ONT NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will become Premier of Ontario 2

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theleftyinvestor

Brachina wrote:
Looks like the Liberals will give into the NDP demand for a 15 percent cut to auto insurance prices. Horwath getting results for Ontarians.

Well, I guess the anti-car vote is going to sit out the next election or vote for minor parties :P

Stockholm

Is there an "anti-car" vote?

theleftyinvestor

Stockholm wrote:

Is there an "anti-car" vote?

There absolutely is, at least in Toronto. There are people watching the ONDP and saying "If you're so focused on helping cars, you're anti-environment and GTFO."

mark_alfred

theleftyinvestor wrote:

Stockholm wrote:

Is there an "anti-car" vote?

There absolutely is, at least in Toronto. There are people watching the ONDP and saying "If you're so focused on helping cars, you're anti-environment and GTFO."

But that's incorrect.  The ONDP is not anti-environment.  They're for public transit, and anti-nuclear.  People forget that it was McGuinty who helped kill Transit City, and sent Smitherman in to stir up trouble with Miller with anti-union talk, etc.  Had the NDP been in power, we would have had Transit City by now.  People need options.  Anyway, I already gave my opinion here.

Stockholm

I guess the "anti-car" people can now vote for Tim Hudak and the PCs. They are the only party that voted AGAINST a motion demanding that insurance companies reduce insurance rates by 15%. I am having a hard time imagine WORSE optics and BETTER material for negative ads, than the spectre of the Conservatives voting against lower insurance rates. I guess that in addition to Hudak wanting to repeal the rand Formula, if we make him premier we can also rest assured that he will let insurance rates go BOING back up 15%!!

theleftyinvestor

mark_alfred wrote:

But that's incorrect.  The ONDP is not anti-environment.  They're for public transit, and anti-nuclear.  People forget that it was McGuinty who helped kill Transit City, and sent Smitherman in to stir up trouble with Miller with anti-union talk, etc.  Had the NDP been in power, we would have had Transit City by now.  People need options.  Anyway, I already gave my opinion here.

I'm not saying the ONDP is anti-environment on balance. I'm just saying that I know a selection of Torontonians who 1) back away from the ONDP every time they do something that helps cars or fossil fuels, 2) typically support the federal NDP but not provincial, 3) default to either abstaining from the provincial polls, picking a minor party/candidate or supporting the OLP.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

So the asshole yuppy driver of the Saab who cut me off while I was riding my e-bike up Bathurst street on a freak warm January weekend is going to get a 15% cut in their car insurance rates.   Way to go ONDP!    And what a wonderful solution to gridlock in the GTA...cheaper car insurance.   Yeah orange team!

Why "go to the wall" on public transit funding when you can go to the wall on car insurance!

 

Michelle

I remember being upset at the content-free stiletto shoe that was supposed to represent the ONDP in campaign ads during the election campaign.  Besides the obvious sexism of having a female leader reduced to a stiletto shoe (like seriously, what the Jesus fuck?), the campaign ad meant nothing and stood for nothing and I thought it was completely inappropriate.

I would just like to say that I was wrong.  I now believe that it was a completely appropriate campaign ad.

Unionist

What about eliminating sales tax on new car purchases?

lagatta

I'm very much anti-car, at least in metropolitan areas. But realise that due to criminally bad planning and inadequate public transport, a lot of people need the murderous polluting things, even in cities and suburbs.

I'm in Freedom-55 country and have never owned or driven one. Arranged my life that way. And I have younger friends with children who've done the same. But car sharing has been a HUGE help there. Several households of friends nearby belong to CommunAuto so they can rent a car either for journeys outside the city or for those "big shopping" expeditions having progeny makes necessary. My late friend Claire Morissette founded CommunAuto, as well as Vélo Nord-Sud, and was among the group that started Le Monde à bicyclette, along with Robert Silverman, Tooker Gomberg, and others who are not as well known outside Québec.

One can promote good industrial jobs through converting car plants to plants producing public transport vehicles - look how quickly they were able to switch over to military production when the Second World War began. And probably do even more to preserve those jobs in Canada.

Of course, I don't live in Ontario, and probably would vote NDP there unless there were some actual wind in the sails of a more progressive alternative such as the Ontario Socialist Party or whatever it is called.

Here, Québec solidaire did make Electrified Public Transport a plank of the platform.

felixr

Tooker Gomberg was well known in Edmonton (he was a city councilor) and Halifax.

