Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch says it's time Toronto separates from the rest of Ontario Part Two
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Mon, 2010-03-22 10:29#1
Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch says it's time Toronto separates from the rest of Ontario Part Two
What's left to say, eh?
Webgear, those are great issues, I guess my only question is whether the title matches the topic that's evolved.
I think there's good reason to have a running thread on the urban/rural rift issues-- though I guess it excludes those who don't live in either the country or city. :)
But yeah, maybe a thread title change would be appropriate.
In the meantime, what to do about wildlife? I tend to like it, with the odd exception-- yellow jackets come to mind.
It seems those of us who are out and about more start to notice stuff that maybe we haven't seen before--- Coyotes being the example of the day--- and then there's an incident or incidents, the media superficially reports it for fun and amusement, and people jerk their knees-- city and country alike.
I think the Ministry of Natural Resources have been falling down on the public education and end of things, particularly where they have re-introduced species.
It's complicated. I remember talking about this before, about the deer population specifically. Many of us remember a time when seeing a deer was an unusual thing, so we tend to assume that this was the base line or "normal" population condition. But ministry sources indicate that what we see today is "normal", and what we witnessed in our youth was unusual.
What factors cause these fluctuations? I think we could spend a long time listing our guesses, and still not cover all of them.
But, I think it's true, country or city, we like to see wildlife where we life. It's a sign that we are living in a cleaner and healthier environment, or at least we take it as such. And, we either move to these places, or cultivate these places where we live.
So, it irks me more than a bit when one of these animals starts to be an annoyance to people. It's really what we wanted. And, usually, it means a period of adjustment and learning--- after media fueled hysteria has died away and saner heads prevail.
There are odd exceptions. Sometimes these animals-- and plants-- are invasive species and should be eradicated when possible. Like giant hogweed, yellow jackets, earthworms, or garlic mustard weed, to name just a few amoung hundreds. Sometimes deer populations can endanger endangered flora habitats, like the Byron or Sifton Bog here in London, or Pinery Provincial park.
I think the Ministry of Natural Resources does a decent job considering the mandate. It's not just about hunting and fishing. As a hunter, I do find paying fees to prop up the Ministry a little annoying (the mandatory seminar one has to take before being able to hunt turkeys legally should be half the cost, and half the time). Overall, the ministry is doing what it can with the resources it's allocated to study wildlife.
The Ministry rarely reintroduces species, TP. Not without very extensive studies. The booming coyote population is probably related to the reintroduction of wild turkeys, but I suspect there are more reasons than that, and even wildlife biologists would have differing opinions.
Personally, I suspect land-based wildlife numbers are on the upswing in the south because of the actions of the ministry. The intelligent and conservative manner in which they allocate hunt harvests in turn manages the health of the game animals. In Elgin county, for instance, the deer herd is really big and so the Ministry offers extra "doe only" tags to bow hunters who can harvest up to six female deer. This is a response to the fact that most bow hunters target bucks with their single annual licence. Over time this leads to a large population of does... and we can easily guess how the bucks enjoy the population shift.
Land useages are also changing the southern landscape. There are a LOT more absentee landowners, or non-farming landowners, who rent their land to commodity growers of corn and soybeans. These renter-farmers are large scale and tend not to be concerned with maintaining fencerows, or draining a marshy field, because they grow in the thousands of acres. This increases fringe habitat, which then supports a prey and predators alike.
Webgear, I would point out that farmers are often not the best land stewards, for a variety of reasons, mainly economic. A small farmer with small acreage needs to maximize return from the land, and that leads to removing fencerows (or hedgerows if you're from a UK background), heavy trimming of fringe habitat, tiling for drainage which destroys natural semi-wetlands.
Anyhow, I think the topics are interesting but the title of this thread doesn't match the subject matter.
How did the developers get that farm land for city councillors to approve buidling on it? The truth is, farmers, urbanites, ruralites, whatever, we're all shittly stewards of the land. In fact, we shit all over our own nest including into the food we eat and the water we drink. We produce poisons and then present them to our children as meals. We knowingly feed our own kids substances that will make them sick and cite cost as the reason. Cost and convenience. Look out the window next time you're travelling in farm country. All that garbage lining the highway, the TVs, sofas, tires, washing machines, microwaves, and diapers tumbling down into the ravines, they are symbols of cheap and convenient. They are the legacy of a culture for which the highest social achievement is signified by insatiable appetites that shall never be denied regardless the cost. It is the legacy of a culture that values nothing except that which can be expressed with the words "because I like it".
I have no sympathy for any one of us. Extreme climate change may just be radical surgery for the planet.
I'd add transportation issues to that list.
This is something that's more Lower Mainland vs. BC Hinterlands specific, but I think it applies to all large Canadian cities and their hinterlands. I'm sure Torontonians and their problems with the TTC can relate.
Right now in the Lower Mainland Translink wants the province to pony up more money for the 'Evergreen' rapid transit line from Burnaby, through Port Moody to Coquitlam. The Provincial Ministry of Transport have essentially denied this request and claimed that it's up to Translink and the regional Mayors to provide more money for this system should they want it to get built. Part of their reasoning is that it's not fair for people in other parts of the province to pay for transportation improvements in the Lower Mainland when they're not getting them themselves. The Mayors and Translink essentially counter that the Metro region subsidizes the rest of the Province when it comes to tax dollars, so improving its infrastructure will benefit all BCians. I don't think these Mayors are making the right argument though. They ought to argue to the self-interest of Metro Vancouverites and make it in the Province's interest to listen to our demands, afterall we are the majority of the Province's population. I think we need the line even if it is at the expense of other regions's "fair share" of transportation tax dollars. Because frankly, other regions don't have the density to support many alternatives to private cars so beyond a working commuter rail system and "community shuttle" style buses they're never going to get many of their commuters out of the car and into public transit.
