructure and upgrades, including electrifying the Air Rail Link, and the Georgetown corridor by Metrolinx, and easily included a 15% contingency fund.

$14 billion federally, and $2.4 billion provincially is $16.4 billion in lost tax revenues. $16.4 billion can buy world class, sustainable, electric transit infrastructure, education, research and innovation, and the capacity for forward thinking design and self-governance; $16.4 billion in tax cuts widens the gap between the car-drivers and transit riders, and closes the door on municipal services, including legal clinics, home care, and public housing for those who need them most, yet were the target demographic for Mayor Ford’s Gravy Train campaign. It also complicates travel time in the GTA for citizens do not want to waste half their workday in gridlock, as drivers idle in single occupancy vehicles (SOVs) behind their buses. These diesel buses, as proposed by Mayor Ford, should be Light Rail Vehicles, which are twice as fast, with no emissions, and serve the entire GTA. ‘Transportation City’ is not as efficient or clean as ‘Transit City’, and depends on fossil fuels in a post carbon economy.

Cities, including the GTA, need to become the epicenter of all greening initiatives, as up to 70% of the world will live in urban centers by 2050. It is clear that Mayor Ford will not be able to represent the City of Toronto on the world stage with his backward policies prioritizing cars, subways, and buses. GTA transit infrastructure is 25 years behind international standards already, and his version of fossil-fuel based transit, and expanding highway system, will be considered archaic before it is built. Cuts from federal and provincial corporate tax revenues could have been used to build this transit infrastructure so that TTC riders can get to work, quickly and efficiently without congestion, to their lungs or their workday.

Just as Mayor Ford’s inauguration did on youtube, his self-serving version of Transit City, ‘Transportation City’, will make us a laughing stock internationally. And as other countries build sustainable transit for resilient cities, we will be stuck in traffic, waiting for a change in transit policy and governance. As the economic engine of Canada, this funding is owed to the TTC transit rider more than the tax cuts are owed to the executive class, but it is not seen this way by this corporate glad-handing, three-ring circus.

We need to get to work on Transit City- and right away – so we can go to work.

References:
DON CHERRY and ROB FORD “…for all the PINKOs out there, that ride bicycles…”, posted on youtube.com, December 7, 2010 at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHzCoUZG2Js
Left-wing pinko buttons store at http://spacing.ca/store/buttons/left-wing-pinko-button/
Pembina Report, “Making Tracks Torontonians”, January 5, 2011, at http://www.pembina.org/pub/2151
John Cartwright, The Toronto Star, July 11, 2010
‘Opinion: Cancel corporate tax cuts to deal with deficit’at
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/834317–cancel-corporate-tax-cuts-to-deal-with-deficit
Sean Marshall, TTC holds off on fare increase, service cuts, January 12, 2011 at http://spacingtoronto.ca/2011/01/12/ttc-proposes-fare-increase-service-cuts/ . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Stuck in Traffic in Transportation City

Railroaded by Metrolinx: Stuck in Traffic in Transportation City

“Send in the clownsDon’t bother they are here.”– Stephen Sondheim from the 1973 musical ‘A Little Night Music’

As a transit rider and taxpayer, I write of our right to moral outrage. The events since the October 25th municipal election have left me reeling- from the Ringling Brothers pomp and circumstance of Don . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Stuck in Traffic in Transportation City

Railroaded by Metrolinx: DIY Citizenship – Not in Canada, My Dear

“If we do not define citizenship, others will do it for us.” @font-face { font-family: “Courier New”; }@font-face { font-family: “Times”; }@font-face { font-family: “Wingdings”; }@font-face { font-family: “Cambria”; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }h3 { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 13.5pt; font-family: “Times New . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: DIY Citizenship – Not in Canada, My Dear

Railroaded by Metrolinx: DIY Citizenship – Not in Canada, My Dear



If we do not define citizenship, others will do it for us.”

Participant at the Do It Yourself Citizenship Conference,
University of Toronto, November 13, 2010

Citizenship is defined as “a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to protection from it.” Hilarious. I do need protection from my government, but I am not sure that I owe any allegiance to it in its current unconstitutional manifestation. My preferred definition of citizenship is “working towards the betterment of the community one lives in through participation, volunteer work and efforts to improve life for all”, but what do you do when the process of public consultation and rising tide of conservatism work to confuse, weaken and defeat you? Federally, with the defeat of Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act, by an unelected senate, and provincially, with the decision of the arm’s length transit agency, Metrolinx to purchase diesel trains, rather than electric, for expansion of the Georgetown South corridor and Air Rail Link, this has been one bad week to be an engaged citizen working for sustainable change.