Stockholm

radiorahim wrote:

So the asshole yuppy driver of the Saab who cut me off while I was riding my e-bike up Bathurst street on a freak warm January weekend is going to get a 15% cut in their car insurance rates.   Way to go ONDP!    And what a wonderful solution to gridlock in the GTA...cheaper car insurance.   Yeah orange team!

Why "go to the wall" on public transit funding when you can go to the wall on car insurance!

 

That is ridiculous stereotyping...I have never owned a car in my life but i recognize that about 80% of the population are drivers and most people have no choice but to drive because most people don't live and work in places where public transit is a viable option. The "yuppie driver of Saab" who you off is rich enough that he doesn't care what car insurance rates are and doersn't care what the price of gas is either. But believe it or not there are VAST numbers of working class people who have cheap cars and who have to get to and from work and have to ferry their families around and they don't all have the luxury of living in Leslieville and having a pair of tandem bicycles for the whole family to get around in. For the vast majority of people having a car is not a choice, its a necessity and insurance rates are rapacious. This is the kind of elitist attitude that gets people like Rob Ford elected mayor and throws progressive candidates into the gutter.

Unionist

Good one, Stockholm. It's "elitist" to oppose a campaign promise which gives cash back to voters. Like Harper's $100 a month in lieu of child care.

We are still on opposite sides of the trenches. I hope your party wins. Like they did in 1990. What a laugh.

 

Michelle

Actually, the vast majority of the population lives in cities, and most cities have some form of public transit.  Toronto is not the only city with a public transit system.  The "vast majority" of people in larger cities such as Toronto actually DON'T need cars.  I've lived just fine for 10 years without one.  I belong to Autoshare for the occasional time I need a car.  Heck, I even lived in Kingston for many years without a car, and their transit system pales in comparison to Toronto's.  And no, I wasn't an Annex yuppie in either place - for most of my adult life, I have had very little money, and my Kingston years as an adult were spent well below the poverty line, although I've been doing better during the past few years.

I agree that for people living in smaller centres without public transit that car costs are high.  (Although Toronto drivers pay vastly more in car insurance than people who live outside of large cities.)  But making it cheaper for people to drive SUVs in cities is not a good overall transportation strategy.

And the main point is, there are so many more important things that Horwath could have demanded in return for her party's support than some stupid car insurance gimmick thing.  I guess that's what the NDP has been reduced to - they went from big ideas like public auto (which they reneged on while in office) to putting a bandaid on the gaping wound of corporate excess.

Congratulations.  Stiletto shoes for all!

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Michelle wrote:

And the main point is, there are so many more important things that Horwath could have demanded in return for her party's support than some stupid car insurance gimmick thing.  I guess that's what the NDP has been reduced to - they went from big ideas like public auto (which they reneged on while in office) to putting a bandaid on the gaping wound of corporate excess.

Congratulations.  Stiletto shoes for all!

Laughing

Unionist

I just don't get the point about stiletto shoes...

 

lagatta

What people do need is good public transport. In cities, and also between cities and towns. Someone named Stockholm should take the time to look at his namesake and what exists in Northern Europe in general (and yes, Sweden has big distances and is not as densely populated as the Netherlands or even Denmark).

The stereotype about tandem bicycles in Leslieville was even more ludicrous. (Radiorahim was talking about an actual occurrence). They are a marginal form of active transport (unless you mean cargo bicycles that can carry children and supplies). I get around on my trusty old Raleigh Sprite (and have been doing this for 40 years, alas not on the same bicycle because they sometimes get stolen despite locks and the police don't give a shit). And on the métro of course, especially in the depth of winter. Fortunately the co-op where I live now is very close to three métro stations.

We also need creative solutions for some kind of public transport in smaller centres. A lot of elderly people continue to drive, although they might not really be in shape to do so, because not driving equals dependency. And there are many other people outside the largest cities who can't drive for various reasons from poverty to handicaps.

The environmental crisis and climate change are real, by the way. Some reactionaries feed into the lowest forms of populism by convincing working-class people (as well as much richer and more influential people!) that driving cars is some kind of natural right and normal way of achieving mobility. It is up to progressives to point out the folly of this crap. What people need is mobility, not cars.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Unionist wrote:

I just don't get the point about stiletto shoes...

Doesn't that post need a smilie?

Unionist

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Unionist wrote:

I just don't get the point about stiletto shoes...

Doesn't that post need a smilie?

Unionist

Um, sorry for the levity - I just wanted to recommend [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ontario/ont-ndp-leader-andrea-horwath-will-b...'s last post[/url].

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Now he looked good in high heels.  Its just a step to the left and a jump to the right.

lagatta

Thanks, Unionist. Of course I've, or rather we have, worked on this stuff for decades.

