By Jacob Samuel
Although Toronto’s journalists (most of whom are yogurt and latte guzzling book readers) would have you believe otherwise, Mayor Rob Ford’s decision to fire TTC General Manager Gary Webster was another move in a direction. Exactly, a move in “a direction” because true leadership is moving somewhere without being blinded by duty, responsibility, competence, or dreaded common sense.
Yes, Gary Webster is an accomplished civil servant, with over 35 years of experience. Yes, Gary Webster has managed the TTC competently since 2006. These things are exactly the problem with Gary Webster. What Toronto needs to accomplish the essential feat of constructing 10 meters of new subway by 2050 is not “competence” or “engineering know-how,” it’s brazen and utterly delusional imagination.
We need a TTC manager who isn’t burdened by numbers and costs and can instead dream up a real transit vision for Torontonians. A transit vision in which not only is all transit underground, but so much so that it pierces into the mantle of the Earth, withstanding temperatures that melt stone into liquid hot magma. Can it be done, probably not? Is it worth taxpayer’s money to tunnel hundreds of kilometers to the Earth’s core while paving over all public parks and communities centers to make way for giant stretch-limo SUVs, probably yes—we can’t know until we try.
Toronto can be city of the future, to the extent that not only will there be no war on cars but cars will achieve artificial intelligence and become our robotic overloads.
Every Toronto taxpayer who is angry over this decision needs to step back, take a deep breath, and applaud Mayor Ford for daring to imagine. Rob Ford, John Lennon…Frankly, I don’t see a difference (except that one was a dirty hippy).