So to be perfectly blunt we ought to have more than our "fair share" of the tax dollars for transportation. After all at least our transportation options have the potential to be "green" if the investments are made to allow those "green" options to thrive. I mean seriously, could Prince George support a rapid transit line? How much will the "Kelowna Metro" cost? Will Nanaimo's tram system be worth it? Is Kamloops new "light rail" line a wise investment? Of course these four examples are pure fiction, but they're the four largest cities outside of Metro Vancouver/Fraser Valley and the Capital Region (Metro Victoria). Seeing as they're not financially viable now I can't see them being financially viable considering population trends and land use planning any time within the next 50 years. On the other hand, the Lower Mainland could use the 'Evergreen' line, an extension of the 'Millennium' line to UBC, and a two-pronged extension of the 'Expo' line further south in Surrey and south east to Langley and many other non-'Skytrain' related transit improvements. It could also make these things financially sustainable in a short time through existing and increased density around these capital investments. The Province disagrees and I think their reasoning is wrong for many reasons including these three:
1) The transportation improvements throughout the entire province that the Ministry is spending the vast majority of tax dollars on are road and private car related.
2) The Province implies that tax payers in Greater Vancouver don't pay taxes that go to provincial coffers, thus it further implies that we don't deserve more of that money, or at the very least that we ought to pay extra taxes in addition to the ones that we do for transportation improvements that other regions aren't subject to.
3) It moves money into a form of transportation that encourages greenhouse gases thus directly countering the Provincial Government's alleged goal of cutting our greenhouse gas emissions.
That said, I completely understand the Provincial position, despite disagreeing with it. From a political standpoint everyone in the hinterlands hates the big city, always has and always will. It's far beyond any racist, or economic, or even explicitly political reasons. I think it's cultural too - in so far as the media always talks about and focuses on the big city and even in good times the big city drains the young away from small towns and often the young don't want to return. So there's a lot of pressure from caucus members from these areas not to spend money on capital projects like more public transit lines in the 'hated' 'big city'.
So, what all this has to do with Murdoch's comments are this: I personally think Toronto should separate from the rest of Ontario even if his comments were a joke. Or at least the Greater Toronto area should. They could use their tax dollars more effectively to do what's in their region's interests. It's not as if there wouldn't be trade and linkages with the rest of the province/country. To be perfectly honest most cities are the "have" parts of a province, so if the "rest of the province" doesn't like them, thinks it's "not fair" that all of "their" tax dollars be spent on "the city" people, then why not carve up the country into new Provinces? Someone said something along the lines of city states in the previous thread. I'd be game for that. Maybe transfer all of the land use planning, transportation planning and appropriate transportation taxation powers to these "city states" such as Metro Vancouver, Greater Toronto, the National Capital Region and Greater Montreal, and other large urban centres and then at least when it comes to these issues we can all focus on creating our own solutions to our own problems and actually have the money to do so.
I think that's the wrong way to go, separation.
Integration of regional interests is what's needed, not multi-levels of by-design self interested segments. There are already enough levels of government to sift through (county, municipality, provincial and federal) or do you plan on eliminating the current structure by creating the provinces of Vancouver and Toronto? Do they get senate seats?
Does Toronto financially support rural Ontario?
I think there are two options.
Option A would be to create new Provinces with all of the powers that that entails. I don't think that will happen though, since it's probably too difficult constitutionally. It's also politically unfeasible for many reasons since I'm sure there would be a lot of opposition from the existing Provinces. Besides, taking Quebec's side of the National Capital Region and allowing for a "Greater Montreal" would open up issues of "partition" and probably make it so "the rest of Quebec" would have a sovereigntist majority - something the Feds would never allow.
Option B is more realistic. It would be to transfer the responsibility and taxation revenues for Transportation issues from the Provinces to Regional districts. A limited amount, say 25% could be kept by the Provinces for sparsely populated areas that can't finance transportation maintenance or improvements on their own, but otherwise that money should go back to the places where they came from. Besides, as I said earlier, Metro regions don't have the same transportation issues or interests as rural ones. It doesn't make sense to pretend that they do. This isn't the creation of another level of government, this is the recognition that these bodies already have a lot of control over land use and if they aren't supported intelligently then they aren't going to do a good job of planning. I think the worst thing to do would be to dissolve them completely. Take a look at the US - Canada still has a lot of urban sprawl, but it isn't nearly as bad as as it is down there. Los Angeles County and its neighbours are a classic example of government being taken out of the planning equation, or being made subservient to developers.
How did the developers get that farm land for city councillors to approve buidling on it?
There is no simple answer to this. Sometimes it is just pure greed, but more often farmers are hammered to the point that they have no option to sell out.
The real question should be - how messed up must we be as a society, that food production land is worth more paved over and turned into building lots, than for growing food the very thing that keeps us alive. Now that's messed up.
I get you now re. Option B. You're suggesting a tax shift of sorts. Keeping the money in the place it was generated from is a sound idea, but I'm not sure where this "transportation" revenue is coming from in your equation. Are you suggesting Toronto is paying for my paved rural roads? I've heard GTA people complain of the same thing before.