Stockholm

I'm 100% in favour of expanding public transirt as much as possible but the fact is that even if we spent 10 BILLION a year for the next 30 years - all of us would be dead before the public transit system in southern Ontario would extensive enough to allow everyone to have the choice of not driving. Meanwhile a lot of working class families need relief from usurious insurance rates NOW, not in five years NOW

janfromthebruce

theleftyinvestor wrote:

Stockholm wrote:

Is there an "anti-car" vote?

There absolutely is, at least in Toronto. There are people watching the ONDP and saying "If you're so focused on helping cars, you're anti-environment and GTFO."

You know leftyinvestor, I am a long term NDP member and supporter. I don't have a choice in transportation. I live in a town and work in another town. My partner works in a different place too. The only transportation is a bus service to cities, 1x per day. Ditto to Owen Sound.

When in town, I bike or walk. I am not anti car and try to live a sustainable live style. So my home has geothermal, and is extremely energy efficient. We also use a clean burning wood stove. Do you have geothermal and burn wood? No, why not?

Where I am going with this is that outside of large urban centres we don't have "other" transportation choices and thus we pay for insurance. These "resource" areas - rural - sustain urban areas because "farms feed cities". Do you grow your own food? No? Why not?

So one can perhaps act pure when outside your environment there are others who are providing your community with those other resources in which are necessary but just can't happen in population dense areas.

And rural, we have to fight factory farming, corporate industrial wind turbines and other things to sustain those urban cities. Lake Huron, for example is being ruined by run off from those factory farms. Oh, the OMB overrides bylaws rural municipalities try to impose, on set backs for those inefficient industrial turbines, those factory farms and so on.

It appears, sometimes, that some lifestyles and choices are easier when others, down stream, are having to provide those "invisible" resources one just takes for granted.

So I do appreciate my car insurance going down. It doesn't mean I'm going to increase my driving around. It does mean that I may have additional income to lesson my environmental footprint in a different way.

Off my soapbox now.

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Stockholm wrote:

I'm 100% in favour of expanding public transirt as much as possible but the fact is that even if we spent 10 BILLION a year for the next 30 years - all of us would be dead before the public transit system in southern Ontario would extensive enough to allow everyone to have the choice of not driving. Meanwhile a lot of working class families need relief from usurious insurance rates NOW, not in five years NOW

I agree that car insurance rates are too high.   We could use some of that public auto insurance.   Perhaps some day the ONDP will finally win power and will...oh yeah I forgot about that.

In any case if the ONDP agreed to spend even one billion a year for the next 30 years on public transit that would be a bold initiative.   But the ONDP isn't into bold these days.

"Don't let them tell you that it can't be done" - Jack Layton

theleftyinvestor

janfromthebruce wrote:

You know leftyinvestor, I am a long term NDP member and supporter. I don't have a choice in transportation. I live in a town and work in another town. My partner works in a different place too. The only transportation is a bus service to cities, 1x per day. Ditto to Owen Sound.

When in town, I bike or walk. I am not anti car and try to live a sustainable live style. So my home has geothermal, and is extremely energy efficient. We also use a clean burning wood stove. Do you have geothermal and burn wood? No, why not?

Where I am going with this is that outside of large urban centres we don't have "other" transportation choices and thus we pay for insurance. These "resource" areas - rural - sustain urban areas because "farms feed cities". Do you grow your own food? No? Why not?

So one can perhaps act pure when outside your environment there are others who are providing your community with those other resources in which are necessary but just can't happen in population dense areas.

I fully understand that "anti-car" is not a workable choice in huge swaths of the massive province that is Ontario. It's a big freaking place. I'm just saying that those voters exist, and they are in cities, and they are looking at the ONDP right now with frustration and puzzlement. Of course I haven't lived in Ontario since 2006 so I don't actually get a vote in the matter, but it does rub me the wrong way too.

I feel like there ought to be a better angle they could approach this from, to avoid backlash from urban voters. (If transit advocate Olivia Chow were to give her personal opinion of the demand for cutting auto insurance rates, do you think she'd approve?)

Stockholm

I think there are four kinds of people on this issue.

There is about 80% of the population who drive and would welcome an initiative that would force greedy insurance companies to reduce premiums. Then there is about 18% of the population who don't drive and don't care one way or the other.
Then there is less than 1% of the population who are so fanatically against the idea that anyone drives at all that they abhor any measure that makes the cost of operating a car less onerous.
Then there is another less than one percent who work for or own shares in insurance companies and want those companies to be able rip people off and make more money.

lagatta

Oh cripes.

