By PAT WATSON
Heading into 2011, one of then newly-elected Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s New Year’s resolutions was to create a budget “that respects taxpayers” and to focus on “getting it passed”.
There is no question that Ford has been focused over the past year on the budget. Only his coaching of the football team at Don Bosco Catholic School seems to share his attention.
Now, heading into 2012, maybe Ford’s New Year’s resolution could include getting back to his original campaign promise of providing a balanced budget without making any cuts to services. Now’s there’s something that would win him support from his diminishing ‘Ford Nation’.
Toronto commuters would like to know that the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) will resolve, in 2012, not to cut vitally needed service on busy routes during rush hour, nor cut service to already underserved areas. Public transit users would also like an across the board resolution from TTC frontline staff to establish a new level of customer service.
Commuters can resolve to brace themselves for the anticipated news of a 15-cent per ticket increase (instead of the announced 10-cents), although it will no doubt hurt most of those people whose incomes have stagnated in recent years.
Many people would like to see the federal government resolve in 2012 to cancel plans to build federal super jails and spend the money instead on real rehabilitation programs for those at-risk or the incarcerated so that they will be better equipped to join society upon release, rather than being left to languish in jail where they can only upgrade their outlaw skills.
The federal New Democrats, our current official Opposition party, should resolve to take on the role they have been elected to – at least, once this leadership selection matter is over – since it looks, for the most part, as if the Liberals are presently carrying the Opposition banner.
As for the Liberals, they should just resolve to let Bob Rae become the leader already.
More politics: In Jamaica, it looks as if a broad resolution on the general election taking place had emerged across the island so that there was no significant rise in violence during the campaign period. Much of the old guard is gone, meaning that the country could enter a new political era. Whichever party wins the election in a neck-and-neck race between the Jamaica Labour Party and the People’s National Party, let’s hope, for the sake of this nation under economic stress, that their New Year’s resolution is to keep the nation’s priorities straight and also to address concerns about corruption in government.
In the U.S., Republicans should resolve to get over their indifference to Mitt Romeny, since all the other candidates seeking the Republican nomination for the presidency are making them look foolish, if not ridiculous.
Now that the Toronto Maple Leafs has the possibility of new cashy owners, they should resolve to let that new energy carry them to the Stanley Cup finals this spring. Torontonians are suffering from a Ford-driven budget crisis and could use the kind of citywide morale boost that only bringing the Stanley Cup back to Toronto will provide. Go Leafs…please! Or just go.
Finally, all Torontonians should add to their New Year’s resolution list the promise to be just as cheerful and kind during the rest of the winter as they are at Christmas time or as they are during the sunny summer months. The Christmas season is just a few short weeks, as is our summer and, given the kinds of cuts and user fees coming with 2012, we will need that kind of resolute spirit to carry us through the rest of the year; more so if the Leafs don’t make it to the finals.
Happy New Year to everyone.
A note on the comments sections mainstream media sites…
Who are these wretched creatures that spew line after line of vituperatives below all manner of news stories on the websites of the mainstream press? The mean-spiritedness in these remarks is astonishing, to put it politely. When a story involves people of colour or new immigrants, the comments are particularly vile and predictably racist, and not the usual subtle, covert kind of racism that Canadians are known for. One could argue that allowing the space for these types of comments is in respect of freedom of speech. But where is the sense of responsibility that comes with that freedom?