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With polls indicating a majority of suburbanites supported the Hybrid, a suburban councillor would have to be brave to back the Boulevard. The handful that did presented a mix of stated motives. John Filion (Willowdale) said he was reluctant to impose “Willowdale culture,” by which he meant car culture, upon the downtown. Paul Ainslie, whose ward in southeast Scarboro is as far out as you can get, said his residents were mainly concerned about the Hybrid’s cost. Besides, they’ve got a viable alternative since GO increased to every half hour along the lakeshore.
Mayor Tory's choice was not a courageous one. It was the safest one. Keep in mind, being mayor is the first solid gig he’s ever had, and it fits him to a T. Before that, he had a lot of flops, from directing Kim Campbell’s federal campaign in 1993 to running for premier of Ontario in 2007. So it appears Mayor Tory has decided he needs to stay very visibly onside with that portion of Ford Nation that came over to him in the mayoralty race last October. He may need those particular voters again, especially if the bros launch a comeback. He savvies that Ford Nation is more about road lanes than gravy trains.
Why we provide free infrastructure for auto industry products is another question that generally goes unexplored, altho you’d think we'd be interested since the automakers are foreign-owned.
Some councillors make like they want to bring in tolls, but that’ll be the day. Dave Miller had to back down when he proposed tolling the DVP in 2003. Then he introduced a $60 car registration fee which was so resented that we ended up with you-know-who as mayor. A toll debate would be even more divisive and dispiriting than the Gardiner East debate, since it affects more people. The very fact that the Hybrid was approved is a warning that Council will find it difficult to support tolls, or congestion pricing, or any sincere approach to the car problem. It was an indication, in fact, that council does not believe that the great City of Toronto will be able to solve the car problem for generations to come.
Pam McConnell, whose ward the Gardiner East adorns, asserts that despite the council vote, “the Hybrid will never happen.” The project stands to be dragged before the Environment Ministry and maybe the Municipal Board and maybe the courts. Whether that will add up to a never, I don't know. McConnell, by the way, is the lady that you-know-who barrelled into on council floor in late 2013.