Not to mention the people who are so lacking in imagination that they can't conceive of a mobility solution that doesn't destroy our planet.

Unionist

Stockholm wrote:
I think there are four kinds of people on this issue.

Note how Stockholm tries to rig the debate? He left out other kinds of people:

5. People who desperately yearn for a party that stands for changing the ground rules of the society, taking away political power and economic monopoly from the extremely wealthy, and empowering the vast majority who work (or denied the possibility) and who are marginalized in the current scheme of things.

6. People who face huge social, health, economic, and governance problems in their neighbourhoods, their streets, their schools, their workplaces, and can't believe that the party which purports to reflect their interests takes up symptomatic gimmick issues like taxes on home heating, insurance premiums (and you might add bank service charges, credit card interest rates, etc.).

7. People who remember that the ONDP promised to nationalize auto insurance and broke that promise, who see the success and lower premiums in those provinces where it was accomplished, and who are still wondering why promises should not be kept.

... and I'm sure that there are other people that Stockholm left out, probably for lack of space or time.

The ONDP is taking a disappointing path, by not tackling courageously the questions that will be meaningful to people's lives, even though they may cause momentary headaches for their spin doctors and false friends.

ETA: Whoops, I cross-posted with lagatta. See? I was right. There are more categories.

 

theleftyinvestor

Perhaps if they were to advocate for an across-the-board 15% cut, but also give individual municpalities the option of levying some of the savings to support their transit systems (and this funding may not be used for car infrastructure).

mersh

Well, car/anti-car tirades aside, can we expect to see an actual transportation strategy emerge from the ONDP soon? The Toronto Board of Trade has offered up a series of what are mostly user fees (dressed up as consumption taxes), which effectively hive off regional infrastructure from the broader provincial tax pool. Horvath has promised to cut corporate tax loopholes to the tune of $1.6 billion, if I read the news correctly, but this still falls short of the proposed $2 billion a year needed for Metrolinx's GTHA scheme. And there's no guarantee from anyone of any provincial funding over the longer term. (Remember how Metrolinx's budget, and Toronto's Transit City budgets were cut.)

I certainly don't think Horvath = Ford, but I'm hoping the speaking points can move away from tax cuts and short-term populism and towards something more thought-out. The Liberals have developed a comprehensive network of legislation and policies (based fundamentally on continued economic growth over ecological preservation and public-sector investment & management). So whatever happens after the next election, those who govern will have to either engage with Metrolinx, Places to Grow, etc. or jettison them and start from scratch.

 

lagatta

The point is certainly not to "abhor" drivers who have no practical choice, but to provide a better public transport policy, one that can also protect and create jobs; building trams, light trains and buses, operating these, creating better infrastructure for public transport as well as for cyclists and pedestrians.

The lion's share of pollution from cars comes from people driving in metropolitan areas, not the relatively small number of drivers in agricultural and resource-extraction areas. Of course there is another problem known as long-haul trucking; it would take a hell of a lot of political will to bring back the railway as the main mover of goods, with feeder trucks from trains.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

mersh wrote:

Well, car/anti-car tirades aside, can we expect to see an actual transportation strategy emerge from the ONDP soon? The Toronto Board of Trade has offered up a series of what are mostly user fees (dressed up as consumption taxes), which effectively hive off regional infrastructure from the broader provincial tax pool. Horvath has promised to cut corporate tax loopholes to the tune of $1.6 billion, if I read the news correctly, but this still falls short of the proposed $2 billion a year needed for Metrolinx's GTHA scheme. And there's no guarantee from anyone of any provincial funding over the longer term. (Remember how Metrolinx's budget, and Toronto's Transit City budgets were cut.)

The point is that the Toronto Board of Trade has at least recognized that there is a problem and has offered up some kind of policy direction.  The ONDP has done neither.

Where is the ONDP's long term vision for financing and building public transit infrastructure in Ontario?

What I see is the ONDP making a move to lower the cost of bad behaviour and having no comprehensive plan to make it easier for people to engage in good behaviour.

Labelling people who disagree with the ONDP's policy priorities as being "anti-car" smacks of Rob Ford's "stop the war on the car" rhetoric.   So I don't really see a whole lot of difference between the two in the final analysis.

The other thing to look at is the question of jobs...and good paying unionized jobs.

When the TTC made it's last major purchase of transit vehicles, the labour movement in Toronto fought a successful campaign to make sure that the vehicles were built by union labour in Canada (Thunder Bay to be exact).   Jobs were created in a smaller northern Ontario city because the labour movement in the big city fought to make it happen.