I figure if the GTA needs\wants more regulations and tax revenue, the municipalities concerned should get together and figure it out. The provincial government could lead the discussion.
Rural roads generate revenue. Products of all sorts come out of small towns and rural areas, destined for places like the GTA\Hamilton. Rural people pay gas taxes, which are kicked back to the province. Due to a lack of public transit options, I assume rural people use more fuel than urbanites.
Arguing that the Canadian style sprawl is superior to a really bad US example doesn't do much for me. Why not just get it right, then? I say that while admitting fighting urban sprawl is going to be really difficult. And aren't municipalites responsible for development...?
I was mostly joking when I replied about the GTA separating. It's currently impossible.
Webgear, I have no problem with counties and municipalities. Unfortunately, they're often run by people with vested interests... a hard club to crack into. That's the politcal end. The people working for my closest counties are generally doing good work.
Back to coyotes. I'm going to pay more attention this spring and watch for signs. I track turkeys, and I bet the coyotes track the turkeys. The big birds follow patterns.
You know, I think you, I and Webgear should make a point of meeting up somewhere's this spring or summer, and go for a walk.
I'd like to join you's. I'd have to disagree with webgear that toronto doesn't pay for rural ontario. but i giot no links either.
dude, toronto feeds canada not just ontario but i dont live there no more.
funny how different geography can affect you.
Hmm, double post.
I'm suggesting that the big city is more economically valuable than rural areas, yes. That may not have always been true, but I think it is in the 21st century service-oriented economy. The fact that only 2% of Canadians are employed in Agriculture helps to prove this point. I realize there are many non-agricultural economic activities taking place in 'rural' areas, but it doesn't diminish my point. Not that rural contributions aren't relevant, they obviously are, otherwise everyone would starve and die, but the fact remains that the vast majority of people producing the vast majority of economic activity live in Metropolitan regions. Vancouver/Victoria, Edmonton/Calgary, 'The Golden Horseshoe' and Greater Montreal alone have over half of Canada's population and associated economic output. Let alone other Metro areas like Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, London, Kitchener/Waterloo, Ottawa, Quebec, Halifax etc.
Besides most Municipalities have gotten together and have been calling for a portion of the gas tax, or 1 cent of the GST, and many other alternatives for years. The Feds, but especially the Provinces, either haven't been listening or are opposed to such a tax shift. Obviously they don't want another level of government to have to have anymore power at their own expense, since power is a zero sum game. And I bet that they don't even use the gas tax to cover transportation issues, since they generally do a bad job of budgeting anyways, what with their huge corporate tax cuts and bail outs.
As for Canadian sprawl being superior to US sprawl, I only say that it is because, as tautological as this sounds, it is. Our 'inner cities' haven't been, on balance, as devastated by sprawl as they have in the US and our Metropolitan regions are generally denser than their American counterparts. Things like the Greenbelt in Toronto or the ALR in BC, despite their weaknesses and slow but steady re-development into non-agricultural purposes, have been valuable breaks on the type of sprawl that exists in the States. Not that our municipalities haven't given into forces that favour sprawl. They have and that is lamentable. But I think we ought to use our money to discourage that type of sprawl oriented development, in addition to regulation, which would discourage that type of development in the future. I think regional bodies are a way to do that. That's why I think that if we didn't have these institutions our cities would have just as much sprawl as they do in the US. That being said, I don't think we're doing nearly as well as we could. I think we would do better if the appropriate regional governments had both responsibility and taxation powers over citizens who lived in their borders on transportation issues. Combine that with their current land use planning powers and the potential for much more environmentally friendly development, centred on public transit, exists. Besides, if Regional Governments don't follow through it's much easier for citizens of the appropriate region to pressure/punish them for it, as opposed to us pressuring/punishing Provincial Government's for the same error. After all Provincial government's have many other responsibilities and citizens in other parts of any given Province that don't care or oppose X (some other city) getting a new subway line since it means less money for themselves.
Oh as for the GTA really separating, yeah, I got that it was a joke. I agree, it's not going to happen. It's just an interesting thing to think about.
Yeah, I'm down for a meeting.
VK. You do realize that agriculture is the second biggest industry in Canada, right? Do you realize how many urban jobs are created as a direct result of Canadian agriculture, public and private? This isn't Billy the farmer selling steaks to a city restaurant. This is a massive, billions upon billions of dollars a year industry backed up by two levels of city living public bureaucrats. Agriculture is the second biggest industry in Quebec at something like 19 billion a year, and Quebec is second to Ontario, the biggest agricultural producer in Canada. It's agri-business, dude, and it's so big most people don't even realize it's there.
So, no, the city is not more economically valuable. If anything, from my perspective, some of that urban agricultural big money should be returned to the places in which it was generated. I'd like to have a farmer's annual income tied to that of at least a mid-level public servant in the Ministry of Ag.... say the Minister's advisor on sustainable farming practices in Cuba.
The GTA and Montreal and Vancouver generate economic activity as a byproduct of having millions of people in a defined area. People need services, entertainment, jobs, food, culture, a whole economic ecosystem of its own. But to blankly state that these places are the drivers of Canada, without data of any sort, is misleading in this discussion of rural vs urban.
Again, the city and countryside should be working more closely together.
I just can't get my head around what you're suggesting with these regionalized mega-cities. Seems like you want to reinvent the wheel. Via by-laws municipalities can raise taxes, I think. If the GTA has these urgent transportation needs, then perhaps the at the local level the pols and bureaucrats should get creative and solve the problems instead of relying on provincial and federal govs, which tend to be stingy with money, or by dumping the current system.
