TTC approves subway to York

The Toronto Transit Commission has approved the recommendations of an environmental assessment for the final route of an extension of the Spadina subway line into York Region through York University, reported the Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun and The Globe and Mail Nov. 29. The final stop would either be north of Steeles Avenue or in the Vaughan corporate centre near Highway 7. “This is the first time we have an unprecedented inter-regional project with the City of Toronto, the TTC, the City of Vaughan, York Region and York University all together working for one common purpose,” said Councillor Peter Li Preti at Monday’s commissioners meeting, reported the Star. The study will be forwarded to the environment ministry for final approval, but the TTC doesn’t have any funding in place for the $1.4 billion project that would take seven years to complete. “We’re in a vacuum,” TTC Chair Howard Moscoe said, reported the Sun. “We have the plans; we don’t have any money.”

The four-stop route would see the subway veer to a new Sheppard West station at the north end of Downsview Park, and then head up Keele Street to a station at Finch Avenue (called Finch West station) and up to York University’s Keele campus before terminating at a new Steeles West station.

Some local business owners, whose properties would be expropriated and relocated to make way for the proposed route, told commissioners Monday that they were not consulted. TTC commissioners voted to meet with them and to help them in talks with federal officials about relocating on nearby Downsview Park property.

Voters may stay with status quo – or not

Voters this time may dabble in strategic voting, hoping to maintain the status quo – a minority government – or shoot for a majority government and avoid the political shenanigans of the last 17 months, reported The Toronto Sun Nov. 29. “Some people have preferred the minority setup because it gives more attention to compromise,” said Robert Drummond, a political scientist in York’s Faculty of Arts. Liberal voters who cast their vote elsewhere in 2004 out of dismay with Adscam may not vote for their second choice this time given the Conservatives are so close to power, Drummond said.

  • Drummond was also invited to talk about his former colleague, the late Paul Rauzon, a professor of social and political science at York from 1971 to 1995 and well-known for his books on the works and life of Sigmund Freud, on CBC Radio’s “The World this Weekend” Nov. 26.

Canada has a democratic deficit, says law prof

While the UN rates us highly and we pride ourselves on being one of the world’s leading countries, statistics reveal deep and disturbing societal problems, suggests Allan Hutchinson, a professor and associate dean at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in his soon-to-be-published book titledThe Companies We Keep: Corporate Governance and Democracy,” excerpted in the Toronto Star Nov. 29. “In the United Nations’ annual Human Development Index, Canadians are confirmed to be living a long and healthy life, being educated and having a decent standard of living. Canada presently stands in 4th place, behind only Norway, Sweden, and Australia. Yet, upon closer inspection, Canadian democracy is in trouble,” writes Hutchinson. What now passes for ‘democracy’ is a very narrow, elite and shallow fulfilment of its ample promise. Canadians are less involved in governing themselves than they have been for many a decade. There is a sizeable and increasing ‘democratic deficit.’ And this gap between ordinary Canadians and those who govern them is actually getting bigger,” he writes. “As we enter another election, complacency is the last stance that influential Canadian politicians and power-brokers should be adopting about the deeper structure and shape of Canadian society.”

On air

  • David Shugerman, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, discussed the vote of non-confidence that toppled the federal government and what the upcoming election campaign will be like, on Rogers TV’s “Goldhawk” Nov. 28.