 

 

mersh

"Labelling people who disagree with the ONDP's policy priorities as being "anti-car" smacks of Rob Ford's "stop the war on the car" rhetoric.   So I don't really see a whole lot of difference between the two in the final analysis.

The other thing to look at is the question of jobs...and good paying unionized jobs.

When the TTC made it's last major purchase of transit vehicles, the labour movement in Toronto fought a successful campaign to make sure that the vehicles were built by union labour in Canada (Thunder Bay to be exact).   Jobs were created in a smaller northern Ontario city because the labour movement in the big city fought to make it happen."

 

I agree with you. I hope you didn't interpret my post as a pledge of allegiance to the ONDP, heh heh. And yes, we should be mobilizing provincial and regional policies to support employment - not fostering conditions for multinational investment and undermining wages and state regulation. The funny thing is, the provincial NDP has some of this stuff kicking around in previous policy statements, which would be relatively easy to cut and paste into a transportation plan. A colleague of mine compared this latest round of populism with what the NDP's been doing in BC. I need to read up on that, but if it means trying to out-liberal (or is it out-neoliberal?) the Liberals, then we're going to see and hear a lot more of Wynne in the future.

theleftyinvestor

radiorahim wrote:

Labelling people who disagree with the ONDP's policy priorities as being "anti-car" smacks of Rob Ford's "stop the war on the car" rhetoric.   So I don't really see a whole lot of difference between the two in the final analysis.

To be clear, when I said the "anti-car" vote I meant people who proudly define themselves as anti-car. Heck, that's a term of endearment out here in BC. When the Vancouver Province polled with the horribly biased question "Do you support Vision Vancouver's anti-car ideology?" (that's our mayor's political party), they still got 77% of respondents saying Yes.

mark_alfred

Unionist wrote:

Um, sorry for the levity - I just wanted to recommend [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ontario/ont-ndp-leader-andrea-horwath-will-b...'s last post[/url].

 

The link didn't work correctly for me.  It went to a post by jerrym made June 30, 2012 - 2:17am rather than anything by lagatta.  The post by jerrym was astute.

Brachina

http://ontariondp.com/en/ndp-motion-puts-gaming-on-the-right-path

Another NDP victory.

As for anti car people, many people, including low income people depend on thier car, so those anti car people need to grow the fuck up.

And while I don't drive I have seen sooo many dangerous bike riders that break the rules and ride dangerously that its not fair to act like its only drivers who can be irresponsible.

And remember its the drivers who pay the gas tax and the like for roads to be mantained, which benifits the bike riders

Also these bike riders would be singing a different tune if they had to pay insurence on there bikes, which honestly they should if they want to use the road.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Brachina wrote:

And remember its the drivers who pay the gas tax and the like for roads to be mantained, which benifits the bike riders Also these bike riders would be singing a different tune if they had to pay insurence on there bikes, which honestly they should if they want to use the road.

Do you realize that insurance rates are based on the value of the car you drive.  As for the right wing talking point about bike riders not paying for the roads that is just laughable.  Roads are built and mostly maintained from general revenues.  We all subsidize the roads for car drivers no matter whether we drive 500 or 50,000 kilometers a year or don't drive at all.

In BC we call it blacktop politics. The Socreds were masters at paving roads in important ridings just before elections were called.

Brachina

Look at the end of the day I know alot of people who will benifit from this, stop acting like its a bad thing and enjoy IT. The good guys won one, actually two.

theleftyinvestor

Brachina wrote:
And remember its the drivers who pay the gas tax and the like for roads to be mantained, which benifits the bike riders Also these bike riders would be singing a different tune if they had to pay insurence on there bikes, which honestly they should if they want to use the road.

Also it's the drivers who cause the most damage to the surface of the roads, necessitating such payment. Not to mention that in general driving is still heavily subsidized. And most residents contribute in some way to municipal property tax whether directly or through the landlords they pay rent to.

Okay I think I proved my point though - the auto insurance issue is the site of an ideological fault line that goes right to the party's core. Pull a hundred random Ontario New Democrats into a big room and ask them how they feel about prioritizing a cut in auto insurance. You will get a lot of dissent. And if the debate goes on long enough, they may well start telling each other to shut up or to "grow the fuck up" or some such. Which is not what you want happening when the party needs to prove itself strong and united.

So I think that fault line could have been handled with more care by the party leadership.

North Star

theleftyinvestor wrote:

Brachina wrote:
And remember its the drivers who pay the gas tax and the like for roads to be mantained, which benifits the bike riders Also these bike riders would be singing a different tune if they had to pay insurence on there bikes, which honestly they should if they want to use the road.

