May 20, 2004 by Allen George
So, my question to you is “How do you know when you ‘belong’ to a region?”
I’ve never really thought about it because I’ve never had to consider that question in the past. But now, being as I’m (at least temporarily) relocated in San Diego, I think I’ve stumbled on the answer. You belong to a region when no matter where you are, news from that region concerns you, provokes an emotional response in you and makes you consider its effects on you, your family, your friends etc.
What brought this about? Of all things – the Ontario budget. The Ontario government was facing a massive deficit (in the range of 6B dollars) and to combat that, instituted a number of changes including increases in taxes, a revival of the health care premiums etc. At the same time however, they have committed to allocating a portion of the gas taxes to municipalities for transit, keeping small class sizes for smaller students and increases in hospital expenditures. All in all, on the surface it seemed like a budget that called for hard choices. I can only hope that it succeeds…
My reaction? Personally, I’ve always been more of a ‘city guy’. There’s something about living in the middle of a large city that interests me and excites me (for the lack of a more appropriate word). I think its just the fact that there are so many people around and there’s so much to do. I prefer compact, dense cities as opposed to the sprawling metropolises that litter the Californian countryside *cough*San Diego*cough*. I had hoped that the budget would include a more positive note on cities (more funding commitments, greater focus on improving urban cores, tangible support for an integrated mass transit system, a reevaluation of development priorities, methodologies and more for municipalities in the GTA). Quite a wishlist. Obviously I didn’t see these. What I did see however, was the intent to create a Greater Toronto Area Transit commission… We’ll see if that does anything [smirks]