Doesn't UK London have a tax or charge on people driving in the city? All those people piled up on the highways in and around TO morning and afternoon.... tax\fee them and use the money towards a dedicated transportation fund that doesn't build more roads. Through bylaw municipalities have a lot of power. Water bottle bans started as municipal bylaw.
I'm just reading what it says here and what it says is that Agriculture is 2.1% of Canada's GDP and 2% of its labour force, which makes it hard to believe that it's Canada's largest industry. Even if I were to believe that the entire Restaurant, Supermarket, Food Show and Regulatory industries are completely dependent on Canadian agriculture (to say nothing of imports or marketing), I still doubt very much that its Canada's largest industry.
And no, Municipalities cannot raise taxes via by-laws. They can impose service charges, which one could consider a tax, albeit an inadequate one. And yes some municipalities have done that when it comes to parking, so as to discourage driving in downtown centres, but they can't impose municipal gas taxes, insurance taxes or fees (for Province's w/ public auto insurance) or collect sales taxes from the sale of cars. All of that power still rests with the Province. So I don't see how an existing combination of taxation and fee levy powers are going to help the average city build an affordable and effective public transportation system that significantly cuts into the commuter market share of the private car. The only taxation power municipalities really have is property related and one can only do so much with property taxes. Some regional transportation agencies might have control over certain roads, so then yes they have the ability to impose congestion charges or tolls on those specific roads, but most key highways are controlled by Provincial governments. Take this for an example: Vancouver's Translink collects the toll on the Golden Ears Bridge, but most people just avoid it and use untolled bridges to the west and east, even if they have to drive an extra 30-40 minutes or so. Even if the cost of operating the car were to exceed the toll and the time taken to avoid the toll, most people will try to avoid the tolled road because they won't calculate all of those extra operating costs. The only way to avoid that seems to be to toll all the bridges, but the Municipalities couldn't even if they wanted to because they don't have that power. And frankly, without effective public transportation alternatives in place before they impose the toll, I don't see why they should have to. Once the system is built then by all means impose congestion charges. But let's just say this, no city in Canada has a public transportation system nearly as effective as London's, especially not Vancouver. So to be blunt, all it seems like your suggesting is platitudes when it comes to Metropolitan Transportation issues. It just re-enforces my view that Cities have diametrically opposed interests vs. rural areas on transportation planning and procurement.
My eyes must be tired. I can't find the %2 percent part in that wiki article. And if that link is any indication, in terms of hierarchy of view, Ag comes second to energy.
Here's the CFA numbers: 8.8% of GDP. http://www.cfafca.ca/pages/index.php?main_id=72
Regardless, I do need to find a source for my own statements, which I hope aren't platitudes.
I understand that municipalities are property-tax revenue driven. But those taxes include services: water, emerg services... transportation.
For example, why wouldn't a municipality in the GTA, which has such a money crunch, put a building\property tax on two car garages?
I don't think I've been suggesting that urban and rural transportation planning and procurement issues are one and the same, and should be treated as such.
Again, what happens in the hinterland affects the city. Perhaps not in transportation, as you suggest. But certainly the two can't be artifically separated from one another economically. And as energy problems\shortages develop, the relationship will only become more important.
Whoa, Jolley stepping aside. Must not have liked speculation that EMay was going to jump the riding.
The Feed In Tariff\Green Energy Act is a big topic that is really unclear to me. The McLibs were on the right track by promoting made in Ontario green energy, local production companies, and then they bring in Samsung and promise the company a big fat part of the green market, basically withholding production from domestic businesses. That guarenteed green money will be going to a semi-nationalized company from South Korea.
I'm just not grasping what is at stake in this thread.
The logic that is being deployed in this thread in favour of some kind of special status for farmers is bewildering and wrong. It is the kind of logic we see deployed for loggers in BC, soldiers in the US, etc. Governments should govern based on the good of the populace. Those who work in industries about which we feel sentimental should have no more or fewer rights or representation than other people.
And before people go off on a food security tear, let us remember that there are many industries without which society cannot function such as the transportation, health care and government sectors.
Farmers are suffering from relative status deprivation. Because they have been even more absurdly favoured as a group of voters at other times and places, they are overly excited about their reltative diminution in status despite continuing to receive more government subsidies, elected representatives, infrastructure, etc. per capita than the rest of us.
continuing to receive more government subsidies, elected representatives, infrastructure, etc. per capita than the rest of us
This last sentence, especially the part about government subsidies reveals a profound ignorance based on myths and bias'. Don't worry though it is not your fault, it is actively perpetrated by government and others to make you feel good about them. And your ignorance is fairly commonplace so those of us in rural Ontario have heard the same claptrap time and again.
If you want to engage on these topics you should spend a little time educating yourself.
Try these documents-
Some of the reports are getting a little long in the tooth so some of the figures have changed, but the underlying points are still on track.
The simple, plain truth is that precious little 'agricultural spending' ever makes it to the farm gate. Almost all of it is captured by large interests in the agri-food sector, and that overwhelmingly means urban jobs and interests.
BA, I've only perused the first two studies so far. They make a compelling case against a government regulatory and policy agenda that maximizes exports, ties markets to the US, makes farms more susceptible to commodity price fluctuations, concentrates ownership, centralizes production, etc.
But they do not seem germane to the specific claims I am making. I am in complete accord with you NFU generally about where our agricultural policies have gone wrong and where they need to go. But this does not invalidate any of the claims I have made about farmers and rural Canadians generally receiving more elected representatives, government subsidies and infrastructure per capita.