Also it's the drivers who cause the most damage to the surface of the roads, necessitating such payment. Not to mention that in general driving is still heavily subsidized. And most residents contribute in some way to municipal property tax whether directly or through the landlords they pay rent to.

Okay I think I proved my point though - the auto insurance issue is the site of an ideological fault line that goes right to the party's core. Pull a hundred random Ontario New Democrats into a big room and ask them how they feel about prioritizing a cut in auto insurance. You will get a lot of dissent. And if the debate goes on long enough, they may well start telling each other to shut up or to "grow the fuck up" or some such. Which is not what you want happening when the party needs to prove itself strong and united.

So I think that fault line could have been handled with more care by the party leadership.

There is disension and I know a lot of New Democrats who are not pleased about this. Either they think it's a silly issue or at least woefully inadequate since the party once stood for public auto-insurance. Add this to the botched response to Horwath over transit funding and the fact that Rosario Marchese basically hinted that no one in the party talks to him about transit despite the fact he is their "Urban Transport" critic and you have to wonder WTF is going on. Oh wait I know it's "affordable change that puts people first."

Now I don't disagree with Horwath on some of her points about how these revenue tools are regressive. Regressive consumption taxes are a hallmark of neoliberalism. That being said, she should have had a plan. Closing these loopholes are not enough. Horwath is in a difficult spot - she is trying to be populist and fiscally responsible while the centre/centre-left in the GTA made up of Liberals and independent progressives are ready to accept these shitty revenue tools. I think that's a mistake and a sign the bankruptcy of what is considered mainstream "progressive" thought these days. Of course Horwath has boxed herself in and is basically unable to say that the reason we can't afford transit like the old days is because of 20 years of tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations. So while I agree with the main kernel of Horwath's points she is unable to offer a real solution to the issue that would provide the GTA with the transit in really needs.

Michelle

Brachina wrote:
As for anti car people, many people, including low income people depend on thier car, so those anti car people need to grow the fuck up. And while I don't drive I have seen sooo many dangerous bike riders that break the rules and ride dangerously that its not fair to act like its only drivers who can be irresponsible. And remember its the drivers who pay the gas tax and the like for roads to be mantained, which benifits the bike riders Also these bike riders would be singing a different tune if they had to pay insurence on there bikes, which honestly they should if they want to use the road.

You want to get ugly about this?  I can get right down there with you.  You want me to "grow the fuck up"?  How about fuck you.  It's dippers like you that have almost made me give up on the party completely - I haven't renewed my membership in years because of the bullshit direction and dumbass moves the party has made over the past few years, which people like you cheerlead constantly.  The last few elections I've held my nose and voted for them, but the last time I bothered to help canvass federally or provincially was Jack's last election campaign here in T-D - and I didn't bother for a couple of provincial and federal campaigns before that when I lived in Davenport riding.  Federally, I've questioned whether to even bother voting for them since Mulcair got in - and I've been questioning that for a few years when it comes to the provincial party.  I came about thisclose to refusing my ballot in the last ONDP election (and if the Ontario Socialist Party had been running in my riding, I'd have parked my protest vote with them).  How not surprising that you supported Mulcair during the leadership election.  That turned out pretty much how I predicted, now you might as well change the federal party colour from orange to red (and I'm not talking socialist red).  And the ONDP has been following suit - pretty awesome, all right.  You are certainly the future of the party, I'll give you that.

I'm not "anti-car".  I got my learner's permit on my 16th birthday, got my driver's license a month and a half after that and have been driving ever since.  I went to a rural high school and pretty much everyone learned to drive when they turned 16.  Even though I don't own a car, I drive semi-regularly now (using a car-sharing program when I need a car) AND I use an e-bike, but most of all?  I walk and use transit to go just about everywhere.  I take transit here in Toronto, and I did when I lived in a smaller city.  Transit that is woefully underfunded both here and in every other city and town that has a transit system. 

And it's fucking scandalous that it's way, way cheaper for me to rent a car and pay for gas when I'm visiting my family out of town (and yes, I wasn't born or bred in Toronto - I have lived in small towns and small cities most of my life, and most of my family still lives in rural to semi-rural areas) rather than take the train, which is prohibitively expensive even when they have supposed "50% off" deals, and the trains don't even stop in the towns where I'm going.  It's a fucking scandal that it's going to be cheaper for rr and I to drive an Autoshare car to Montreal this weekend than it is to take VIA Rail, even with their 50% off deals.  (And yes, I checked.)  But the main reason we're taking a car?  We'd like to stop and visit my family in Trenton and Picton on the way there and back.  And guess what?  Our rail system doesn't go to Picton at all, and only stops in Trenton maybe once a day.  But don't try and do anything about that, NDP or ONDP.  Oh heck no, that might be progressive or something.

