Candidates, back to earth, please!
Anyone else wishing the proposals and promises made during this city election campaign were clearer and better sorted, not to mention, better costed out? Wouldn’t it be helpful if proposals came evaluated as short-, medium- or long-term solutions to present-day problems?
We’re flummoxed that for today’s (and yesterday’s) overwhelming traffic/commuting mess, we are getting proposals which, realistically, will be relevant only 20 years from now. A new bridge? Mayor Ducharme once commented that it will take 50 years to get a new bridge designed, funded – and accepted by Ottawa. Therefore, “a new bridge” is no solution for 2018’s traffic gridlock.
Light rail and tramway dreams? These are so far in the future, they are irrelevant to today’s problems and, thus, to this election. It took Ottawa decades to get light rail. Yet we continue hearing big ideas of light rail to Aylmer, trams on Aylmer Road, etc. Not an airport for Aylmer, a tunnel to Ottawa -- any other daydreams?
Not only are time frames skewed on these proposals, their costing and financing seem almost whimsical. And this from folks who want to run our city?
Bulletin readers have sometimes shown a better grasp of reality than the candidates. For example, traffic congestion has arisen from the city’s accepting virtually any housing project, with little consideration of the effect of more people and cars on Aylmer traffic. Suggestions of a moratorium on housing projects, until traffic issues are resolved, come from Bulletin readers in their Letters to the Editor, not from candidates. Voters are reading these letters, so when politicians ignore them, and propose pies-in-the-sky, or propose spending even more non-existent money on their schemes, voters won’t be impressed.
The money and taxes question, again very big in the Letters section, seems to have escaped many candidates. It may appear grand and reassuring to announce spending millions here and millions over there . . . but we need to know the source of these millions! We fear it’s from our pockets: more taxes and fees. It’s dandy to mention Quebec’s funding of electric transport, Ontario’s initiatives for green transit, etc – these are about as reassuring as Mr Trump’s promise to make some place “great again”. Show us the financials -- not wish lists!
And Mr Fortin’s appointment as Minister of Transport, while very encouraging, is a guarantee of nothing – for today’s problems. Mr Middlemiss was Minister of Transport for years, and yet we are still grappling with traffic problems from his era.
Party member or Independent candidate, every big project has to be costed out and has to have a realistic timeline in relation to today’s problems. Likewise, proposing new revenues coming from the higher governments are wishes, not realities, since those governments are actually downloading costs, not downloading revenues. Wouldn’t it be great to have politicians with the courage to call out the province on these destructive downloads!
Word to the wise, candidates: treating Aylmer voters as children will surely backfire.