Also, it is my view that if people want more political focus on food health and security, under-representing voters who tend to care about these issues (northerners, urbanites) and over-representing voters who do not seem to care (residents of farming regions) does not seem to be the way forward.
We both agree that the state is using its resources to drive small, sustainable, domestically-focused agriculture out of business and that this is wrong. But if we are to reverse these things it will be by treating all voters equally, not continuing to pander from a group whose relative status deprivation is producing a mixture of denial, scapegoating and reactionary conservatism.
Ah yes the downtown Toronto view and answers for rural Ontario. Very familar with it. Fed up with the ignorance it is based on too.
The simple fact is, as in agricultural spending, almost everything that happens in rural areas is for the benefit of urban areas and urbanites. That isn't reactionary conservatism, denial, or scapegoating, but rather observable fact. We are the home to urban dumping grounds of garbage, toxic waste, sludge and nuisance animals, including that cute kitten dropped off at the end of our lane by some kind hearted cottager who didn't want to have to take it back to the city with them. Infrastructure?- the best roads in rural areas are almost always the ones leading through it, at as much speed as possible, to get those same cottagers, and vactioners too to where-ever they are going. The roads we use regularly as residents are often of a much lesser quality.
We need energy, so lets produce it in rural areas- despite the fact that according to Ohms Law the most logical place to produce it is where it is used. So lets dump all of those energy problems on rural residents, knock down homes and barns that have stood for a century to make way for another large hydro line to feed the energy to the city, throw up windmills that are driving communities apart and create a Green Energy Act to remove local authority over our own communities, so that urbanites can feel great about turbines, but never have to deal with any of there problems in there own front yard.
Then there is the Greenbelt, which penalizes rural people for being rural and wanting the same things as other folks. If the government wanted to protect farmland, so that cottagers could have a nice Sunday pastoral drive, then they would address the issues around why farmers can make more money selling their land than growing food on it, and why no next generation is, for the most part taking up farming. But hey it is rural people who are being pandered too right?
I still work a lot with urban people becuase I know the arrogance, dismissive attitude and pure unadulterated ignorance you are showing is not an urban issue, but that you instead represent, like Rosie Dimanno a type of urban hick that like to lecture and tell others what they should feel rather than listen to the people who are living it.
Is this you conceding the empirical correctness of what I am saying?
BTW, why not drop the ad hominem and focus on how I'm wrong not where I live?
I think you are unclear on what phenomena I am describing. Are you suggesting that rural voters have not consistently become more conservative, more anti-government, more in favour of deregulation, more pro-corporate, etc.? There is a wealth of polling out there showing in which ways and to what extent the political views of rural voters diverge from those of urban voters that illustrates this very clearly and, if you don't believe that, you just need to look at election results. When the NDP wins a rural riding, it is, with the exception of Godin's riding, an industrial rather than agricultural riding based on forests, mines and mills. Farmers are more likely to vote against New Democrats than pretty much any occupational group I can think of.
The NDP's last set of election results in Saskatchewan are an almost precise mirror image geographically of the set of results that elected Douglas's first CCF government. For the first half of the twentieth century, rural Canadians led urban Canadians on the important questions of progressive social and economic policy. The impetus for the growth of the public sector came from the countryside but today, the very people most hurt by the corporatization of agriculture are the people most likely to vote in favour of that very corporatization. Calling me ignorant doesn't change that. It is an observable fact.
Yep. No dispute there. My argument, in case you didn't catch it that last two posts, was that rural residents receive more representation and money per capita than other voters. Did I say that you had better lives than urbanites? No. Did I say that life in the country wasn't tough? No. I made a set of specific claims that no amount of "poor us" claims can refute.
There are problems in rural Canada. And they have not been solved by the kind of special snowflake pandering politics that have exemplified political campaigning in rural Canada and the US to date. They will be solved by sound policy.
You are describing a universal experience that urban, suburban and rural Canadians all share. Of course roads going somewhere else are more capacious and better-maintained than local roads. This is the nature of transportation.
Shame on the government for prioritizing road construction that brings money and business into rural communities!
Again, welcome to being in an economy that involves tourism. This is just rational policy when it comes to tourism. Check out road quality and maintenance differentials in a postcard town like Victoria if you're feeling singled-out as a rural person.
Again, let's be clear: I'm making a specific claim not stating that rural residents have no problems.
If you want to argue with some kind of downtown Toronto strawman instead of me, there isn't much point in me actually trying to respond to your posts. I'll just start posting random sections of the Book of Mormon instead of generating original material.
Let me get this straight: I make three claims. You tell me I'm wrong and then post three studies that in absolutely no way even comment on my claims. I point out that these studies aren't even about what I'm talking about and ask you if you can direct me to an actual refutation of my claims. You post again and decide to inveigh against a set of strawman arguments you have contructed that I haven't even made and then to cap it off, have the unmitigated gall to call me ignorant?
"But this does not invalidate any of the claims I have made about farmers and rural Canadians generally receiving more elected representatives, government subsidies and infrastructure per capita."
Claims vs facts. You're making a case so prove it. This particular theme has been booted around babble before, and debunked, especially the political weight of the farm vote. But you apparently have a fresh take on these issues, your claims, so educate away.