So both radiorahim and I also "pay the gas tax" when we use cars, not to mention that we pay lots of other taxes to keep the roads running.  You think that car drivers pay their whole freight to use the roads?  Grab a fucking clue.  The roads are subsidized hugely by taxpayers.  I subsidize roads a hell of a lot more than non-transit-using car drivers subsidize my public transit or any other city's public transit. I'd love for at least some of my taxes to be subsidizing big plans to connect cities and small towns (and even rural areas) with viable transit options.  Instead, the ONDP is focused on maintaining a private system of car insurance (instead of public insurance, which the fucking wimps gave up on 20 years ago) and fiddling a bit with the price in order to encourage more car driving.  The best thing the ONDP could dream up to put in front of the Liberals in exchange for their support was to lower the price a bit on private car insurance.  There was nothing more important than that that they could imagine.

Keep dreaming smaller, ONDP.

MegB

Brachina, you're setting the tone for a nasty disintegration of this thread. Back off. Try expressing your POV without crapping on the opposing view(s), K? 

Michelle

To be fair, I gave it back to her twice as bad and I shouldn't have taken the bait - it's what I always told people when I was moderating!  Heh.  Wish I could say I was sorry for what I said, but I'm not.  But I am sorry for making life difficult for you to moderate, RW - I'm just as responsible for any disintegrating of the thread.  Anyhow, no worries, I'm outta here until after the long weekend!  Not flouncing, just travelling.

Have a good weekend, y'all.  I'm off to drive a car to Trenton, Picton, and Montreal like the good "anti-car" person I am. ;)

lagatta

The most polite and careful driver does far more harm to the environment (and endangers people and other living things more, due to the very physics of the car) than the worst lycra lout cyclist, not that I am excusing anyone's antisocial behaviour.

We want to ENCOURAGE cycling, not prevent people who can't afford insurance to take to the road. And those include people a lot poorer than poor people who can afford a beater car and especially the gasoline it consumes. Yes, of course there should be enforcement of laws against cyclists who violate traffic laws - the number of them has actually risen considerably here - BECAUSE the authorities are taking cyclists seriously. But also against drivers who turn right on a forward only arrow, careening around even when there are parents with small children in strollers, or who open their door in the face of cyclists.

I AM proudly anti-car. I certainly recognise that, UNFORTUNATELY, our traffic system and our town planning has been so criminally designed as to make driving one of the damned polluting things necessary for many households, even in urban areas. The question is not attacking people who have to drive - did you even read what I wrote? - but to find solutions that cause less pollution, death and mayhem, and some that actually improve public health such as town planning that promotes walking and cycling (and the adaptations thereof needed for people with disabilities).

I'm proudly anti-car in the same sense that I'm proudly against some of the evils and harmful technologies society has been able to overcome and those we still fight. We needed to protect buildings from fire, and used asbestos for that - and here in Québec, many workers and their communities lived from mining and transforming that mineral. Those aren't evil people, any more than car workers are. They are just normal working people. But we have found alternatives. That is what we have to do with respect to the car and especially with car-centric planning. And convert car plants to industry producing sustainable transport, and protect autoworkers' jobs.

Even in small towns (at least in Québec and Eastern Ontario, the areas I know best - I know Prairie planning is later and different) one finds a perfectly walkable centre, ringed with an area of car-dependent sprawl. These aren't necessarily farms - most are just houses on very large lots, making it impossible for their owners to walk into town for errands or to go to school.

Here is a long, but interesting and well-illustrated article from the sustainable cities collective about examples in Northern Europe. These also show mid-rise housing that fosters walkable and cyclable districts in lieu of of bungalow sprawl or the absurdly-high condo towers we see going up in Toronto. Amsterdam is full of housing about that height:

http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/luis-rodriguez/131416/road-map-making-our-communities-more-liveable-examples-germany-and-scandinavia?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Sustainable+Cities+Collective+%28all+posts%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Saga Cité (Saga City in English) is a short animated film from Québec on town planning to face climate change, and also improve the health and lives of the townspeople. It is the story of a town like the ones Michelle described - it looks like one of the old industrial towns between Montréal and Québec - not a major metropolis. It is worth a view for adults and young people alike. http://www.sagacite.org/

Things can change. If not, what on earth is the point of espousing socialism?

Brachina

The problem isn't the party leadership. Congratulations rabble rousers on taking lemonade and turning it into lemons.

lagatta

I do hope some people are interested in the links I posted on sustainable town planning and breaking the chains of carcentric development.

