OneCity Transit – Letter to Mayor Rob Ford and Toronto City Councillors

1. Just a comment about the plastic bag debate: I would have preferred to have the fee on plastic bags raised to something like $0.25 per bag and the revenue raised used to plant trees and other environmental projects. Other jurisdictions such as Ireland who have done this have seen plastic bag use reduced some 90%. It is a sign of ignorance of the damage caused to wildlife in our streams, lakes and oceans – worldwide – to still be in favour of ‘free’ plastic bags – which are not free at all; just that the so-called ‘external harm cost’ is never factored in.

2. While you have not commented on the latest Council issue to come up in the media, I approve very much of the ‘OneCity’ Transit proposals of Councillor and Chair of the TTC Karen Stintz and Councillor and TTC Vice-Chair Glen De Baeremaeker. These 30 year plans and the required property taxes and participation of both upper levels of government may need to be perfected but this is the right direction and it needs to happen as soon as possible, using some of the new higher assessment fees that are due soon.

Torontonians and citizens of other Canadian cities have no time to wait for expanded transit. Citizens are already voting with their feet – recent records of TTC use indicate a higher than predicted usage. The same is true for GO Transit. We are already being assaulted with what will soon be seen as a ‘perfect storm’ of warming due to climate change – meaning there must be a carbon tax to drive down fuel burning; peak oil, as we run out of the easy to find fossil fuel, and even peak food, as food prices have already been driven up by increased transport costs and grains being sold to make ethanol – competing with grains for food.

I recommend to you – two books by Jeff Rubin, former Chief Economist for CIBC – Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller and more recently  The End of Growth.

According to Mr. Rubin the predicted traffic gridlock is not the worry, but the cost of driving when gasoline is $7/gallon or $1.85/litre or even higher – which is going to cause a lot of drivers to – ‘get off the road’ – as he puts it. When that happens people will demand transit that will be non-existent. What will you City Councillors who oppose this plan say to your constituents then?

If you are opposing ‘OneCity’ because of a couple of points of property tax that will hardly be noticed once underway, then you need to get out of the way because the people will trample you to get transit.

I predict that 30 years for the ‘OneCity’ plan is far too long a time frame. It should have been underway already. Do not allow such ignorant media such as the Toronto Sun to influence you. For the sake of all Torontonians and their children, please support the ‘OneCity’ Transit plan.

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About Murray Lumley

Board member of Conscience Canada; Christian Peacemaker Teams Reservist; retired teacher; grandfather
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