Doug Ford is slashing Toronto city hall. He is not the first Ontario premier to do this, and finally, Canadian journalists have had their brain cells stimulated to January 2000 when “Amalgamation” happened to several cities, including Toronto and Hamilton when the Tory regime at that time annexed towns and merged them with larger cities.
I remember it well as I was living in Dundas at the time, and was working for Presstime magazine. The fury that Dundas would have to merge with those Hamilton ruffians was something fierce. Hamilton’s so called “mayor-for-life” Bob Morrow, was an accidental casualty: people from the annexed towns expressed their displeasure by voting Morrow out and voting in Bob Wade, who had been the mayor of Ancaster before then.
There were 78 councillors in Hamilton and the other five small towns before it, and it was reduced to 16 afterwards, for example. You can imagine how many more council positions we would have seen if every was kept status quo.
I was at a journalism conference in Toronto hosted by the NAA, which published Presstime and there were many US reporters, editors, publishers, owners, and lawyers there. They would strike up a conversation with me, asking me about the place I called home, and what were the issues and controversies happening here.
I mentioned Amalgamation and what anger it caused, to which I got nothing but blank stares from the Americans.
“But annexation is how cities grow!” one editor said to me, wondering why on earth was this a thing in the first place.
I had thought the same as well. A city is like a garden: sometimes you let things blossom, and sometimes you have to get rid of the weeds and trim and cut. You do not let things get out of control, nor do you cut to the bare bones, either. It is a balance.
But once again, we have the Radical Reactionaries screaming bloody murder over the trimming. They want change, but then get out of their minds when someone changes anything. They fancy themselves as radical, enlighten, innovative, and progressive until the second someone has an idea that alters the landscape, and then they howl like reactionaries.
What they actually want is for no one to ever say no to their demands and to keep on getting things without having to earn them. They more than just want their cake and eat it, too: they want someone else to bake the cake and pay for all the ingredients and deliver it to them free of charge — and it be a bottomless pit service that is on demand for a high maintenance person with very specific demands that keep changing all the time.
How this all get coordinated and done and how this impacts everyone else is immaterial. What matters is getting a never-ending feast of goodies with no concern about who gets burned out, broke, or starved.
And when someone comes in, sees the lunacy of such a set up, and puts a kibosh to the extravagance, the one who benefitted from this skewed fantasy plays the victim complete with melodramatic temper tantrums to drown out the reason and to deflect attention away from the selfish set up in the first place.
We have lost all political and philosophical sensibility; everything is a drama and a temper tantrum of the most impossible sort. People predict nuclear doom and gloom with every single change, and yet keep marketing themselves as some sort of radical and progressive brands and entities.
It would be wiser to reinvent yourself as a rational and sensible realist who understands that sometimes we don’t always get our own way and we can’t always expect this nonexistent group called They to nanny and serve us. Money burns faster than fire but saving it is like building a castle with grains of sand. It is true we have let the super-rich hoard money and take more than they earned. That can be remedied, and not by the hoarders to pretend to be generous with so-called tax write-off “philanthropy” where they get to make demands where the money goes and how it is used.
But at the same time, we cannot governments to nanny us and be our sugar-daddies, either. Neither model is healthy or acceptable and always causes long-term grievances that never get resolved.
They do get resolved with balance, however, but that requires risk and a willingness to change and to embrace a different lanscape, and radical reactionaries always recoil at the thought of change, even when they demand it of others…