 

theleftyinvestor

Rebecca West wrote:

Brachina, you're setting the tone for a nasty disintegration of this thread. Back off. Try expressing your POV without crapping on the opposing view(s), K? 

I'm sorry if I was the match that made the gas leak explode...

Brachina wrote:
The problem isn't the party leadership. Congratulations rabble rousers on taking lemonade and turning it into lemons.

Let's take the tone down a few more notches here. Can you and I agree, at least, with the following statements:

- Policies that reduce the cost of driving are a site of conflict within the Ontario NDP.

- If the party is going to have enough unity to make election gains, they need to foster this unity rather than letting supporters fight with each other about who is the "good progressive" and the "bad progressive".

North Star

Brachina wrote:
The problem isn't the party leadership. Congratulations rabble rousers on taking lemonade and turning it into lemons.

Seriously - start talking to members active in the party. There is a leadership issue. This concern with the discomfort with the populist turn isn't vilification from Liberal apologists like Martin Regg Cohn in The Star. Horwath has certainly built the profile and support for the ONDP among the public, that is not in question. However, it's a house of cards that could collapse ever so easily.

Aristotleded24

Michelle wrote:
I'm not "anti-car".  I got my learner's permit on my 16th birthday, got my driver's license a month and a half after that and have been driving ever since.  I went to a rural high school and pretty much everyone learned to drive when they turned 16.  Even though I don't own a car, I drive semi-regularly now (using a car-sharing program when I need a car) AND I use an e-bike, but most of all?  I walk and use transit to go just about everywhere.  I take transit here in Toronto, and I did when I lived in a smaller city.  Transit that is woefully underfunded both here and in every other city and town that has a transit system. 

And it's fucking scandalous that it's way, way cheaper for me to rent a car and pay for gas when I'm visiting my family out of town (and yes, I wasn't born or bred in Toronto - I have lived in small towns and small cities most of my life, and most of my family still lives in rural to semi-rural areas) rather than take the train, which is prohibitively expensive even when they have supposed "50% off" deals, and the trains don't even stop in the towns where I'm going.  It's a fucking scandal that it's going to be cheaper for rr and I to drive an Autoshare car to Montreal this weekend than it is to take VIA Rail, even with their 50% off deals.  (And yes, I checked.)  But the main reason we're taking a car?  We'd like to stop and visit my family in Trenton and Picton on the way there and back.  And guess what?  Our rail system doesn't go to Picton at all, and only stops in Trenton maybe once a day.  But don't try and do anything about that, NDP or ONDP.  Oh heck no, that might be progressive or something.

So both radiorahim and I also "pay the gas tax" when we use cars, not to mention that we pay lots of other taxes to keep the roads running.  You think that car drivers pay their whole freight to use the roads?  Grab a fucking clue.  The roads are subsidized hugely by taxpayers.  I subsidize roads a hell of a lot more than non-transit-using car drivers subsidize my public transit or any other city's public transit. I'd love for at least some of my taxes to be subsidizing big plans to connect cities and small towns (and even rural areas) with viable transit options.  Instead, the ONDP is focused on maintaining a private system of car insurance (instead of public insurance, which the fucking wimps gave up on 20 years ago) and fiddling a bit with the price in order to encourage more car driving.  The best thing the ONDP could dream up to put in front of the Liberals in exchange for their support was to lower the price a bit on private car insurance.  There was nothing more important than that that they could imagine.

Great post Michelle. I'll also add that the environmental costs of car dependency go beyond the roads. The construction of large parking lots needed to place these cars is an issue as well. When you put that kind of blacktop (often over areas that used to be wetland) precipitation just tends to run off and swell the rivers. Not only does this cause a problem with flash-flooding in the spring or after a heavy downpour, but once that water runs off, it's not available and the ground will dry out  more easily. Yes, climate change is contributing to drier periods punctuated by intense storms, but if there's no place for the water to go, then there's really nothing to offset the dry times.

As for car insurance, I don't think it's ultimately the car insurance cost that makes or breaks whether someone owns a car, and I'm not sure we'll necessarily see more people switching to driving because car insurance got cheaper. I think the fact that large numbers of people drive to parking lots to get on a train for their daily commute, and paying twice, underscores that point. I think "regulation" is a silly triangulation strategy, kind of a half-hearted attempt to reach out to those still alienated by the failure of the Bob Rae administration to bring in public auto insurance. There may be room for compromise on other areas, but I think in this case it's better to "think big" (public auto insurance) or go home. And as the most important issue? I'm not sure.

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