stats
globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space


Search

space
  This site         Tips

  
space
  The Web Google
space
   space



space

  Where to Find It


Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology

space
Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store


Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists

   Headline Index

 Other Sections
  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels

 Leisure
  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Golf

  Horoscopes

  Movies

  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...

space

Services
   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site

 Newspaper
  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions

 Web Site
  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


GiveLife.ca

    

PRINT EDITION
A little idle advice for MPP hopefuls
space
space
By DAVID MACFARLANE
  
  

Email this article Print this article
Wednesday, October 1, 2003 – Page A15

One thing that can be said about cities is this: You can see them. They aren't obscure or subtle. Their strengths and their weaknesses, their achievements and their failures, their political leadership and their lack thereof stick out -- stick out, as a matter of fact, like a big, idling bus.

Take Queens Park, for example. The place, I mean, not the legislature. Take Queens Park, at the intersection of Hoskin Avenue and Queen's Park Circle, at about 8 o'clock on a weekday morning.

If you happen to be a Liberal or an NDP candidate who has decided, in a fit of pre-election confidence, to take a morning stroll around the acreage where you will be spending the next several years, there are some essential realities of Toronto that you can easily observe. You don't have to read policy papers or attend conferences. You can learn about Toronto by walking out the back door of the legislature and opening your eyes. Which is more than the Conservatives ever did.

The first thing you will notice is that you are surrounded by cars. At this time of day, most of them are heading south. Much like the support for Ernie Eves.

Of course, being surrounded by cars could be a good thing -- if you run a car dealership or an iron-lung factory. If you like to breathe, however, it might not be so terrific. If you like to combine breathing with living in the city, it can be a bit of a problem. And if you want to be so completely reckless that you spend your early mornings jogging or doing tai chi in the middle of Queen's Park -- and there are a good many downtowners who seem bent on exactly this form of self-destruction -- there are some pamphlets on respiratory ailments that you might want to look at.

You will also notice that almost every car that passes -- 10 every 10 seconds, by my estimate -- contains only a single occupant. Usually, this is a driver, although this is not strictly the case if a cellphone or a grande latte that needs stirring are also at the wheel.

If you like a bit of a challenge -- as opposed to running against the Ontario Conservatives in tomorrow's election -- you may want to amuse yourself by looking for a car heading downtown at 8 o'clock in the morning that actually has more than one occupant. But after a while you may want to do something easier. Looking for the Holy Grail, for example.

As you watch this steady stream of traffic, you may wonder whether there isn't a more intelligentand less environmentally injurious way to transport people to and from their downtown jobs. If that's the case, you are a member of what Mike Harris liked to call a special-interest group. Otherwise known as mammals.

You may also observe a curious characteristic of the southbound cars: the bigger the vehicle -- and some SUVs look like they have their own putting greens and lap pools -- the smaller the occupant.

You may notice that at the point on the southbound lanes of Queen's Park Circle where the Hondas and Volvos peel off from the Saabs and the Mercedes to head west along Hoskin Avenue there is a sign that reads: Pedestrians Wait for the Gap. This set of instructions has been put in place so that university students, the products of a decade of Conservative education policy, don't get confused and try to cross the street when cars are coming.

But before you get on your Liberal or NDP high horse about air pollution, and selfish stockbrokers in BMWs who don't give two hoots about the common good (although I have to admit there are a remarkably high percentage of southbound BMWs on Queen's Park Circle at this time of day), you might want to stroll to the main entrance of the legislature.

As you do, you may notice, in passing, that the expansive lawns that surround the legislature are as trim as broadloom and without sign of leaves or weeds. In fact, on the west side of the legislature it will prove to be impossible to find a single leaf -- in Ontario, in autumn -- on grounds that are abundant in their mature arboreal splendour. Perhaps the issue of leadership will cross your mind. Perhaps you might wonder why, when the province's citizens are asked to make sacrifices in their lifestyles in order to preserve the environment, the seat of government can employ an army of gas-powered leaf-blowers to make sure the landscaping remains firmly in the 1950s.

Finally, you will reach the main entrance to the legislature. And here you will find Howard Hampton's campaign bus -- idling. Not the PC bus, idling. The NDP bus, idling while staffers stand beside it having their morning coffee.

It is idling for no particular reason, but simply because that's what buses and cars do in Toronto, particularly when they are parked in front of Queens Park. Tour buses idle here constantly; police cars idle here constantly; MPs' cars idle here constantly.

In fact, when it comes to cities -- when it comes to supporting public transit, protecting the environment, to setting an example, and when it comes to caring about the reality of Toronto -- everyone at Queen's Park has been poisonously idling for years.


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main David_Macfarlane Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail
 

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement
space

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.

Advertisement

7-Day Site Search
    

Breaking News



Today's Weather


Inside

Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes


Editorial
Where Manley is going with his first budget




space

Columnists



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.

 National


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
space
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
space
Margaret Wente arrow
Counterpoint
space
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game
space
 Business


Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
space
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
space
Mathew Ingram arrow
space
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
space
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
space
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
space
Andrew Willis arrow
Streetwise
space
 Sports


Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
space
Eric Duhatschek arrow
space
Allan Maki arrow
space
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
space
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
Golf
space
 The Arts


John Doyle arrow
Television
space
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
space
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
space
Johanna Schneller arrow
Moviegoer
space
 Comment


Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
space
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
space
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
space
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
space
Paul Knox arrow
Worldbeat
space
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
space
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
space
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
space
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
space
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
space
William Thorsell arrow
space





Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page