From November 11th to 14th, I attended the Do It Yourself Citizenship Conference at the University of Toronto. Sponsored by the Center for the Study of the United States, it was an jam packed, erudite conference, organized by Matt Ratto and Megan Boler, which pulled together one hundred and thirty-five international new media scholars to discuss how citizens have created civic engagement through e-government, remix culture, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and participatory media campaigns, such as the Rally to Restore Sanity, as a compendium for civic interventions critiquing our, American and Canadian, increasingly rightwing regimes. Canada gets PM Harper, and Toronto, Mayor-elect Ford, and the US gets Sarah Palin, and the Tea Party- a tragicomedy about to played out on both sides of the border.

As a resident of Ward 18, located in west-end Toronto, I presented my personal air monitoring station in the HackLab at DIY as a device for tactical, civic intervention. This mobile air monitoring station is a prototype of a physical computing device, which will act as my externalized lungs. Designed to refute the falsified data for projected air quality exceedances in Metrolinx’ environmental assessment reports, the lungs will hang over my balcony to analyze and collect air quality samples, and compare this new data with Metrolinx’ official projections, as winds blow easterly from 300-450 diesel trains passing two blocks beside my house until 2020 as part of their Regional Transportation Plan.

As Canada moves from a manufacturing economy to an extraction economy, and the Internet perfects surveillance of personal data through clickprints, ‘dataveillance’, it enables the shrewd and rapacious culling and selling of our data by third party collection companies to government agencies. Similarly, Geographical Information Systems enable detailed mapping for extraction locations for our natural resources. Our online identity, through social media and email, is monitored through the clickstream of our Internet searches, as well as our natural resources. Intellectual property, social identity, air, water and land are being mapped, mined, and readied for monetization and corporate profit. Neither the privacy commissioner, nor the federal court, have policies which are able to keep pace with this invasion of privacy, and assumption of privilege, by the data mining companies, as well as the rapid itemization of assets by extraction companies – mining, water, oil and natural gas- of our commons at civil society’s expense.

During the DIY Citizenship Conference, Sara Wylie, co-founder of ExtrAct, developed at the MIT Centre for Future Civic Media, presented a textured GIS map of icons marking the location of natural gas wells throughout the US, and discussed their satellite connectivity, which streamlines rapid extraction through data flow. This map of gas well locations is so dense, it crashes Google. As part of this project, the Land Man Report Card aggregates user-generated intelligence through civic engagement, in which landowners recount the sales pitch by itinerant landmen, who try to convince them to open their land to natural gas mining using hydraulic fracturing, which forces poisonous chemicals into the shale to fracture it, and release gas from its pockets. These tactical information systems, the LandMan Report Card, social networking, and the gas well map, enable landowners to communicate, document and warn others. A superb, and very important, documentary about this is ‘Gasland’, directed by Josh Fox, which forewarns us about government policy allowing ‘fracking’ on the Canadian east coast for shale reserves.


Since Bruce Mau’s exhibition ‘Massive Change’, I have foreseen that every square centimeter of our commons will be monetized, as if an invisible grid has been placed over the world, assigning value, partitioning assets and superseding our natural rights to a clean, healthy environment, and our private right to research and connect. Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms no longer protects any of these commons as our natural right, and federal policies controlling corporate extraction and environmental practices lag far behind the imposition of this intrusive data mining and surveying technology. Our commons- intellectual, cultural and physical- all will be on the auctioneer’s block, and Ron Diebert of the Citizen Lab is fighting to maintain net neutrality to ward off this impending fragmentation of the ‘Net, and monitoring of grassroots democracy.


Corporations are rapidly taking advantage of this slippage between policy and technology, and our ability to fight back is being undercut by PM Harper. On November 16th, the Climate Accountability Act, Bill C-311, was defeated by the senate by a snap vote of 43 to 32, held when opposing members were absent. This unelected senate, padded by PM Harper with his Conservative allies during his second prorogation, is a further indignity to democratic process. David Suzuki has launched a letter writing campaign protesting this unfair senate vote at http://action.davidsuzuki.org/C-311, and is trying to reach 15,000 letters to MPs.


The tactics of PM Harper are clear- if you cannot repeatedly defeat a bill with multiple readings, all of which have passed soundly, ensure the House is empty of its supporters during its final passing.
Bill C-311 was Canada’s only offering for the Cancun climate change summit on November 29th, and it is no longer on the table. Under no circumstances does Canada want to stand in the way of the development of the tarsands, as Canadian oil sands giants, Suncor and Syncrude, are allowed to pay royalties based on a bitumen price that is half of what all other producers pay, while continuing to externalize the cost downstream to Fort Chippewyan communities through high cancer rates. There is no corporate cost for destroying the Boreal forest and the Athabasca River, except for the superficial planting of wild plants on the defunct tailings ponds. This area in Northern Alberta will be left as a bruise on the earth, visible by satellite, for generations to come.