I agree that there's a lot of money tossed at the ag sector federally and provincially. But groups like the NFU have long pondered where the money goes, and what services the public have a right to expect from those expenditures. My experience with farm progams have been mixed. Most of the time I get the feeling that the ag money goes to people with rural development degrees, or agronomy degrees, and they work in cities. Go tour the university of Guelph some time, Stuart, or spend some time scanning through the numbers of Ag department workers and their roles.
So, the largest obstacle to changing agriculture and food production in Canada, in a political sense, are the urban people with a vested interest in the status quo. Farmers don't have much political clout, as a voting block. Even in rural ridings, farmers are minorities.
The urban-based perspective that farmers recieve these amazing subsidies needs to be stomped out. Canada is, in fact, proud of the fact it does not subsidize farmers directly. In the EU, farmers are granted money on a per acre basis, and those funds are topped up if the farmer reaches certain "green" objectives.
Stuart the point is that all of your claims are bunk. Total, complete bunk. You are simply the urban hick side of the hick coin making claims about rural people you don't know, or understand.
You are part of a mindset that simply does not wish to understand rural people, but rather to label us. Your claims, while more articulate are no more factual than Rosie Dimano's rant.
You also are confusing a lot of things. Being anti-government action - is not conservative - it is a realistic reflection of what is happening to rural people. Being against regulations that do nothing but make things harder for local businesses and farmers, but paint a pretty picture backdrop for photo-ops - is not the same as being pro-deregulation. And pro-corporate - you really need to get out of Toronto more if you think that is a prevailing attitude in rural Canada.
You simply want to create a sterotype for you rant against. I've been down this road so many times on babble and in real life I am not going there again. Why I even posted in the thread is beyond me, expect I am so sick and tired of this rural/farmer subsidy myth that is based on zero evidence. So since you made the claims that rural people recieve all these subsidies I thought maybe this guy is willing to listen instead of preach (naive I guess). Most rural spending takes place through Ag ministeries. I pointed you to three articles that show when most of that spending goes - and it is not to rural people. We actually don't know what the breakdown is because government won't reveal it - believe me myself and others have tried. It didn't fit your sterotype so you claim it has nothing to do with your point - which is what exactly? Rural people are whiners - that seems to have been the sum total of your contribution.
As for who votes NDP in rural ridings. Unlike you I actually have some experience in that. Farmers often vote NDP, although farmers are as diverse as any other segment of society so there is no truism, but they will only do it if there is a candidate who actually knows something about their issues. Too often though their votes are drowned out (being only 2% of the population) even in primarily rural ridings by urban dwellers and ex-urban rural dwellers who trend older demographiclly (like the farm population in all but the supply managed sectors- but only by comparison). In my experience there are more NDP votes in farm houses than there are in the latter two, but there isn't a riding in Canada where you could sweep every single farm vote and still win the riding if you didn't also take the towns and/or cities those rural areas are attached to in the riding.
Wow! Just imagine how different a place rabble would be if this standard were applied with any uniformity. I guess we'd need a little footnoting utility for our posts so we could provide citations for each claim we made. Life would be totally different here if we assumed that all uncited claims were false. For this reason, before I spend all night finding you citations, I'm wondering if you would be so kind as to explain to me which of my claims you feel need proof to be recognized and which you can accept as obvious.
Excellent! Why don't you provide me with citations for this debunking like the citations you are demanding of me?
It's not a "fresh take." It is based on clear empirical evidence that is easily available. And let's be clear: I said "rural vote" not "farm vote."
Pull up the Elections Canada web site or the Statscan census web sites. In the three fastest-growing provinces (BC, Alberta, Ontario), please find me (a) a riding with less than 100,000 residents that is not rural or (b) a riding with more than 120,000 residents that is not overwhelmingly suburban. Every riding with over 120,000 residents is suburban; every riding with under 100,000 residents is rural. Not only that you will find the following additional things: (a) all ridings containing significant farming populations that have above-average populations are over 50% suburban and (b) all urban ridings with below-average populations are in city cores.
Aside from a handful of central Toronto ridings, all* (apologies if I've missed one or two in the 40 minutes I've spent looking over this data) ridings with less than 115,000 people are either in city cores or are rural/northern.
Now look outside the fast-growing provinces and you will see even greater disparity. In Newfoundland, for instance, the average population of an urban riding is 83,000; the average population of a rural riding is 64,000. With the exception of Manitoba, where there is virtual rural-urban parity in representation (while mixed suburban-rural ridings have the worst rate of representation), this is the exception and not the rule. We do not see this closeness in other provinces.
I was contracted to coordinate all BC NDP submissions to the redistricting commisson in 2002 so I'm not clueless or uninformed here.
So before I waste another hour at the computer finding citations, let's see some of yours.
I think this is a wrongheaded approach. If a group is getting more money than another, rather than denying it, why not explain why the group SHOULD get more money. Such a case has been made for various groups in society. I'd rather go with "from each according to his ability," "to each according to his need," rather than flying in the face of an obvious realities like the fact that we're maintaining a whole lot more pavement and power lines per capita in rural Canada than in the city.
Agreed. But I think this pride gets in the way both of seeing the indirect subsidies and in feeding into the kind of conservative doctrines of self-reliance that are allowing the Harper government to dismantle the wheat pool.
Again, BA, start arguing with me instead of my address.
Would my arguments suddenly gain legitimacy with you if you knew that I spend half my time growing up in the vast sprawling metropolises of Wasa Lake, BC, Wycliffe, BC and the rural outskirts of Comox, BC? Because I did. From the time I was 8 until I was 18, my father never lived in a place with a population of more than 12,000 people. I spent 2-3 months a year living in tiny rural communities, thank you very much, with a father and a stepmother who made their livings in a rural economy. It is one of the things that inspired me to continue spending 1-3 months on the road in rural BC every one of the seven years I served as leader of the BC Green Party.
