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Monday, February 08, 2010

OK, If You Say So

Michael Taube says that Rocco Rossi is the man to save Toronto. Even if he is a Liberal:

What makes Rossi my choice for mayor? His commitment to smaller government, fiscal prudence and protecting our municipal tax dollars.

Take Rossi's plan to sell off Toronto Hydro. This makes perfect sense.

First, there's no valid economic reason our city has to own or control a public utility.

Second, it would encourage more private-sector firms to enter the marketplace and offer competitive hydro rates. Third, Rossi estimates the sale of Toronto Hydro could generate around $2 billion – almost enough to pay off the city's hefty $2.4 billion debt, courtesy of Mayor David Miller.

Taube then highlights Rossi's other proposals, which include term limits for councillors, outsourcing for city services and professional management for the TTC. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. It's not that I object to any of this, it's all perfectly sensible stuff. If Rossi was running in Mississauga he'd have a strong chance, provided Hazel McCallion wasn't on the ballot. In Toronto? Oh, dear. 

The bit about professional management for the TTC, from the private sector no less, is almost too painful. He might as well call for privatizing the sidewalks, something Publius has been demanding for years. It's about as politically plausible. No disrespect to Rossi or Taube, but Toronto's productive classes are too busy producing to vote in municipal elections. So who votes? The government dependent classes. They're not going to like Rossi. 

Sell Toronto Hydro? Like the Queen selling the Crown jewels, or more accurately dismissing the footmen and courtiers. Big government owned utilities are wonderful engines of patronage. Professional management at the TTC? The first thing a professional manager would do is slash wages and dismiss featherbedded employees. Which would provoke "wildcat" strikes, work to rule and general chaos. Does Rossi have Thatcherite steel? Do Torontonians? If so why is he a member of the Liberal Party? Why is he in the nowhere's land of municipal politics, which to most professional politicos is two steps above joining a condo board. 

Saving Toronto will require breaking its overweening public sector unions, which function as a kind of fourth branch of municipal government. They're not interested in negotiating their surrender, which is how any sensible concession on wages and outsourcing will be seen. Public sector unions' principal interest is in extracting the maximum amount of economic rent. Is Rocco willing to rock the unions? Is he willing to fight the nastiest political war in this city's history? Against a council where at least third, probably closer to half of its members will oppose him tooth and nail? Will the voters of Toronto back him when the garbage is pilling up? When they take three hours to get to work, and another three back home? Will he fight them in the Beaches as well as in Chinatown? Let's see.

Posted by Richard Anderson on February 8, 2010 | Permalink

Comments

I'd support privatizing sidewalks. heh.

Posted by: Floyd Looney | 2010-02-08 8:37:44 AM


Toronto cannot be saved. It is an unfixable mess and a burden on others. I say tear down the city and return it to nature, then deport its population to their countries of origin, and give it back to the Natives.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-02-08 10:26:14 AM


Pike, the natives stole it from each other too so we will have to figure out the absolute first human race who set foot in the area, and give it to their descendants. If we cannot find them, then we should get rid of ALL the humans and leave the land forever more to be human free.

Posted by: TM | 2010-02-08 1:53:10 PM


"so we will have to figure out the absolute first human race who set foot in the area"

Why stop there? Send all the plants and animals back to the sea and return the land to its first true "owners", fungi.

Posted by: Baker | 2010-02-08 4:46:49 PM


Baker, why didn't I think of that?

Posted by: TM | 2010-02-08 5:21:32 PM


Ontario must be returned to its precolonial state. If the Indians fought over it before the foreigners arrived, then that's an inherent part of its past.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-02-08 6:02:16 PM


I was in agreement with ZP up until now, but I am with Baker on this one.

PUBLIUS, it's interesting that sometimes the small government ideas seem to come from the left.

Posted by: TM | 2010-02-08 8:08:40 PM


Ontario must be returned to its precolonial state. If the Indians fought over it before the foreigners arrived, then that's an inherent part of its past.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-02-08 6:02:16 PM

Most "experts" (love that word) believe natives are decendants from Siberian and chinese nomads that came across the Bering Strait.
Since they will own this country anyway at the rate we are outsourcing everything of value, why not just eliminate the native middle men and give it straight back to the chinese?.

Posted by: peterj | 2010-02-08 8:26:01 PM


peterj, you are right. The Chinese actually must own Canada!

Posted by: TM | 2010-02-08 8:56:37 PM


Mankind is believed to have originated in Africa.

Best to give it to them instead. This is what Gore and the UN have planned via phoney baloney carbon credits scam. Close our oilsands and plant trees in the Sahara.

Posted by: snowgirl | 2010-02-14 12:35:28 AM



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