• Sean M. O'Connell

The politics of propaganda

Once again I read an article from Mr. Chip Martin that postulates an opinion that is more propaganda than anything else. Regarding Chip Martin's article in the London Free Press - "Election results may detour London's BRT" - June 16th, 2016

It isn't the first time I've read or seen his articles reflect a particular worldview and misinform his readers. This includes asserting that Londoners don't want BRT Shift plan. How is that assertion based on any actual evidence? Simple, it isn't.

In the case of his recent article he goes so far as to say "the provincial Liberal government changed how development charges can be used, which may throw off calculations used to find funding for Shift". This is incorrect, if Mr. Martin bothered to look at Bill 73 'The Smart Growth for our Communities Act' he would have seen that the changes that took place enhance:

  • Help municipalities fund growth

  • Give residents a greater, more meaningful say in how their communities grow

  • Protect and promote greenspaces

  • Make the development charges system more predictable, transparent and accountable

  • Make the planning and appeals process more predictable

  • Give municipalities more independence and make it easier to resolve disputes

While this is the summary on the website, I did read through the Act to verify Mr Martin's claim. There isn't anything that suggests the funding formula would inhibit our transit plan. In fact, the only portion that mentions transit was in relation to the Toronto-York area. Again nothing about funding formulas.

In terms of funding for Bus Rapid Transit, there are three sources of revenue to support operating costs. Fare revenue from ticket/pass sales, assessment growth and the gas tax. Mr. Martin states that Doug Ford's proposal to cut 10 cents a litre could impact money to municipalities. However I am not convinced that is a forgone conclusion and that speaking with the Premier about the issue, should I be elected, to ensure that the level of money the city receives is maintained. Even if there were a reduction in gas tax, that does not preclude that the plan is not viable.

However Mr. Martin asserts that the money for BRT is not guaranteed nor the source of funds to build and run it. This is patently false. None of these actions has occurred. There is money for

BRT as are the means to operate the system. The $170 million in funding is based on our plan that was submitted to the province. Regardless of what the Premier wants to do, there are processes that municipalities and the province have to follow. In short, rules.

Our specific business case was submitted and accepted. Mr. Martin is trying to give Mr. Paolatto and Mr. Cheng some breathing room after I showed how their notions about keeping the provincial funding would not happen. Similarly Mr. Martin tries to give credence to Mr. Paolatto's claim that the costs of BRT aren't fully explained. He then proceeds onto listing his favoured Mayoral candidates and gossips about who should run. It is clear that he is only interested in touting 'their guys' and dismissing candidates like myself who stand up for all Londoners.