June 11, 2015

The war on the car is back on in Toronto

Neil FlaggRebel Blogger

The modern lib-left establishment is normally very careful in disguising its true nature. But every once in a while, they let the veil slip a little bit, and reveal their true face.

As I tortured myself this week listening to hours of Toronto City Council debate over the future of the downtown Gardiner Expressway, the city’s Chief Planner, Jennifer Keesmaat, said this in a friendly exchange with one of council’s Luddite leftists.

“We’re moving away from a model of moving vehicles, to a model of moving people”.

How many times over the past decade has the left denied the existence of their obvious “War on the Car”? And yet here is proof-positive, with Keesmaat bragging about it in an uncharacteristically candid moment. Their goal is to get us plebians out of our beloved cars, by carrot (with false promises of reliable public transit), or by stick (by making driving as expensive and inconvenient as possible).

On a micro level, her “moving people” comment was saying: our Utopian vision is to take the little people out of their evil individual vehicles, and groups them in electric trains powered by windmills, delivering them daily from intensified suburban hubs to downtown office towers, where they will ascend to their desks for a 9-to-5 weekday. It’s a sadly out-of-touch view that can only be held by someone who went straight from grad school to political employment, but sadly that is the path of much of today’s political ruling class.

On a macro level, it exposes the elitist ideology of our political planning class – people who have mostly never actually built a thing, but who have studied Urban Planning at a university near you. The “moving people” philosophy says: we, the planning-gods of society, see you, the masses of humanity, as annoying little figurines on our scale models, to be moved around like trees, buildings, and choo-choo trains.

You must look pretty and do what you are told. You are a problem to solve; a unit of input; a subject who must conform to our value judgements; and in your present form of overbreeding, erratic fossil-fuel car-drivers, are forcing us to save the planet from your unsustainable destruction.

The arrogance runs very deep. In another fascinating bit of unintentional candor, Keesmaat quoted a leading academic figure in the field of city planning when explaining the main frustration of her profession. She admitted that the computer modelling they use to formulate their plans is “unreliable, due to the huge amount of variables involved in any urban situation”.

No kidding, said anyone listening with a reasonable level of common-sense and a lack of a Masters in Urban Planning. And yet when these political elitists inevitably descend to passive-aggressive insults by bragging about their “evidence-based decision making”, the “evidence” they refer to always comes out of their admittedly unreliable computer models.

Of course the variables in city life are innumerable. Human behavior is indeed individualistic and unpredictable; that is what makes us human! The Bible has instructed mankind to embrace this side of our nature for 3,000 years; when God scrambled our communications at Babel and spread us out across the earth, it was to stop us from enslaving ourselves to serve the misguided Utopian dreams of the charismatic leader Nimrod.

As a more recent example, we can look at the incredible attraction of the American dream - a big home in the suburbs with two cars in the garage and the freedom to do what one pleases – which has made the U.S. and Canada magnets for immigrants from every corner of the world, an unprecedented phenomenon in human history.

Keesmaat is a young, smiley-faced, garden-variety true believer (just browse her prolific Twitter feed,) who grew up in Hamilton, but was fast-tracked to the top planning job in Toronto just a decade out of a York University Masters program as a protégé of notorious leftist politicians Joe Mihevc and David Miller. Her pretty face and polished image only serve to mask the totalitarian underside of the modern left.

Hannah Arendt would get her in a heartbeat. 


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commented 2015-06-23 19:30:06 -0400
Even the dead must serve the revolution.
Especially when the revolutionaries are disgusting people.
commented 2015-06-17 20:29:08 -0400
The nut case cases abound, all UN Agenda 21er kindergardeners useful idiots, what other skeletons are in her closet?
commented 2015-06-14 20:15:50 -0400
This issue seems more like a GTA (and maybe a couple of other cities) problem that can be very easily solved. Move all the industries into small towns away from the congestion. Who needs head offices when there are computers and internet available. Spread the love and road rage around.
commented 2015-06-13 15:26:24 -0400
Personal Motor Vehicles represent freedom. Something that North America is known the world over for. The Left are not really after the cars. They are after the freedom that cars represent. The ability to go anywhere, anytime, not dependant on someone else who may or may not allow you transport. Next it will be permits to move from region to region as was in the Soviet Union. The march towards Communism!
commented 2015-06-13 11:53:55 -0400
The “War on the Car” is more of a basic physics problem. More people want to drive than there is space for. There aren’t a lot of solutions to that. You can widen roads or build new ones, a strategy more useful in new developments than a fully-built out urban area like the City of Toronto. Mass expropriation for roads is not going to happen. You can tunnel or put up elevated structures, but that’s too expensive to be a broad solution. Or, you can try to move more people through existing corridors, which necessarily means encouraging a shift away from cars into transit or cycling/walking. It’s not really “evil”, it’s just the best solution to a complicated problem.

Your car may be “beloved”, but if you drive it, you will be stuck in traffic. That’s a fact of life in a big city, and if you choose to drive, it’s a consequence you need to accept. In a way, I think the “war on the car”, a clever if meaningless campaign slogan, is essentially a means of delegating that consequence outward, away from your own choices.
commented 2015-06-11 14:57:16 -0400
Good post Neil. As you allude to, one of the big problems with people like Keesmat is that they concoct policy for themselves and ignore the varied experiences of other Torontonians. Her “war on cars” makes perfect sense to people like her who live in the central city which is well served by public transit, bike lanes and taxis. She has no idea of the transportation issues faced by people who live outside the central core. Put her in Scarborough East or North Etobicoke for a few months and see how quickly she would change her tune. TTC service sucks and takes forever. There are no Bike Share Toronto bikes to borrow, and even if there were, riding such distances would be impractical. If she doesn’t own a car already, she would be out shopping for one within a week.
commented 2015-06-11 14:00:09 -0400
Very well written. Every so often it takes a person more articulate than I to sum up MY own thoughts in a neat, concise package.
You have done that for me – here – in this column.
The one thing I would add is what I think is the cherry on top of this shit-sundae of arrogance.
The “people” being referred to are not her or her ilk. Oh no. She wants the ratepaying troglodytes (regular working people) like myself to clear the roads so SHE can move about freely in HER city.
My (and your) freedom in exchange for hers.
Even more disgusting – the people that get affected by these policies and ideas the most are the ones jusssst managing to hold on to that American dream you speak of. The endgame is to make driving so cumbersome and more importantly … EXPENSIVE, that those on the margins will just give up and pile on to buses like drones and stay out of her way. I moved out of the T-dot for this very reason.