Thursday, August 22, 2013

Welcome back, Mayor Craig

It's refreshing to see Mayor Craig back in the transit debate. None of the councilors deserved to have their voices silenced, especially both the project's biggest critic (Craig) and its biggest supporter (Seiling).

Still, I was surprised by Craig's approach to this issue. He has proposed, essentially, that we should find out how much money it would cost to waste taxpayer's money. It was a curious idea, but the more I think about it, the more I realize Waterloo region is lacking a certain something that every other level of government has displayed: we aren't wasting incredible sums of money by cancelling projects.

Nobody in our region has blown hundreds of millions canceling gas plants. We haven't set a giant pile of money on fire, like Ottawa did, canceling an O-train extension and then having to spend billions more on a replacement plan for LRT just five years later. And Mr. Craig pointed it out himself-- "Toronto is cancelling things left and right"-- we have a long, long way to go before we can match the Big Smoke's ability to pile taxpayers' money into trucks, drive it off a cliff into the ocean and never see it again.

But with inspired leadership like this, we can get there. Mayor Craig says we can still cancel this rapid transit project that has remained stubbornly on time and on budget. His plan will make us a true Ontario city, stagnant and short-sighted, and we'll find out exactly how much money we can spend to get absolutely nothing.

Or perhaps not completely nothing. After all, that money will buy votes in the next election. And by gum, if that's not worth it, then my name ain't Douglas Craig.

This was originally written for the Record, but it seems they have an editorial which makes all the same points, in the same order, maybe with less sarcasm and more polish. Perhaps there was some cross-pollination... I don't mind, but I like my version better.