September 14, 2003 by Allen George
I’ve been reading a bit about events south of the border. It appears (well…appears…one can never really tell) that voters there are ready for a change. One man whom analysts seem to be talking about is Howard Dean. What’s interesting about Dean is that he seems to have galvanized a lot of _ordinary people_. Not big money (altho I have no doubt he’ll use his popularity to shovel in the cash).
I’ve noticed a lot of similarities between the Ontario election campaign and the campaign for the democratic nomination. The same themes seem to be hit on. Failing healthcare, a rapidly deteriorating school system, rising unemployment, a feeling that the current government is pandering to the needs of the wealthy. There seems to be among Dean’s supporters a geniune sense that the US has stumbled badly and is making big mistakes. I think that’s part of the source of their energy…
Here closer to home, I worry about our cities. I look at municupalities like Brampton and Mississauga and in fact a large portion of the GTA and I worry. Toronto is Canada’s largest city and realistically its economic engine. Yet it does not have the taxing power nor the political heft to improve its lot in the system. I worry about the fact that energy usage keeps increasing and nobody seems to be really concerned. Why not institute some form of rebate system similar to that of California? I worry about transportation. The 401 is North America’s busiest highway and I can believe it. At some locations it is 8 – 10 lanes wide – and _still_ jammed. The majority of us suburbanites travel 1 to a car from our home to work. There is no coordinated regional transportation policy – neither is there any incentive to develop one! I am convinced the GTA has the abilitiy to greatly reduce traffic through increased (and seamless) transit links, possibly a light rail link along the 401 (yeah pipe dream) and rebates for fuel efficient cars (as well as severe penalties for large hulking monsters). Perhaps even a scheme to encourage car pooling?
I’m worried though, that once in office, the Liberals will emulate their federal counterparts. Although the federal liberals aren’t a particularly obnoxious bunch, their propensity to throw around taxpayers money in large amounts is alarming and infuriating. So is their inability (or lack of willpower) to push through much needed reforms in the social service (which I fully believe to be a creaking bereaucracy).