Meanwhile, outside my window in Ward 18, Metrolinx has commissioned eighteen, Tier 4 diesel trains from Japan for the Air Rail Link, piggybacking on the Sumitomo bid in Sonoma, Marin
, to provide a premium- read exclusive- service to Pearson. These trains will not resolve issues of noise, pollution or vibration, as Tier 4 emits four times the nitrous oxides, and twice the greenhouse gases, of equivalent automobiles, nor will they provide service to the communities they disturb. The noise and vibration of these necessitates the building of 10 km of 5.5 metre walls as noise barriers, which were not included under visual impacts in the report. Provincially, the $4 million electrification study is being ignored by Metrolinx in favour of buying these diesel trains before the study is completed, or considered. To her credit, the newly elected, Liberal-backed councilor, Ana Bailao, supports the Clean Train Coalition and the residents of our communities for electric trains, despite the position of Metrolinx and the provincial Liberals. And in these hard economic times, why are we buying diesel trains from Japan, when Quebec-based Bombardier makes topflight electric trains?


Our west-end communities, with Weston leading the way, have advocated for electric trains from the provincial Liberals for over 5 years, transit that the rest of the developed world takes as a matter of course, and yet Metrolinx is forcing through diesel trains, which will actually work against commercial and residential development by necessitating large buffer zones. When I attended the charrette for the design of the Junction Triangle, which is bounded by all three tracks of the GSSE corridor expansion in the centre of Ward 18, Castlepoint, who is redeveloping and remediating the lands of the Tower Automotive site, is forced to use parking structures and commercial office space as physical noise, vibration and sound buffers to the Georgetown corridor. With electric trains, much more of this real estate would usable for habitation and work. Castlepoint has the ear of Metrolinx- it seems to me that a fair trade off would be a tariff for developers going toward building electric trains in the Junction Triangle, an excellent suggestion for Premier McGuinty, thus releasing this land from dead zones, and the cul de sac view of concrete walls.


As Rob Fairley, a member of the Clean Train Coalition and a resident of Parkdale, said to the Board of Directors meeting on November 16th, during which they voted in favour of the Tier 4 trains,
“We want electric trains, not diesel trails. We’re not here to disrupt the meeting, we just want to make sure you know where the community stands.” Politely, with only twelve seats available in the back row of the boardroom, advocates for electric trains stood at the back, cycling every two or three minutes to change our guard, so that we could all take turns to bear witness to the botchery of Metrolinx’ public consultation, and moot electrification study.


Do-it-yourself citizenship? Ward 18 has produced documentaries, ‘Bending the Rails’ by Jeff Winch, site installations for Nuit Blanche, ‘Rail of Light’ by Jeff Winch and Richard Mongiat, anthems, ‘Go Electric’ by Rob and Soli Joy, and marches, the Clean Air for Little Lungs Stroller Parade, and the Human Train, and a white elephant performance piece showing the next $1.3 billion abuse of taxpayers’ funds, after the G20 – but our consultation, peaceful protests, and our electrification study have been shoved aside by the self-imposed need to make the Pan Am Games deadline. What do 300,000 citizens do next, when the process is stacked against do-it-yourself civic intervention, and their health is put at risk, to prioritize dirty, diesel trains for a two week sporting extravaganza, touting itself as “green”, when buses would be just fine for the athletes?


As Adlai E. Stevenson said, “As citizens of this democracy, you are the rulers and the ruled, the law-givers and the law-abiding, the beginning and the end.” Not in Canada, despite all our do-it-yourself citizenship supporting our commitment, through advocacy and research, to build an electric transit system in our west-end communities. To the organizers of the DIY Citizenship Conference, thank you for an extraordinary experience. I suggest that the next conference be entitled ‘How to Build a Civil Society’, as it is clear that Canada has forgotten to include us in its democratic vote for sustainable transit.

References:
DIY Citizenship Conference, University of Toronto at http://diycitizenship.com/
Sara Wylie, co-founder, ExtrAct, MIT Centre for Future Civic Media, LandMan Report Card at
http://civic.mit.edu/projects/c4fcm/extract-landman-report-card
Josh Fox, “Gasland” at http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/
Bruce Mau and the Institute without Boundaries at http://www.massivechange.com/about
Citizen Lab at http://citizenlab.org/
David Suzuki Blog, “Senate vote to kill Climate Act disrespects Canadians and democracy” at
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/panther-lounge/2010/11/senate-vote-to-kill-climate-act-disrespects-canadians-and-democracy/
Letters to MPs regarding Bill C-311, the Climate Change Act, at http://action.davidsuzuki.org/C-311
Darcy Henton, Canwest News Service: “Oil-sands royalty estimates could be out by $100M: auditor” at http://www.financialpost.com/related/topics/sands+royalty+estimates+could+100M+auditor/2060831/story.html#ixzz15xfqrCQM
Richard Mongiat and Jeff Winch, “Rail of Light” at http://railoflight.wordpress.com/

Natalie Alcoba, National Post: “Electrifying Pearson rail link by 2015 ‘can’t be done’: Metrolinx” at http://www.globaltoronto.com/Electrifying+Pearson+rail+link+2015+done+Metrolinx/3837926/story.html
. . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: DIY Citizenship – Not in Canada, My Dear