Politics - Provincial

Subways and Conservatives: Wait, What?

By Ted Mitchell
Published October 30, 2013

I need some help here. What is going on with Conservatives and subways?

I've always chalked up Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's opposition to the Scarborough LRT to his hating anything remotely associated with former Mayor David Miller, rather than a defensible economic argument for subways.

Subways are a big ticket project. Flashy, sexy, pricey, as big-L Liberal as anything you can imagine. Not great in terms of bang for the buck. Not at all, well, conservative.

But Rob Ford is probably not too concerned about hypocrisy, as countless juicy episodes in the media have shown.

Now Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leader Tim Hudak has jumped on the bandwagon of subways in preference to LRT.

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is pledging to cut back the province's transit-building plans, and would cancel a raft of suburban LRTs in favour of extending Toronto's subway system.

He wants to build the downtown relief line - the TTC's priority project - extend the Bloor-Danforth subway in Scarborough and bring the Yonge line north to Richmond Hill.

Maybe he hates David Miller as much as Ford does.

What is the common factor that attracts two prominent Conservatives to an essentially Liberal project? Maybe it is the birthright of driving personal vehicles no matter what the consequences, aiming to bring down average vehicle occupancy from 1.2 to as close to 1 as humanly possible.

Or am I missing something?

Ted Mitchell is a Hamilton resident, emergency physician and sometimes agitator who recently completed a BEng at McMaster University. He is fascinated by aspects of our culture that are harmful, but avoid serious public discussion.


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By Torontoguy (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2013 at 08:16:32

People are going to need a way to get to the planned eco disaster airport in North Pickering. The subway will be used to show that infrastructure has been planned.
We don't need another airport in the Southern Ontario. We need more clean air.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted October 30, 2013 at 09:01:13

Today's Conservatives are not conservative in the traditional sense, I'd say they are more anti-European.
LRT is something that works well in a number of European cities (in addition to many in the US that have adopted it). Hence the unexplained disdain for the more "conservative" (in the traditional sense) public transit solution.

We see the same positioning with respect to cycling. While it is quite clearly the most conservative way of getting around in urban areas (again using the traditional definition of conservative), the fact that Europeans do it seems to bother them.

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By Kevin Love (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2013 at 19:33:01 in reply to Comment 93960

I agree. Certainly the Conservative party is not conservative when it comes to financial management. Witness the current unsustainable federal government deficit. After seven consecutive years of Liberal governments running budget surpluses and even providing forecasts of when Canada's national debt would be entirely paid off!

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 30, 2013 at 09:41:53

Smooth flow of automobile and truck traffic is sacrosanct. Subways get public transit off the road, so it improves the smooth flow of automobile/truck traffic. Therefore, subways are the best kind of public transit. And as for the problem that you can't service as many areas with a subway? People in non-subway locations should just buy cars.

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By recalculating (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2013 at 09:57:33

Don't forget, subways are super expensive compared to LRT, so expensive that most just won't get built--especially since Hudak says he won't raise taxes or other revenue tools to pay for them. So subways are a Conservative will-o-the-wisp, something we can waste a lot of time and get lost chasing instead of building real transit we can really afford. Remember Rob Ford saying "subways! subways! subways!" over and over again? That's as far as their plan goes because they have no intention of actually going through with it.

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By movedtohamilton (registered) | Posted October 30, 2013 at 12:48:14

While we're at it, what's with sub sandwiches and bike lanes in Hamilton?


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By Odelia (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2013 at 15:21:44

spam comment deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2013-10-31 05:51:10

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By movedtohamilton (registered) | Posted October 30, 2013 at 21:40:50 in reply to Comment 93997

This is spam, en francais.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted October 30, 2013 at 16:17:02

An interesting editorial in today's Globe.


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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted October 30, 2013 at 22:34:26

At least Tim Hudak likes GO Transit, as does our mayor. When Harris was in, the PC's actually scrapped parts of the GO network (trains to Barrie and Guelph) which were only recovered after a decade of ridership growth. Given the scary possibility of another PC government, it's nice to know at least some forms of transit won't be set back 20 years.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted November 01, 2013 at 00:51:26

You aren't missing anything, it's an attempt to pander to the Toronto/Peel vote, and subways are clearly better for high class Toronto and is a more important battleground to win hearts and minds. As they hold 36 out of some 106 provincial seats I believe.

That's more then Hamilton (6 including Niagara West/Glanbrook and Burlington) Waterloo/Kitchener/Cambridge/Guelph (6) and Ottawa (7) combined. So screw these places and their LRTs.

Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2013-11-01 00:53:09

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