Friday, November 16, 2012

Worth Reading – November 16, 2012

Apologies for the delay in this week’s Worth Reading. Couldn’t be helped really, but I hope it was worth the wait.

This is a great piece in the Torontoist. Patrick Metzger bluntly assesses Toronto’s transit prospects, he appears quite optimistic on some fronts, but obviously roadblocks exist. He argues (as does polling) that Torontonians are willing and ready to spend on transit. He compares Toronto’s dismal recent performance to that of Los Angeles from which, perhaps, we can glean lessons.

There are three federal by-elections on November 26th. The Globe and Mail has helpfully put together all you need to know about them

This article has made quite the stir. A poll has shown the race for Calgary Centre might be dramatically tighter than initially assumed. Conservative candidate Joan Crockett, according to this poll, only has 32% support, compared to Lee Richardson, former CPC MP for the riding who won between 50-60%. With those types of numbers if progressive support rallies behind one candidate it could be an embarrassing defeat for the Harper Conservatives. That being said, I’m not holding my breath.

Ten days from now Brampton Transit will be improving its service! As a person who now relies on Brampton Transit nearly every working day this is a big plus to me. The highlights include the commencement of line 511, or the Züm Steeles line, the opening of the Gateway Terminal at Shoppers’ World, and increased frequency for the Main/502 Züm line.

Last week I shared Rafe Mair’s about the disturbing concentration of power within the office of the Prime Minister. Reassuringly, Mr. Mair has written a follow-up column about possible solutions. To summarize, he offers two solutions – first, is a fairly standard application of proportional representation, and second is an idea I’ve never heard before. He proposes using secret ballots in the House of Commons to empower backbenchers. I am intrigued to say the least at the possible implications.

I first heard this opinion expressed post-2012 election by David Frum, but Jonathan Martin does an excellent job of underlining one of the fundamental problems confronting Republicans – they are currently living in a media cocoon. What’s fascinating here is the implications for the broader culture. It is now possible for ideologues to consume media that reinforces their values, speak only to those who agree with them, and live in homogenous areas. The result is a massive echo-chamber and a growing radicalization of the right.

Trust for our political leaders and our Parliament is on a steep decline. According to a survey by Environics, Mr. Harper is now one of the least trusted leaders in the world.

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