Comment 50986

By John Neary (registered) | Posted October 31, 2010 at 19:15:58

Interesting discussion. I was blissfully away from my internet connection for the past 48 hours, so I've been reading it all at once.

I probably should have picked a different city council vote to illustrate my thesis, as I did not intend this article to be about public transit. Rather, I was trying to illustrate how the urban versus suburban/rural narrative is used to justify a systemic under-representation of low-income neighbourhoods on city council. The HSR vote was an example of how that under-representation skews our municipal decision-making in a way that works counter to the interests of the majority of residents.

thompsmr's map raises an additional point of interest. Voter turnout correlates with income -- for example, in Ward 2 the highest voter turnout was in Durand and along the waterfront, and the lowest was in Beasley, north Corktown, and along Main St. West -- so ward councillors tend to adopt platforms that are tailored towards their higher-income constituents.

Richard DenOtter and Andrea: I did not mean to paint the lower city wards as slums or their residents as a monolithic block of "the poor." (Nor did I mean to paint the suburbs as elitist gated communities, or the rural communities as some other stereotype.) I myself am an affluent resident of Ward 2. But it is nevertheless true that (1) the lower city (and north Mountain) have (in aggregate) less affluent residents than the suburbs and rural areas, (2) the political interests of citizens tend to vary with income, and (3) our system of wards disproportionately allocates seats to richer neighbourhoods. That's all.

And I wrote this article because, as a voter in ward 2, I'm sick of politicians proposing solutions to poverty while being silent on the political under-representation of neighbourhoods (like mine) that are affected by poverty.

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