Jack Layton and Gloria Kovach pretend to have credibility on transit
The front page headline in yesterday's local paper is "Jack Layton promising transit cash". Interesting, considering he has no power to do so. It comes from an editorial board interview that the paper held on Tuesday with Jack Layton and Tom King (who the paper all but endorsed today), once a respected author, now Guelph's NDP candidate for the on-going by-election. The NDP's plan is simple: get people to drive more gas guzzlers farther, and use a tiny fraction of the increased gas tax revenue to placate transit.
For a party whose very survival depends on a healthy auto industry, their plan does a marvelous job of achieving their goals. The plan is to give one cent of the gas tax to transit. It's a paltry, essentially meaningless commitment, as its success depends on its failure. The more fuel people use in their cars, the more money we give to transit to get them out of their cars. If people switch to transit, that money goes away, transit becomes underfunded, and they return to their cars. Brilliant strategy from the NDP.
If the NDP were serious about transit and the environment, which they most assuredly are not, their push would be on endangered plants like the GM Oshawa truck plant to switch to the manufacture of light rail vehicles, busses, and that type of vehicle. The factory workers not needed to manufacture the smaller number of larger transit vehicles would certainly be needed to drive the vehicles in cities across the country.
If the market forces are not calling for that, then that is what the NDP and every other political party should be working to solve by ending the subsidising of cars and trucks through highway construction, and investing in our woefully inadequate transit infrastructure. Promising to spend one penny from each litre of gas used in cars on public transit, which doesn't even come close to matching the governments' collective subsidies for the cars burning the gas, is disingenuous and not a real transit solution. It is nothing more than politicking and solves absolutely nothing.
Not that Guelph CPC candidate Gloria Kovach has much more to offer on this score. Earlier this year, Kovach insulted Guelph, transit, and the environment by voting against public transit. But yesterday, she told the Guelph paper:
Investment in public transit is important to reducing our carbon footprint, Kovach said, adding the last budget from the Conservative government included $500 million for that purpose.
"That will be helping us here in the city of Guelph in our local transit, and also looking at interconnectivity between communities in the region, and also will help in bringing light rail to the city," she said.
On February 19th of this year, Kovach voted against the motion: "THAT 20 minute transit service be approved to commence July 7, 2008 from the start of service until the end of the PM rush." She voted in favour of leaving busses at the ridiculous 40-minute cycle they had at that time. Fortunately most of the rest of council does support public transit, and 20 minute service now runs. Fortunately for Guelph residents, she was in the minority. For her new position, I guess she had to ask Stephen Harper: "hey, what's my opinion today?"
Posted at 10:29 on July 31, 2008
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