Wente Watch

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wente, the faux citizen

A good citizen pays attention to what is happening in their community and tries to keep informed. A faux citizen, like Margaret Wente, engages in silly screeds.

Wente believes that Toronto business taxes are too high, and this is the fault of the mayor and council. Would that be the same mayor and council who earlier this year approved a 40 percent cut in business taxes over the next 15 years?

As for gridlock, what does Wente propose be done about it? She has only contempt for public transit. Does she propose bulldozing existing homes and businesses to free up land for new expressways? Who is going to pay for them? Not the private sector - look up "407" in the rip-off file.

The province bailing out Toronto is not a favour it does for the city. It is a consequence of the policies of Wente's old hero, Mike Harris. It is he who downloaded expenses onto the municipalities without sharing tax revenue, and large cities were the hardest hit.

Wente might spare a word to curse Harris' megacity plan, which failed in nearly all its objectives. It did not hold down taxes or spending, it did not improve city services. It didn't even rein in the old left-wing downtown council Harris so despised - today the NDP holds the mayoralty and a plurality of councillors in the entire metro.

If Wente wants to take lessons from Calgary, she might want to start with its highly regarded public transit system, including inexpensively-built LRT lines and free downtown fares. Discovering oil wouldn't hurt either.

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