Stop calling me a bigot and start engaging my arguments. I have to say I'm really tired of watching middle-aged white men play identity victimhood politics. You are using your status as putative victim to trump empirical evidence and reasoned argument. If I'm going to have to watch someone climb up on a cross and shout "bigot" and "poor me" to drown out reasoned argument, at least spare me the sorry spectacle of an educated middle-aged white man doing it. I get enough of that watching Tea Party protests on youtube.
Stop pretending to read my mind and tell me how I'm wrong. You know SFA about how much I know about rural communities and rural life. You know absolutely nothing about the passion and commitment I have invested in taking up rural issues during my time in politics.
I've lived exactly 54 months in Toronto. It's pretty rich for you to decide that a city I don't even like and can't wait to leave defines me as a person. All your "not necessarilies" aside, the fact of the matter is that farmers are more likely to vote Tory than pretty much any occupational group I can think of. I'm aware that not all farmers do but poll-by-poll results in dozens of ridings across this country don't lie.
Stop looking in the mirror and look at me.
I think you're using flashbacks to past conversations to put words in my mouth.
If you can't detect anything else in my posts, there is no point in me continuing to try and communicate with you.
Yeah -- clearly I didn't spend months as leader of the BC Green Party working away in the Kootenays, Cariboo and Northern BC going door-to-door, poring over poll-by-poll results, meeting every local organizer and recruiting more, attending all those fall fairs, staying in the homes of farmers and loggers, getting up every morning and campaigning with them in their communities. I guess that must all be in my head. Perhaps I'm one of the replicants from Blade Runner was just came off an assembly line in Toronto five and a half years ago with a fake memory of my former life.
What do you mean by "often"? I've met plenty of farmers who vote NDP and vote Green but the polls and election-day results don't lie. Farmers are an occupational group that has been increasingly predisposed to vote Tory over the past few decades. This is a great disappointment, given that this is the very group from whom the CCF sprang. So instead of denying this is the case, why don't we try to have a constructive conversation about why this has happened?
Rural BC is not rural Ontario - you cannot extrapolate from one to the other. I would never presume to expound on the situation in rural BC, because I know enough to know they aren't the same. I simply am not that arrogant. So please tell me what organizations in Ontario you have been working with or learning from before you came into a thread specifically about the experiences of rural Ontario to tell us rural people how we just have it all wrong and can learn from your profound experience. How many farmers have you interacted with? How many rural people? You entire first post was simply dismissing any concerns raised as rural whining because we just don't know how great we get it. That was the entirity of your post - whether you want to claim otherwise. It is the attitude demonstrated by your tone of dismissal that those of us working to bring people together see all the time and fight against - so no I am not going to treat you with kid gloves.
You have not provided one single empirical piece of 'evidence' to back up your odious and offensive claims that rural Ontario is being subsidised by urban people. You have not provided one shred of evidence, only your gospel like opinion. again you are simply the mirror urban side of the hick coin.
It seems the only thin-skinned 'victim' appears to be you. I don't see myself as a victim at all. I am taking control of my destiny and working with all kinds of urban people who do not presume to preach to those they don't know. You were called on repeating claptrap about rural subsidies that is completely erroneous. Not a single fact to back that up no matter how many times you claim it. When that didn't go so well for you -you got all pissy and started throwing around all kinds of wild and inaccurate claims.
And your last quote of me demonstrates your entire problem in conversations like this. I gave very specific reasons for when and why farmers vote NDP. It doesn't fit your sterotype so you just stopped there and then claimed I was being unfair to your total and complete understanding of the lives, beliefs and experiences of other people.
I have to say I'm really tired of watching middle-aged white men play identity victimhood politics. You are using your status as putative victim to trump empirical evidence and reasoned argument. If I'm going to have to watch someone climb up on a cross and shout "bigot" and "poor me" to drown out reasoned argument, at least spare me the sorry spectacle of an educated middle-aged white man doing it. I get enough of that watching Tea Party protests on youtube.
And finally - that reveals that the real problem is yours. 100 per cent yours. You know even less about me than you claim I know about you. It also revels your attitude is based on sterotypes and mischaracterization of rural people For when you don't present anything but your own sterotyped view and get challenged you attack those who might actually know something about the topic under discussion in this thread because they just don't understand how you really have the best interest of rural people at heart. I am sure 'some of your best friends' are rural Ontarians too.
Stuart, babble does indeed give you the ability to link to articles\citations\evidence. If you'd started with the evidence before making the claim, I would have checked out your link. It appears you made the case then found the evidence after.
At this point I need to go and backsource where you found your info. Then I need to interpret your analysis above. That's going to take a while.
As for linking, call me lazy. Plus I've never had luck researching babble threads.It's not considered unreasonable on babble to ask for a link\info when someone jumps into a thread with a clear point to make.
You're suggesting changes to Canada's political system along the lines of the recent "add seats to BC and Ontario" movement. Ontario may be in for a re-drawing and I suspect the GTA will get more seats.
I confess to getting my phrasing wrong. When I speak of "rural" I tend to think on the ground. Small towns may be rural, but I don't consider someone living in a country subdivision a "rural" person, though StatsCan may not differentiate.
