Archived columns and blog posts by Matt Elliott

Metro columnist Matt Elliott talks Tory, Gardiner Expressway and more on Reddit

By: Luke Simcoe Metro, Metro Published on Mon Jun 08 2015

Metro columnist Matt Elliott made a triumphant return to Reddit Monday to discuss the future of the Gardiner Expressway, his love of charts and other municipal issues. Here are some of the highlights from his Q&A:

On how council's willingness to defy Rob Ford has carried over to Tory's tenure:

“The last administration changed how a long of councillors view the mayor's office. Early in the Ford term, the notion of councillors voting against the mayor seemed a bit crazy … Now, though, with Tory, it feels like councillors are way more open to challenging him.”

On the relationship between the island airport and the Gardiner:

“The island airport debate will be similar to the Gardiner East debate. Lots of money. Lots of lobbying. Lots of misinformation. I have to say, though, that I'm not too worried at this point about this council voting to allow jets and an expanded runway on the island. My sense is that Porter hasn't been able to cobble together a compelling case for most councillors.”

On how the Gardiner vote will go:

“I'd say the likely result is a narrow victory for the “hybrid” option. Maybe 24-20, like the Scarborough subway vote.”

“I think the general public is actually more pro-tax — and definitely pro-service — than councillors' believe. Councillors live in small worlds in a lot of ways. They hear from the angriest and loudest part of the population. So sometimes their perspective on what the public wants can get a bit skewed. Polls are showing more people would be okay with road tolls these days, for example, but politicians still act like tolls are Kryptonite.”

On Monday's subway shutdown:

“If the express stated strategy of our political leaders is to not even keep pace with simple inflation, how can we expect an agency like the TTC to keep pace with deprecation, maintenance, technological improvements, etc?”

On the timing of Mayor John Tory's flip-flop on police carding:

“Between the Scarborough subway, carding and the Gardiner, Tory was getting hammered last week, and not in a Rob Ford kind of way. He needed to reverse course on one of those issues. He chose carding. Not a bad political strategy.”

On his favourite council members:

“I respect the nerdy policy wonks. Shelley Carroll, Gord Perks, Paul Ainslie. There's a bunch. Anyone who reads a staff report in depth. That's my jam.”

On how Tory has managed his message on the Gardiner:

“From the moment he stepped out and made it clear he was supporting the hybrid the day before his public works committee was set to meet, I've found his handling of this pretty bad … I hate the constant appeals to 'common sense.' The implication that comes with that is that those who disagree lack sense, I guess. Which seems insulting.”

This post was originally published at on 2015-06-08T00:00:00.000Z

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Matt Elliott

City Hall watcher, columnist and policy wonk in Toronto.
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