Mayoral rivals talk TTC expansion to York

The five main Toronto mayoral candidates, including York alumni Barbara Hall, John Nunziata and John Tory, are promising transit improvements for the city. The candidates gave their views on Toronto Transit Commission funding and long-term expansion plans in the Globe and Mail Aug. 25. They all agree that the cash-starved TTC needs more funding. But they disagree sharply on what role, if any, the private sector should play in financing new multibillion-dollar subway lines and the TTC’s other long-term expansion plans.

Ex-mayor Hall, who announced a five-point transit plan last week, and former city councillor David Miller are skeptical of turning to the private sector. But former MP Nunziata, cable executive Tory and former city councillor Tom Jakobek agreed that so-called public-private partnerships are worth a look since the provincial and federal governments are not in a rush to pour big dollars into the TTC. Hall, whose transit plan includes a freeze on fares, 100 new buses and new subway extensions to York University and the Scarborough Town Centre, makes no reference to the private sector in her platform. “I see transit as a public system, and the private-sector role is like the rest of us – as citizens and taxpayers,” she said.

Nunziata says the private sector could help finance his two favourite proposals – one north on the Spadina subway to York University and Vaughan and a new line from Eglinton Avenue West to Pearson Airport. Tory says he wants to hear from the private sector. “I would invite the private sector to make their own proposals for building the Spadina line to York University,” he said.

French ignoring domestic violence

Marc Lesage, a sociology professor at York’s Glendon College, was quoted in the Aug. 23 Globe and Mail in reference to French attitudes on domestic violence. The death of much-beloved actress Marie Trintignant has raised questions about the country’s famously libertine attitudes. Some observers find it incredible that a country so advanced in areas such as child care would have waited so long to collect data on domestic violence. But that fact does not surprise Lesage, who said the French are attracted to exploring broad intellectual themes, such as liberty, but don’t focus on the nuts and bolts of domestic behaviour as much as North Americans do.

Defeat could leave Tories broke

An Aug. 25 Globe and Mail story cited figures from a study by Robert MacDermid, a political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, on the Ontario Progressive Conservative party. Senior party officials say privately a defeat in the coming election could leave the party with a debt of $6 million to $8 million, undermining their efforts to rebuild and return to power, reported the Globe. For example, in the 1999 election the Tories spent $6.2 billion and borrowed $6 million. Within three months of the June 3 vote, they had paid off almost half their debt but still owed $3.3million. By the end of last year, that had been completely paid off, according to figures compiled by MacDermid.