What you said about subsidies and farmers. I'm confused. I'm not denying the amount of money or looking to justify it. I want to know where the money is spent, as someone who is supposedly a recipient of such largese.
And, dude, aren't those the samer power lines being maintained to transport green energy? You seem to be suggesting rural development is a waste of time and money.
I don't say this often, but I think this thread should be closed.
If it will help farmpunk I will withdraw from the thread having said my piece
I happen to know electoral district magnitudes very very well because I have worked for years on redistribution and voting reform. I have studied questions of seat distribution and district magnitude for decades.
Me neither. Generally what we do here is we accept one another's claims and do not demand citations. Your response to my post is exceptional and I have called you on that. I am in no mood to turn rabble.ca discussions into heavily-cited ones because I think this will drag down debate and focus us on minutia rather than the big picture.
Absolutely not! I'm not suggesting any change at all. I am merely observing that further skewing our political structures to accommodate ruralites' claims of specialness will not actually move us in the direction of better rural policy.
I agree. It's tough. "Rural" is slippery and, in many respects, refers more to people's relationship to production than to population density or geographic locale.
Nevertheless, if you look at rural poll-by-poll maps, you can see that the low-density parts of rural ridings are as or more conservative than the high-density parts.
I'm not looking at direct transfers to farmers. I'm mainly looking at pest control, education, social services and other budgets that necessarily spend more per capita on rural residents because of the ways that their dwellings are laid-out.
No. I'm saying we spend more per capita on rural people. I'm not claiming that doing so is bad in all cases. We also spend more per capita on old people. If I make that observation, do you conclude I'm advocating OAS and CPP cuts? It seems to me that making a set of pretty simple clear statements has resulted in a lot of words being put in my mouth.
I think that it is a bad idea to reconfigure jurisdicitonal boundaries to further skew towards over-representing rural people. That's the only statement I've made about what should be done. The rest of what I have said are simply statements about how things are.
Bye, BA, see you in another thread!
"Rural conservatives" (note quotes) all too often aren't evil, just misunderstood. And they may indeed be, under certain circumstances, more amenable to the NDP than it appears.
Consider, in this light, that the NDP's actually polled higher in a lot of that write-off MurdochHillierian hinterland than in certain suburbanish 416/905 zones. (And it might be higher still in Murdoch country, were it not for the Greens hogging the picture there lately.)
And when it comes to Ontario, I've long suspected that some kind of Chuck Angus-ish leadership might actually be the thing to make the NDP palatable to such hinterland demographics...
Well to be fair Kimberly Love does have a pretty good website.
Hey half my post disappeared in 55- weird. It was there because I saw it and Webgear must of too- either that or he was looking over my shoulder. Too late to fix it now.
Hey what's that sound on the porccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc................ugh
Nope just the babble gremlins. Let's just tell eveyone it was the most profound post ever on babble and leave it at that! Time to leave out the little chocolate eggs and then head to bed.
And another weird thing. Webgears and my preceeding posts are switched in temporal mode with mine being a minute ahead of his. Must be the wind.
BA, you haven't at all addressed Stuart's point about rural ridings getting greater representation than population numbers warrant.
adma does raise the important point that in rural Ontario the NDP does do better than in upper middle class suburban areas (i.e. the NDP can get something like 15% in say, Leeds-Grenville or Huron-Bruce compared to less than 10% in Eglinton-Lawrence or Oakville). And there is one occupational group the NDP does much worse among than farmers - the corporate elite. I always get amused by some leftwing critics of the NDP who insist that the NDP is a "capitalist party." The number of NDP supporters on Bay St. could fit in the back of a limousine. (Maybe if the Obama-worshipping party "modernizers" get their way, the "enlightened Bay Streeters" will come on board).
Still, it seems quite evident to me that farmers don't vote for the NDP in large numbers - they overwhelmingly vote Tory. But perhaps Layton Populism isn't as big a dud as Ignatieff the urban elite par excellence - relatively speaking.
ETA: Nettie Wiebe from the NFU would have won Saskatoon-Humboldt if it wasn't a "rurban" seat.
And one thing I like to say about Murdoch: if if weren't he who was positioned as the nominal 400-pound "anti-Peterson-Liberal" gorilla, his seat could well have gone with the NDP flow in 1990--sort of like Dennis Drainville in the equally "frontierish" Victoria-Haliburton.
Yes, I know the Rae landslide is an awkward benchmark to look upon. However, once we grasp the whys and wherefores involved, there's still a lot of surprising lessons to be learned from...
It makes me wonder. Were the bears actually eating seed, or where they after suet feeders? I wouldn't think a feeder full of sunflower seeds enough to attract a bear, but then, I've been wrong before, once, back in the 70's.
[info deleted by Maysie]
Huh? I accuse you of being an educated middle-aged white man playing victimhood politics by accusing others of bigotry and stereotyping and then you turn around and claim that this accusation is "based on stereotypes... of rural people"?
I'll talk to you again when you have your irony meter turned back on.
I am pretty sure what you are doing is against babble rules, not that you seem to understand the importance of rules of conduct.
This is very seriously creepy, thanks for letting me know LTUE.
Cue the sunset.
I've deleted the potential identifying information from post #66.
Stuart, what you did is against the rules of babble. You are suspended until further notice.
Bill Murdoch would have fit very well in the old Reform Party. Fortunately he believes in sticking to his principles and not pandering for votes for his party province-wide.
His extreme rightwing views may be popular in rural Ontario, but he's a liability for the PCs in terms of winning urban and suburban ridings necessary for them to form a government again.